Tag Archives: Christianity

Sorry for the Silence

I’m sorry for the silence. I have not forgotten you, but unexpected events changed what was meant to be a summer break from writing into a difficult and trying time for my wife and I.

It started with the prolonged acute illness and death of a loved one which took most of our time and energy. On top of which my cancer treatment has not progressed as expected. This has left us leaning on Jesus as never before and is taking us way beyond our own capabilities. We have been here before, but this is a ‘biggy!’  As my wife remarked the other day, “This is the biggest challenge of your life” and I replied that it was also a challenge for my life.

Jesus is taking us through and when the time is right I hope soon, God willing,  to be back writing with renewed inspiration from our experiences. I wish to thank those who have commented, expressed concern and for your prayers.

In the meantime you will find a weekly selection of my posts on Sitting Under My Fruit Tree.

New Year Blessings

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Filed under bible, Christian, family, illness, personal

Putting Away Childish Ways

ice-cream-2As it was school’s half term last week, we had the company of our grandchildren all week. Three delightful little girls, each one quite different and a credit to their parents who sacrificially go to great lengths in bringing them up and teaching them what is right.

They are already forming their own opinions and it’s particularly at mealtimes when their individual likes and dislikes came to the fore. ‘I don’t eat cheese’ and ‘I only drink apple juice’, etc. Continue reading

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Ring In the New

New Year is traditionally a time for making resolutions, something I am never quite sure of. To be effective and lasting they have to be more than promises or good intentions. I prefer to see it as making a new start; a letting go of the old year and ringing in the new.

This is particularly relevant to me, as the three months up to Christmas were very difficult and painful. Continue reading

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I Believe in Miracles

Some years ago, I had a very humbling experience. My wife suggested I went see a lady in the village whose husband was very ill. When she showed me in, I saw that her husband was barely conscious. She said he was suffering from a tumour on the brain and the prognosis wasn’t good. I helped shave him, but before I left she said, “Only a miracle can save Jimmy now.” Such was my fairly new faith, that I quickly replied, “I believe in miracles.”

I visited again and after several visits, I noticed her husband had deteriorated further and had slipped into a peaceful coma. She continued to care for him and lovingly conversed with him,  even though he couldn’t respond. We didn’t know whether he could hear, but who was to say he couldn’t.

This was a completely new experience for me. I felt inadequate and extremely humbled by what I saw. However, I felt a part of what was happening and just gave what little I could and did my best to answer her searching questions. Each time before I left, she asked me to say “a little prayer.”

As the weeks and months passed by, I saw no physical change in her husband, but something was happening for her. One day, after we had prayed, she asked me if I could buy her a Bible. It wasn’t long after, that her husband passed away. The miracle that we had been praying for didn’t happen, at least not in the way we expected. She came to know Jesus personally and was a changed woman. That in itself is a wonderful miracle.

What I learned from this experience, was that God sees the big picture and always works to the good.  Years later and I still believe in miracles – and that includes healing of all kinds, including chronic fatigue syndrome – although I have personally only experienced what I would call ‘minor’ miracles.  Even so, I am always amazed at how  and what God does when He is given a free hand.

My wife and I have things in our lives that seem without solution, but we are fully expectant for miracles in our lives and that goes for our family and friends too. I know that if we are completely surrendered and committed  to God, He will act in awesome ways. The ‘how’ and ‘when,’ we have to leave to Him of course.

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The Pain and the Presence

Having suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for a number of years has  given me a just an inkling of what it could be like for someone who has experienced far greater pain than me.

Lying here, Father,
I know You are there.
I don’t feel your Presence, but
I do feel the pain and discomfort
that tries to take over
and invade my fatigued soul.
Every aching muscle and sinew
vying for attention and
threatening to melt away the hope.

But as I look to You,
I know You are with me,
feeling my every feeling.
And as I keep on looking
and looking and looking,
reaching out to You,
minute by hour,
heart to Blessed Heart,
Your love seems to take over,
in a way I don’t understand.
Fear goes out the window,
faith and hope rise
and the pain grows dim
just for now –

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Acceptance or Resignation

Speaking with someone with chronic fatigue, the other day, made me think. She said she had accepted the illness and this brought peace inside. A fact that I readily agree with.

Accepting that we have an illness is absolutely key to moving on and allowing God’s healing to take place. I struggled with this for a long time. I just loathed what was happening to me and I complained a lot. I was being real and had to work through all the feelings, including anger that were boiling inside me. Through this expression, I did eventually come to the place of acceptance. The way I would put it, is that I yielded to Father God in the situation.

However, that’s not the whole story. Acceptance is not the same as resignation. Resignation can be saying something like, “This is my lot,” a sort of powerful sentence spoken over you. I didn’t believe that God wanted me to stay as I was, but I knew healing had to start with acceptance and surrender. That to me seemed like taking an enormous risk. What if God does not do anything? But that is like saying that I don’t trust God!

Resignation can have deep roots in our lives. Despite having parents that did all they could for me, there was a lack of emotional and physical bonding. The childhood needs for affection to be demonstrated to the degree that I needed, just were not there. At some stage I must have said to myself, “This is as good as it gets,” and I buried the emotional pain, covered it over and got on with my life, compensating for the lack, in whatever way I could.

It was only after I came into the knowledge and experience of God’s love that I allowed these feelings to surface and found freedom. This involved a changed mindset. So far as the illness was concerned, I was not going to take it lying down. I wanted to live life to the full, but surrender meant something in me had to die. So acceptance brought hope, expectation and the healing journey to commence. From a worldly viewpoint that’s a paradox.

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Retreat – Relaxation, Refreshment and Renewal

We’ve just returned from a week spending time at a Christian retreat centre. The manor house had views to die for and was just the place to relax, unwind and let our cares and worries fall away. It was like a little piece of heaven away from work, family responsibilities and household chores.

It wasn’t just a holiday, but more a vital time to refresh ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. Space to just ‘be’ and begin to get things in perspective – God’s perspective hopefully – and seek the way forward. The community are there to see to your needs, adults and children, and were available to lend a listening ear and pray with us if needed. There were also precious moments of time shared with other guests.

I had a completely open agenda for the time and was looking to receive – or give – in any way that was appropriate. My spiritual antenna were out. I needed to hear what I believed God was saying to me and as I stilled myself inside, I wasn’t disappointed, although this often came in surprising and unexpected ways. We came away both challenged and encouraged with things to chew over.

This was an ideal place for someone like myself, recovering from M.E. – chronic fatigue – as there were short level walks or ambles within the extensive grounds and places to just sit and admire the views. It’s the sort of thing that I would recommend for anyone, young or old, who wants to escape from the merry-go-round of everyday life for a while and discover who they are.

My wife is disabled and I was on hand to assist where needed. Also, although they had made every effort to make the old building accessible to all, there were steps to negotiate. On the last morning when I returned to the lobby after loading our car, someone I hadn’t spoken to, but had been observing me all week, turned to me on his way out and almost as an aside said, “You’re doing a good job!” and vanished before I could comment.  I thought, ‘was God saying that? ‘ Either way, it was just what I needed to hear and rounded things of for me nicely.

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