Sunday, 28 July 2013

I will sing of your love forever

Afternoon, God.

I've been struggling, lately. It's all gone wrong. Lots of things have been crowding in and leaving me miserable and anxious and so discouraged. Old worries and problems have come back with a vengeance; new insights full of potential but leading nowhere and most upsetting, a sense that I have no idea where you are. 

I thought I knew where to find you and suddenly I'm looking in the same places, and you're not there. 

Or if you are, I don't have the vision to see you. 

Lord, the last few weeks have been a tangled knot of confusion, apprehension, tension and resentment. Last week I thought I had a breakthrough - sensed a new dawn; it seemed so dramatically important, but I'm still waiting for some light. And yes, to be honest I've been disappointed and cross and I've wondered why you seem open handed with other people and not with me. 

I know that's possibly not the way I should be talking to you, but you've always encouraged me to be honest. 

I'm needing a little something. Just one touch from the King - changes everything, as they say. I could do with a pick me up. A heavenly hug. Just some encouragement, Father, something to keep me going. Please? And yet there's nothing. 

I've been reading about belonging, about being not only forgiven and justified, but being a precious daughter, a cherished child, and yet more than ever I've been feeling on the outside looking in. I know in my head that I am your girl, and I know in my head that you're my Daddy, my Abba, not only my Lord and my Saviour and my King, and yet I've started to feel that there's something missing, something wrong with me, something not good enough.

All the old stuff, the long-buried stuff. All that, right here again, piling up and obscuring my view. 

No co-incidence, I suppose. The darkest hour is just before dawn... and yet those morning rays are refusing to come. 

I've been asking for healing. Old wounds, long buried and ignored, but open again. My 'One Word' for the year is 'HEAL' and I've been so sure that you're at work doing something amazing that will make all the difference. I've been asking for freedom, because I don't feel free. I've been asking for a new revelation of you, because my current one is incomplete.

I've been very close to giving up. Closer than I've ever been, in fact. I've been writing to you here for more than two and a half years and suddenly I just don't want to any more. I have nothing to say (that anyone will want to read) and all the politics of page rankings and statistics and platforms and whether people like what I say is far, far too much. I'm tired and overwhelmed and I just don't want to do it any more. 

I wonder if I'm having a tantrum, or if you're guiding me into a better sense of what's important. Because however much I've told myself for the last year or so that the daily statistics of who's reading don't matter, they always have mattered to me. Maybe it matters too much. Maybe you're telling me that if I take a break and my little readership trickles away to nothing, then that's ok. That's not important. 

Summer is a hard time to keep writing. The children are on holiday and my husband is working from home and needs space and quiet to concentrate. I need to be available - both for the little ones and for him when he wants to relax in the evenings. Writing takes more out of me than it used to and I can't fit it into the small spaces in my mind between outings and tooth brushing and meal preparation. I don't know why. Maybe I am taking it more seriously, or too seriously? Or maybe I'm too close to it, too anxious. 

Maybe I need a break. 

I don't know. I've asked you, because I know that you do know the answers, but you're not telling, are you?

I looked for you at a brilliantly planned and led women's event at church on Friday night. The River. All about the water of life, the tree of life on the banks of the waters flowing from the temple, about never being thirsty. Parched, I thought I'd find you there - I hoped, no, expected to meet with you, but I looked around me and saw ladies of all ages moved and touched by the Holy Spirit, yet I couldn't connect. There were people speaking in tongues, there were words of knowledge, there was prophecy, there was peace and joy, but I was lost, even though I know that I am found. 

You can feel so lonely in a crowd.

And then, in church this morning, which was an act of will, we sang a song that I've not heard for years.  

Over the mountains and the sea
Your river runs with love for me
and I will open up my heart
and let the Healer set me free
I'm happy to be in the truth
and I will daily lift my hands
For I will always sing 
of when your love came down*

You spoke. You didn't address any of the things I've been wanting you to address. You didn't answer any of my questions. You didn't reach down and touch me. No drama, just a few tears sliding down my cheeks. 

Your river - the same river that ran through our worship on Friday night - that river runs with love for me. 

You are The Healer, and if I open my heart (how do I open it further than it's already open?) then you will set me free.

