Beauty in the Garden of our Hearts

Spring is in the air here in Australia.  The buds are beginning to bloom in our gardens as the warm weather emerges to subdue the chilly days.  The leaves on the tress are unfolding, creating shade for the hot days ahead, and the birds are singing, even chortling, their songs of praise. What a lovely time of the year!

Last week the women’s group from our church met together at the home of one of our ladies to welcome and enjoy the beginning of Springtime.  Bette and her husband Harvey work hard to keep their garden pristine.  We wandered around the garden and were blessed by being encouraged to take cuttings home for our own gardens.

While some collected cuttings, others, like myself, collected photos. Capturing the exquisiteness of the garden with its canopying trees, flowering shrubs and individual blooms, made me marvel at God’s creativity and appreciate the love and dedication with which Harvey and Bette tend their garden.  They have created a beautiful haven in which to retreat.  Thank you Harvey and Bette for sharing your garden with us and allowing me to use the photos on my blog site. 

Just as Bette and Harvey have been tending their garden for many years, so God has been tending faithfully to the hearts of each one of us who have invited him to do so. He is creating in us a masterpiece, a thing of beauty, through which to display his glory.

Continue reading “Beauty in the Garden of our Hearts”

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What if God were to say: “Surprise, this is Your Life”

You might remember the TV series “This is Your Life.”  The presenter would walk up to the unsuspecting person with a big red book and say “Surprise…this is Your Life”.  The “surprise” included collaboration from family and friends. Participating guests always told complimentary stories of how great and hard-working they had been. It was all very entertaining and often inspirational.  

It got me wondering how I would feel if God were to walk into whatever I was doing today and say, “Surprise…This is Your Life, and we are on live TV?”  (Not to be confused with the after death experience but rather a, this-is-your-life-up-to-this-point-in-time, kind of thing).  

Would our initial reaction be panic?  God knows every hidden secret, every skeleton in every cupboard. He knows my thoughts and intentions and has the ability to expose the masks that I’ve often worn.  I could not hide behind my achievements and my friends kind words, for he knows me and my heart too well.  Continue reading “What if God were to say: “Surprise, this is Your Life””

Finding home and belonging.

IMG_1073It’s been nearly a month since I posted a blog.  I have been hiding away in the south west of Western Australia with my children and grandchildren celebrating my 70th birthday.  I anticipated the planned celebration and holiday with my son and his family, but was completely surprised when my daughter and her husband from overseas joined us.  What a joyous, fulfilling time.  My dearest and most precious ones had spent time planning (and deceiving me) to make this time a special moment.  For six glorious days I delighted and wallowed in their company.  Because we all live so far apart, these moments of togetherness are especially precious.

As I cuddled my granddaughter that first night she said “we were worried that you might actually have a heart attack!”  I did indeed have an attack of the heart – the best kind – a bombardment of love.

This wonderful time has reinforced some thoughts that had been consuming me.

Thoughts about searching for home, for belonging.   Continue reading “Finding home and belonging.”

The Soul Whisperer

How does God take an out-of-control, fear-filled, abused person and turn them into a contented, happy and gentle soul?

How does he change us from self-centred, get-my-own-way-at-any-cost individuals to behaving like mature people who listen to and obey his commands?

nikon pics with Peter and Chris and Annette 056
Horse Whisperer Peter Grieve – Photography by Rhonda Jobe

Peter Grieve is a member of our church family and a friend.  He is also a horse listener/whisperer who is renowned for his work with troubled horses.  It occurred to me that his technique with horses reflects the way God works with us.  So I asked if he would agree to share some thoughts about his work and allow us to take photos of him in action with horses.  He kindly obliged.

A whisper rather than a whip.

The horse whisperer gains the trust of a horse by his gentle approach, his soft voice, his encouragement, and kind touch. The wild brumby; the troubled mare; the neglected foal; the abused gelding; all may buck and fight and be ready to bite or kick when approached.  But with patience and kindness the horse whisperer gains their trust.  He cannot mount or train until the horse trusts him. Continue reading “The Soul Whisperer”

Still moments in our busy world

My world is not as busy as it used to be.  I’m retired from secular work and life is a little more relaxed nowadays.  I still keep myself busy but I’ve learned to pace myself and say no to some things.  And, I get to choose my busyness…… and, mostly I get a full night’s sleep.

However I do remember those hectic days when my children were young and l longed for sleep and some me-time.  Day after day, week after week, year after year.  Would it ever end?

Yes it did.  My kids grew up and I replaced one kind of busyness with another kind – work and study.

I do remember the bewildering busyness of those early days though.  A sick child; the never ending household chores; the deadlines to be met; the mess of a washing machine overflow; the friend who phoned needing a shoulder to lean on; the homework; the meals to prepare; the sports training.  I’d fall into bed at night and long for sleep, knowing full well the sick child would wake before long and need my attention.

I’d pray:  “Lord, where is far far away and how do I get there?” Continue reading “Still moments in our busy world”

Why Lord? Learning to live with mystery

IMG_9776Earlier this week we attended the funeral of a dear friend killed in a tragic car accident.  She was godly, wise and at the peak of her counselling influence.  In her early 60’s she had life’s experience to add to her years of academic study along with the accumulated  evaluation of her client’s cases.  She was a dearly loved wife, mother and gran.

The question on all our lips is “why”!   To our minds, her death makes no sense.  “Taken too soon” and “We needed her here”, were phrases I heard expressed more than once.  Shock and grief automatically elicit the why question.

It is not wrong to ask why.  In fact, it is only natural.

From our point of view, God should have intervened.  Why didn’t he? Continue reading “Why Lord? Learning to live with mystery”

You’ve invited God into your life…Is that really what it’s all about!

I remember as a child asking Jesus to “come into my heart”.  We used to sing the song in Sunday School “Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart Lord Jesus. Come in today, come in to stay. Come into my heart Lord Jesus.”

I lived very contentedly knowing that Jesus was in my life and I had peace and contentment with that awareness.  It wasn’t till years later that I begun to realise what a very limited view this is of what had actually occurred that day I invited Jesus into my life. 

With this concept,  I am the focal character and God comes into my life. I open my heart’s door to God’s knocking. I add God to my life. 

How very gracious of me!!!  It almost sounds like I am doing God a favour.   He is there to meet my needs and save me – it is all about me.  

I adopt God.

But the truth is much more exciting, much more incredible, much more mystifying. Continue reading “You’ve invited God into your life…Is that really what it’s all about!”