Even When…

Light of the World textile artAs we enter 2021, we all hope for an end to the dark days that 2020 has brought to so many for there is so much uncertainty right now, and perhaps our usual positivity for a year of new beginnings might be waning thin amidst the Covid crisis that wreaks havoc across nations.
Yet, as Christians, we know that there is light in the darkness, there is healing through the hurt, there is hope for the future, all encompassed in the person of Jesus…Saviour, Redeemer, Light of the World.

Ultimately, nothing can keep God’s people from knowing that Jesus is Lord of all.
Not good years, nor bad years or those that are entirely unmemorable  

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? ……No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Romans 8:35-39, NLT Translation)

It’s been a grey wet miserable November, so I thought this month I would stitch a sunset over hills, as a reminder of the following verse from the Psalms:

IMG 0515“I lift up my eyes to the mountains-
    where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.”
(Psalm 121:1-2)

As I have stitched, I’ve been pondering on where I choose to lift my eyes each day, to find help for the moment, as we all wait expectantly for a solution to the global crisis affecting each one of us.

Waiting doesn’t come easily to many of us, especially if we are used to being in control of things. So, how do you manage the waiting- without wasting the present moment?

Waiting Expectantly
I got to thinking that this season of Advent is also about expectant waiting, with God’s people simultaneously preparing for celebrating the wonder of the Nativity and hoping for the return of the Saviour in the Second Coming.

I wonder how often you are taken in by the beguiling words of advertisements, created deliberately to draw you into the carefully laid breadcrumbs of a sales pitch?

business pexels julia m cameron 4144923Me... I’m a sucker for spiritual and business self-improvement courses.... the saccharine sweet beguiling claims of be better/ earn more/ be better organised -draw me in to commit briefly to the hype driven claims from some self-confident, self-made high achiever. Note that my commitment is brief... lacking the commitment, the time, the...well, the work that it all entails!
I would really like to be better...I try...constantly ...using some supposedly all effective formula to solve an issue...but in the end... I realise that each supposed promise with each book, workshop or course is mostly about the work you are prepared to put in. As with most things, there’s no quick fix, no easy answers ( despite the myriads of tempting titles, such as “3 ways to organise your business effectively...five ways to make social media work for you...6 ways to be a more effective prayer warrior... 7 ways to slow down and still be effective at work...

FaceBook pexels pixabay 267371The trouble is, that the clever FaceBook algorithms know my weaknesses.. and barely a day goes by when there isn’t something to divert my attention, draw me in, and take me away from the goals I’ve already set that I end up farther behind than I would have done if I had just persisted slowly and steadily like the tortoise from Aesop’s wonderful tortoise and the hare fable...

tractor pexels freestocksorg 175389The roads this month have been busy with farm vehicles, gathering the harvest and trailing the grain from field to farm, which has led me to return to an unfinished piece of artwork from several years ago.

The already prepared hand coloured yellow background, sheer fabrics and couched threads reminded me of the fields of ripe corn, so I set to- adding more fabric layers to stitch the parable of the sower.

Now the parable of the sower is such a familiar passage in Scripture, that I often gloss over it, thinking to myself, “Oh, I know this one... nothing new here…”, as I skim over the well-known words without allowing God to open my eyes afresh to its truths. As I prepared to stitch, I knew that the focus of hand stitching would allow me to mull over the words, and perhaps allow new ideas to permeate.

In the Parable of the Sower, the words of Jesus encourage us to tend the seeds of our lives, so that we might grow fully and be nourished enough to yield a good crop to feed others.

IMG 9495 cropped part

feather pexels leigh heasley 816497One small insignificant white downy feather, softly floating in the breeze has little use by itself. In my hand, an individual feather seems so delicate and soft, belying its strength and power when sprouting from the small body of a bird, and laying alongside others to enable the soaring wonder and freedom of flight.

This month, the Scripture that I have explored through stitch and reflection, has been from Psalm 91.

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most Hig will rest in the shadow of the Almighty...
Surely, he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge...

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