I am indeed in The Truth. I am found in you. I belong to you. 

It's my breath prayer: Abba, I belong to you

When I have nothing to say, I can sing of your love.

I could sing of your love forever
I could sing of your love forever

I found myself changing the words of the chorus from 'I could...' to 'I will..'  I will sing of your love, forever.

If you never do anything more for me than you have already done, then I am blessed beyond measure. 

I am sorry, Father, that I am so dissatisfied with all that I have, and all that I am. I'm sorry that I try to manipulate you and then I get all stampy and cross when you don't perform on demand.

I'm sorry. 

Lord God, I will sing of your love forever. When I have nothing to say, I can always come back to the basic foundation of our relationship. The fundamental thing: your love came down, and saved me. All else is detail, and I know that you will sort out the important and address it when the time is right.

I am loved. 

I will sing of your love forever
I will sing of your love forever

I don't know what happens next. I'm still feeling in limbo about things that have come to the surface recently and I think that they need dealing with - and I still don't feel equipped to deal with them. I'm still short of time, sleep, energy, inspiration. I still don't know about writing, about resting, about stepping out in faith. 

I still need The Healer to set me free.

But I do know that you love me, and that's the bottom line. My default position. If I have no words of my own, if I need to say anything at all, I will speak of your love. If the only words I ever write are my testimony of how my Abba loves me, then that's a message worth bringing. 

I am loved. There's a plan, and your timing is perfect. 

I will sing of your love forever. 


*Martin Smith 1995 Furious? Records
'My One Word: Change your life with just one word', Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen, Zondervan, 2012

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Letter to explain: Dear me

Dear me.

Ha. That's a great start to a letter, isn't it? 

Dear me. Deary me. 

What I mean to say was, 'Dear Me'.  The 'Me' that I thought of the other day; me a few years ago. You came into my mind somehow and it was as if I was back there in the days when I was still muddled up and mostly miserable.

That makes it sound as if I'm all sorted out and ecstatically happy all the time! Well, not exactly. God knows that I still chew my fingers when I'm anxious and that I constantly over-think. I'm sure you're familiar with those habits. They're proving difficult to get past, to be honest, but I'm not beating myself up about it. Does that surprise you? Well, I do my best, and if that means two steps forward and one step back, then I am gentle with myself. God picks the battles, these days, and I'm so much better at listening and working with Him instead of charging off on my own agenda and getting nowhere. 

I wanted to write to you to explain a few things.

I know that you catch a glimpse of me now and again, and I can remember the combination of despair and hope that you feel when you see me. I know that you have mountains to climb before you can leave behind some of the rubbish that you carry around with you and I wanted to tell you that it's simpler than you think. I suspect that you won't believe me because it's all very well for me to say, having come out of the other side of the mess, but I have to say it anyway.

When I said simpler, I didn't mean easier. I know how hard it is.

Trust. That's all there is to it. I'm not sure that you know what it means, if you don't mind me saying. Of course, you will mind me saying that, because you're very sensitive to criticism, but I think you need to have a close look at the whole area of trust. You've made big strides in recent years, but I think, deep in your heart, you know that you struggle to trust anyone, don't you? You've been hurt and let down over and over and you've put up so many barriers even against those who are closest to you. 

Do you actually trust anyone? Is there anyone that you don't have a defence against? Anyone with whom you can be completely yourself? You think you're good at vulnerability but there are places in your heart that nobody can go, aren't there? Not even God. 

And that's the key.

He wants you to know how much He loves you. He's endlessly patient, and He knows that you need to be handled with care. He will never rush you, and He will never barge in unannounced. But I remember those days and it's nearly time. You're starting to understand that to find healing on that deep level, you must first understand who you are. You cannot expect God to make you whole if you don't know what's missing.

You are a precious daughter of the Living God. You are perfect just as you are - no, don't shake your head and look away like that - He loves you with a breathtaking love that you can only begin to imagine and that love is not dependent on anything that you do or don't do, anything that you say or achieve - and certainly not on your appearance. 

He's going to help you believe this. You're going to be amazed at the difference it makes. You'll be transformed. He's going to show you that you are loved by the Creator. He's going to write on your heart in big, easy to read letters that He knows you and He loves you and He will never stop loving you. He's going to keep saying it until you begin to believe it, and once you do the hard work of healing is done. 

