Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Winter Sun

A change of perspective is sometimes all we need to breathe life into the bleakest of circumstances. Like my tree photo on a recent walk, a few steps sideways and all you get is a leafless tree preparing for the winter season. Taking just a moment of time to allow the sun to shine a little brightness into the very centre changes everything! These past few years I've journeyed through the most impossible of challenges I could ever have imagined. To see the woman I've loved so very much, suffer and eventually die from a pretty awful cancer was almost completely unbearable. Yet throughout I chose to recognise the place of Jesus Christ as being in control of every tiny detail of both our lives. That is a very, very hard thing to do, but in reality the only sane way to cope with what happened. Yes I've known the presence of the Lord with me at every step of this impossible journey, and despite the intense pain of loss I live daily with the peace and comfort that only such a faith journey can bring. And the pain has eased massively over the past 19 months. But even this morning I awoke in my bed thinking of Jane, and within minutes found myself once again on my knees before the Lord… crying uncontrollably, though comforted in those very same tears as I know full well that they must be shed in full measure before I can move on.

And, of course, I know beyond a shadow of doubt that Jane lives in the physical presence of the Lord, in that most mysterious of places called heaven. Yes she has truly moved on by now and left behind all her pain and suffering for the rest of eternity. One day we’ll be reunited. But in the meantime I need to embrace my new life, which can never be the old one I shared with the love of my youth. I'm middle aged and one day, not too soon, I will grow a little older… though yeah my intention is to keep the teenage Dave alive inside of whatever this weather worn body decides to look like! And having walked with God over these past months and years I've learned to recognise his direction, his favour when he brings it across my path, which is exactly what he has truly done. I am the most blessed person on planet earth as I daily discover that I am able to live and to love again! Am I still sad in this winter season of my life? For sure! But only a little… just to make sure I'm completing all that needs to be done on my bereavement journey. However right now I'm also beginning to feel like the teenager I once was… and have every confidence in an absolutely amazing future, whatever happens, as I continue to walk on this great journey called life, with my Lord.

Isaiah 61:3 ‘he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.’ (NLT)

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Out With The Old

Our past can either be a stepping stone into the future or an anchor that keeps dragging us backwards. My photo today reflects my visit earlier in the year to Delamere Forest, and yeh I'm ready to return there sometime very soon. The powers that be have restored an ancient lake by felling part of the forest and changing drainage to allow flooding. Of course old tree stumps make great perches for our flying friends determined to keep their ‘feet’ dry. Not so good for nesting anymore so I guess they've moved on to new pastures for that particular activity.

I've been carefully reflecting upon my own journey through life over the past few months. And looking back I can clearly see a step change in how I'm feeling after the heavy trauma of last year. Well of course I realise that bereavement has no quick or complete fix and there are still difficult days; but nonetheless since this summer I've begun to feel like I'm in a totally different place, though it’s only because of more recent events that I've realised what has been happening. Basically as I've been reaching out to the Lord, he has changed my heart in a very special way. I enjoyed the most amazing marriage for 37 years and remained totally devoted to Jane from a couple of years before and until after she passed on. Indeed it seemed impossible for me to imagine any other way of living; yeh married life suited me totally and especially with Jane. But then God began to change me as day by day, step by step, I increasingly found complete contentment with him as my most intimate companion. A total transformation in my faith walk compared with the decades of prayer I’d enjoyed with my wife by my side. And I never imagined that the presence of God could be so real and so truly precious to a lonely ‘old’ widower like me. Although my thoughts were still trying to reconcile my potentially quite long term future with being permanently single, my heart was definitely totally at peace. I was just enjoying the Lord as I got to know him in a totally new way. I suppose you might say that I had found a place of complete acceptance in my return to being single again and was really starting to actually like the idea… until a certain rather special widow came into my life. I reckon the Lord’s timing is, as always, perfect; but somehow I can’t help but imagine him sitting on his throne in heaven with the most enormous smile on his face. What a perfect Father he is and what a great sense of humour! He truly knows what’s best for each one of us…

1 Corinthians 7:32-34 ‘I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband.’ (NLT)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Wilderness Walk

One of my Kedleston walks over the past year

A great mix of wildlife

And stately home stuff 

Space to be alone

The miniature Dexter’s are ‘cute’

A favourite avenue

Just love the woodland

With early frost

And reminders of past glory

Finding my way back home now…

Isaiah 43:19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness.’ (NLT)