You still don't understand, but you will. I know, that sounds intensely patronising coming from me, but I have the benefit of being a few years down the road.

He's going to teach you that because He loves you so faithfully, you can trust Him. He is equal to any task and He will never let you down. He will give you rest when you're weary, He will keep you safe when you're afraid, and He will give you courage when you need to be brave. Believe me, it's true. You don't have to look anywhere else for anything. That's what you do now.

I know, because I've been there. What do you do when you're worried, or afraid, or depressed? You look around desperately for something that will help. You anxiously contact a friend, you reach for something to eat, you go to sleep. You think those things will help, but they only treat the symptoms, not the cause.

People will be unavailable when you need them, or they'll make mistakes and let you down. Unnecessary food just makes your self-esteem and body image problems worse. And if you go to bed to shut out the harried voices in your head, you still have to wake up again the next day.

Stop hedging your bets. Food may comfort temporarily, but God is the Comforter. You may wrap your cardigan around you defensively but His arms are stronger, safer and warmer. They offer real protection.

You're starting to work it out, I think. You write in your journal a lot more, and you pour out your heart to Him sometimes and you feel the relief that it brings. You're starting to recognise the difference that laying everything before the Lord makes, and any time now you'll begin to realise that it is possible to overrule that temptation to play with your phone or read a novel when you know that it would be wiser to spend time with God.

Don't get the idea that it's all down to you, though. I don't want to mislead you. You have a part to play, but He will come and meet you. He promised, and He never breaks His promises.

Looking back, I'm pretty sure that this is the thing:
'Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you...' (Matthew 6:33) 
You're on the right track. Spend time with God just for who He is and not so much for what He can do for you. I know you find it hard to separate those things but don't worry. Leave it to Him. Just enjoy His company. Let the truth of His love sink in. Start to relax. You're in good hands.
'Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.' (Psalm 37:4)
It's why you were made. To enjoy Him, and He you.

He already does, you know - He delights in you, and He longs to see that delight reflected in your face. I know, you have trouble believing this, and that's a big part of the problem. When I began to wonder if it might be true He let me see how happy it made Him. There's nothing like it. You're going to be amazed at how different life is when you start to understand. How... free.

Straight after that verse there's this:
'Trust Him, and He will help you.' (Psalm 37:5b) 
He will help you. He has helped you, but you don't yet realise how much.

Be with Him. Enjoy Him. Trust Him.

It's a long process; you won't get it cracked this side of heaven, I don't think. The older I get the more I realise how far there is to go, but I know that there it gets a lot better than where you are right now.

Please don't worry as much as you do. You're not going to get it wrong. He is for you, you know. The God who made the Universe thinks that you're great, just as you are, right now. And He's got something amazing for you.

You're always asking Him for more faith. You're ready to step out, and He'll show you the way. Your faith is going to grow exponentially and I can assure you, you're going to want to tell the world! He wants you to do just that.

It's almost time. 

Hang in there.

With love from


The first letter in this series was: Letter to a Stranger, followed by Letter to the brave: No I have the Lord. This is the third in the trilogy!

Linking up with Ruth Povey and Sabrina Fowles for 'Letters To...'
This time the prompt was 'Letter to explain'.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Alone with you

I did one of those personality tests.

You know the sort of thing, where I answer a million questions about myself, analysing whether I'd rather do thinking things or feeling things, give orders or follow them, climb mountains or watch telly. That sort of thing. It's funny how we humans are fascinated with ourselves, isn't it?

I was quite surprised with the result, in places. Of course, none of it surprised you. You have the blueprint for me filed somewhere in your head - a unique combination of likes and dislikes, preferences and leanings, strengths and weaknesses.

You knew before I took my first breath that my mouth would sometimes run faster than my brain and I'd regularly have to spend an unfeasibly long time unpicking things afterwards.

You knew that I would eventually learn to sort out my thoughts and ideas by writing them down.

You knew that I'd like familiarity and routine and that I struggle with change.

You knew that it would take me a long time to get to know someone new.

You knew that I'd enjoy one to one conversations and small groups of people but tend to feel intimidated and retreat inside myself in a big group.

You know that the older I get, the busier I get, the more I need to find time to myself to avoid going stark staring mad. 

Right now I'm sitting in the shade in the garden and some brightly coloured birds are splashing in the bird bath. I think they're goldfinches. Yes, they're goldfinches. (Google is a wonderful thing).

There's a gentle breeze that makes the fronds of the silver birch rustle. The apple trees cast dappled shade on the grass that's too long with too much clover - but it's soft underfoot and good for paddling pools and cartwheels.

There are bees on the clover - they seem to like the white stuff better than the purple.

There are collared doves and blackbirds and sparrows and a pair of amorous wood pigeons in the hawthorn. The swings are still because the girls are at school.

A while ago it was playtime and I could hear the children in the playground from my bench here in the garden. I sipped my coffee and imagined I could hear Katy's voice. 

I love it. I love it so much. Me and the world out there, still there, still going round, still doing its thing, but I've stepped off for a little while. It's quiet, and still, and I am peaceful inside. 

I have my journal, and I talk to you in scribbles. It's a disjointed mishmash of ideas, thanksgiving, observations, praise, confessions, apologies and lurking anxieties, but I don't bother to whip it into any sort of shape. It reflects the inside of my head - confused and often disorganised - and you see everything that's in there anyway. I am not required to edit and polish. It's for my benefit, to splurge out all the stuff that accumulates inside me and sift through it with your help. Discard much of it, file a lot of it, hand it all over to you. 

I need to do this, or the Too Much Stuff in my head tangles up terribly and gets messy. The peripheral worries stop their ominous lurking and barge in forcibly causing distress and upset. The fears and the negativity start to swell until there's no room for the good stuff. I stand, fists clenched, looking downward and inward instead of upwards and outwards and I don't see you. Because my head and my heart and my hands are full of ...stuff... I am unable to take the treasures that you're holding out to me. 

The head full of stuff needs to be sorted through regularly. Daily. Twice daily, even. 

My day goes better when I do this, and yet time and time again I find myself engaged in trivia instead of the vital time with you each day. I amaze myself, I really do. There are the old culprits that seduce me - sleep, Facebook and Twitter, the Internet and a huge stack of books, but apathy and weariness also play a part. I know these days that I will feel brighter, more focused, more energised; much less defeated if I recharge my batteries with you.

I draw strength from solitude and peace. I have friends who are enlivened by people and who actively seek company when they're at a low ebb, but if I book my week too full of meetings and chats and get-togethers I find I run out of steam before the end and I am longing to get away, even when I have enjoyed every connection I've made - every cup of coffee and every toasted teacake, laugh and confidence. 

Sometimes I daydream about an escape to a remote cottage in the Hebrides. Just me and the scenery and a sea view and a kettle and a packet of custard creams. And an Internet connection. 


I know that you know already that I'm an introvert. I can honestly say that I didn't realise that I was until I did this test. I didn't realise that there was a reason why I sometimes just want to climb in the car and drive away, and keep driving. I am a relatively sociable sort of person but I get to a point when I'm done, thank you, and I need to go. See you later. I'm off to my island for a bit of quiet. To my Hebridean cottage.

I'm like a mesembryanthemum. My petals open in the presence of the sun and then slowly close up as the shade moves around and dusk arrives. Shine on them and they open up once again. I need you like the flowers need the sun, and I feel your warmth most easily when there's just you and me.

I know that you are as present at the party as you are in the silence and solitude, but we are all made differently and some of us find you more easily in one place than another.

I'm just happy that I've understood this about myself, because all manner of things slipped into place the day I realised what was going on. 

What gives me life, what takes life from me. The sort of things I can't wait to do, and the sort of things that I recoil from. The daily tasks that drain me and the ones that fill me so full that I overflow. 

Thank you for the sunshine and the trees and the birds. For the gentle breeze that I feel not only on my skin but blowing through my mind, healing, clearing it of accumulated debris. Leaving it fresher.

For an opportunity to recharge to face whatever the rest of the day throws at me.

I'll meet you here again later. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Who do I think you are?

Who are you, God?

Who do I think you are? 

I'm reading Margaret Silf's book on prayer again (The Gift of Prayer: Embracing the spiritual in the everyday) and all of a sudden I'm full of questions. 

Who do I think that I pray to? What is it that I think you're going to do? What do I expect of you? 

Who are you? 

Are we looking for a satisfier of our shopping list requests?
Are we looking for a fireman to rescue us from 
an emergency?
Are we looking for a parent figure to tell us what
to do next?

Yes, yes and yes. Sometimes someone who'll solve some problems for me in short order. Make people that I care about better. Make it so that we get home before my daughter is sick in the car. Help me get to sleep. Help me say the right thing in that conversation. 

Sometimes I want to shout for you and for you to come running, please. Like the Fireman. Or an ambulance blue-lighting me to hospital.  Or like Daddy when a small child wails with a grazed knee. 'Lord, something awful has happened! Lord, help me! Lord, I'm afraid! I'm angry! It's an emergency! Need you now'.  I want you to scoop me up and make it better. Make it un-happen. 

And then I want my Father to sit down and listen to my dilemma with rapt attention and tell me what the best course of action might be. So that then I can go off in peace and do as I'm told without the responsibility of it. Without having to be the one who made the choice in case it's wrong. If I'm doing your will, it will be ok, won't it? So tell me what to do because I'm afraid of making mistakes, of getting it wrong.

Of looking silly. Of doing the wrong thing. I don't want to use my brain, or try to work it out - I just want you to tell me. If you were to make it all clear, Lord, then the chances are that I wouldn't come running to you to put it right when it goes wrong, would I?  So easier all round in the long run. 

Do what I want you to do, when I want, will you? 

Do it quickly when it's an emergency. And I'll decide what constitutes an emergency, ok?

Tell me what to do next when I need to know. Of course, there are times when I already know, so if you could just incorporate what I think is best into your plan as well, we'll all be happy. Won't we?

How did Margaret Silf get in my head, then? How did she know that I think this way? Could it be that other people think this way?

Is God an operations manager 
who puts our plans into effect in the way we desire?

Oops. I think I just said pretty much exactly that, didn't I? Ahem. I didn't mean it quite like that...

Is God a policeman or a strict teacher,
always on the watch for us
to make a mistake
and lay ourselves open to punishment?
Clocking up our good and evil deeds
to decide whether we get through the entrance exam
for heaven?

Ah. Now this I can relate to. I know it's not right but sometimes I do find myself thinking that you're there to catch me out. That when I mess up it's a black mark against me and you won't forget. Even though I know that you not only forgive me but you have promised to remember my sins no more I still wonder if things happen to me that I deserve. Maybe it's payback time... maybe this is why this happened... what goes round comes round...

I am so glad that I keep coming back to your promise that if you wash us, if you cleanse us with your forgiveness, that we will be clean. Properly clean. Justified. Redeemed. Invited to approach you as friends. As your children. As heirs in the Kingdom of God. This doesn't sit well with the image of you as a nitpicking judge who is never satisfied with our behaviour. I know you better than that. 

Yet still I fall for it from time to time. Still the little insinuating voice of the other guy penetrates and I find myself wondering if I've blown it this time. If there's a way back. If I've offended you so properly this time that you won't listen to my prayers any more...

Or perhaps God is an employer,
who drains the last ounce of energy from us 
and demands our unpaid overtime
in our efforts to 'do God's will'?

Ha. This is the chasing my tail thing. The feeling that I'm a hamster on a wheel and I can't move fast enough for there is so much that needs doing; good things. Things that need doing, and I need to get them done. If I don't, then who will? And if a job needs doing, it needs doing properly, and if you want it done properly, best do it myself... 

I am slowly learning this lesson. I'm sure that won't stop me needing to learn it again every so often but at least it's still familiar. I know that you don't want me to be so busybusybusy that I never get a chance to stop and think. Stop and be. I am getting so much better at saying, 'No,' to things that I'm sure sooner or later you're going to prod me and remind me to say 'Yes,' once in a while.

Or is God the fixer,
who keeps us safe, 
solves our problems,
rearranges creation
too suit our needs?

Now I'm a bit confused. You are sort of like a fixer, aren't you? Is it wrong to ask you to keep me safe? When I have a problem I do come to you. Shouldn't I come to you? I'm not convinced about the rearranging creation bit, though I have to say that at times it might seem like a good idea to me. Bit like praying in a geography exam that Mt Everest might turn out to be in Scotland because I chose B rather than D.  Not that this ever actually happened, you understand.

So what if I got Everest mixed up with Ben Nevis? It's an easy mistake to make. Mountains, snow on top, you know.


You know what I think? I think that maybe you are a tiny, tiny bit of all these misconceptions. You do keep me safe. You sometimes fix things. You sometimes ask me to push myself more than I want to. You sometimes call me to account and let me know that I'm out of line. You do guide me and rescue me and above all you hear every last prayer that I pray, whether it's misguided or childish or perfectly formed and theologically on the ball.  I imagine you're still waiting for that last one.

To subscribe to any one of these misconceptions is to skew our view of you, I know. To believe that you are a policeman or a magician or a sticking plaster is to try to pin you down and make you small and understandable and to get it wrong. But hey, I'm human, aren't I? If I got a grasp of who you really are I guess it would blow my mind.

These are caricatures of course,
and yet, how easily, how subtly, we slip into
one or other of these false and damaging images of God.

One or other, or all, at some time or another...

Because we are human, this will always be so, to some extent.
But to recognise the limitations of our images of God
is an important step to going beyond them. 

Sometimes I get a glimpse of you, Lord. Sometimes I get a second's sense of how vast and brilliant you are. How brightly you shine. The beauty of you. It leaves me reeling, but I'm not equipped to hold a thought like that for very long. So I try to bring you down to my level.

To ask you to do what I want you to do. 

I try to assert my independence even in prayer, don't I? 'Not my will be done, but yours...but if you could make your will a bit like mine that'd be great.'

Lord, forgive me when I try to diminish your glory. Forgive me when I want you to be something other than you are; for anything else is inferior. My imagination can't create anything worthy of you. 

Teach me to pray again, Lord. Help me to take it apart and build it in the way you would want it built.

Continued... next day....

Well, thank you, Lord, for a little word in my ear this morning.

We sang this song in church today and I love that I heard you speak:

You are For Me by Kari Jobe

So faithful, so constant and so true
So powerful in all you do
You fill me, you see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to you

So patient, so gracious, so merciful and true
So wonderful in all you do
You fill me, you see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to you

I know that you are for me, I know that you are for me
I know that you will never forsake me in my weakness
And I know that you have come now even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who you are.

Lord, yesterday I was asking who you were. I was exploring misconceptions that I fall for so often about you. I get it wrong. I make you into something less than you are. My image of you as my loving father gets all skewed and I get confused and scared and diminish you.

I wanted to see you and hear you and understand something of what you're like and today you told me, 'Alright then, this is Me'.

Faithful, constant, true, powerful, fulfilling, all-knowing, all-seeing, loving.

Patient, gracious, merciful, wonderful.

The main thing that I need to remember, though, my loving Father who smiles when I sing to you with all my heart - I need to remember that you are for me. You are on my side. You will never turn your back on me, no matter how wrong I get it.

I know that you are for me.

And when I wonder, when I search, when I look for you, you lean down and write on my heart.

To remind me who you are.

Love you, Lord. Thankyou.

You are for me, Kari Jobe, 2009 Gateway publishing

(Edited and reposted from a while ago.) 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Letter to the Brave: No, I have the Lord

Dear Helen

Did you think I didn't see? 

I saw you gazing with such longing at the future version of yourself and I understood what you were going through. On your face I saw pain and envy and so much sadness. I saw the things you worked hard to hide, too - I looked into your heart and I saw the depth of your shame, and the bitterness that you still suffer while this woman is free. I see everything, you know. I see the hidden things. 

My daughter, I know you so well. You know that, but you still get angry with me sometimes because you think that I don't understand you. You ask me why I don't step in and sort out all the troubles that you hold so tightly in your fists and you question my love for you. No, don't protest - I hear you say that you accept my love but you think that love is a frail, pathetic, limited thing. 

I love you with a love that existed from before the beginning of time. My love has survived much greater challenges than anything you throw at it and still I go on loving. I am Love. You don't believe how much I love you because your capacity to give and receive love is tiny in comparison with mine. You limit it still further by refusing to believe the truth about yourself. 

I made you. I am the Lord, and I made the lions and the trees and the penguins and the pine-cones and all the things that you find so appealing, beautiful and awe-inspiring - and I made you. I made every bone in your body, every cell and hair on your head, and I was pleased with what I made. I didn't look at my daughter Helen and have the smallest regret. I smiled when I saw you, and as you sleep at night I gaze at you and I kiss your forehead and I smooth your hair from your forehead with the same tenderness that I see you doing with your daughters. 

I love you, precious one. I love you just as you are. You remind me of my Son; you're more like him all the time. Don't keep batting my love away with polite thanks and disbelief. Let it sink in and transform you. It will transform you, you know. If you were to grasp just an inkling of the breadth and depth of my love, it would change your life.

You do not disappoint me. I love you with a love that will not let go. Not ever. Don't compare me with the people who have let you down in the past. You don't have to be wary of me. You don't have to protect that sore place deep in your heart; let me in. When I touch it, I will heal it. I am the Healer. 

I know that you're not perfect, my precious one. I know that you've made mistakes and I know that you will make more. You can't put any of it right on your own - that's what my grace is for. Listen to me, there is enough grace to go round. My Son took care of that. There's always enough to cover you. I don't keep any record of the rubbish in your life; on the contrary, the things I pin on the walls of heaven are my snapshots of your face turned towards me, your hands reaching for heaven, your baby steps, your love-notes. Not one of those moments is lost - I treasure them all.

I grieve for the pain you put yourself through. I see how hard you try and I know how hard on yourself you are when things go wrong. You panic and lose your focus and if you can't do everything perfectly you are tempted to give up and not to bother trying.  You listen to the voices in your head when they tell you that you're worthless and inadequate and you believe the lies. One of those lies is that you would be more acceptable to me if you were thinner. My Spirit in you will soon teach you to hear how ridiculous that belief is, and you will take your first steps to being the woman you long to be, but there is more that we must do before then.

Don't let the voice of the evil one overpower the hope that you have. You let that hope be eroded by self-doubt and self-accusation and perfectionism. I don't expect you to be perfect; I can use your imperfections! In your world people are desperate to give the impression that they are completely in control, but control is as much an illusion as self-sufficiency. Again and again I see the relief on people's faces when they find that they are not alone. Be open with people and show your struggles and triumphs and the things that you learn because it is in such honesty that people see me and believe.

You fear failure, but I am not limited by your definition of success. Every time you fall I reach down and offer my hand and every time you take it and get to your feet again the angels sing, and, my love, it's a beautiful, beautiful song.

Don't keep worrying about that other woman. I showed her to you to give you peace; to help you believe that I am not finished with you yet. I have a plan for you, my daughter, and I will not give up on you. There is so much that we can do together.  

Don't worry about what might happen tomorrow, next month or next year. Don't worry about the road ahead, because I'll walk with you. In good times we'll celebrate together, and believe me, I'm a good person to have at a party. In bad times I'll hold you tight and carry you in my arms, but you and me, we'll keep on walking. Don't look at the woman you'll one day be and despair of ever getting there. We'll do it one step at a time. I know you can do it. 

Be brave, little one. 

Here's what I want you to do. I want you to focus on joy. You have it in your reach but too often you turn inwards defensively and lick your wounds. You have all you need. You are fully equipped. If I think that you need something else, something new, then I will give it to you. I will never see you go into battle poorly armed. You have all you need, and I'm coming with you anyway. I will never leave your side; you are not alone. When the voice in your head tells you that you are lonely, overrule it. Again, I say, you are not alone. I am here. 

I am all you need. 

Let my Holy Spirit in your mind and heart take control and resist the worry, the anxiety and the fear. 

Say, 'No. I have the Lord.'

Say it after me: 'No. I have the Lord.' 

This is truth. 

With my love. Believe it. 


This is a response to a previous post - Letter to a Stranger. 

Linking up with Sabrina and Ruth, this time at Just Keep Singing for the second in the 'Letters To...' series. This week the prompt was 'Letter to the Brave'. 

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