Yesterday, through a message from a friend (thank you L.), I discovered Wikimedia Commons, giving me access to thousands of new photographs. I’m so grateful for this, and so delighted to begin sharing them with all who visit this website.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest…
Are you weary?
Are you burdened?
Come, right now, To Jesus.
Are you grieving?
Are you frightened? He will help you Face each test.
He is humble.
He is gentle.
He is here To comfort you.
Are you weary?
Come to Jesus: He will always
Give you rest.
…Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30; NLT).
I am with you always, even to the end of the world (Matthew 28:20; WNT).
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4; KJV).
The Rosary Hospital
Here is today’s rosary, which I thoroughly enjoyed making:
This is the second part of all that came to me yesterday morning in a sudden rush of inspiration (see https://wp.me/p45bCr-dxx):
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-7; RSV).
Prayer is not so difficult
When we give you the lead:
Words and silence alternate,
For you know every need.
You help all those we pray for, Lord,
And bless those we forget:
You make up for our failings, And ensure all needs are met.
He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need (Acts 17:25; NLT).
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30; NIV).
If you love me and obey the command I give you, I will ask the One who sent me to give you another Paraclete, another Helper to be with you always – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept since the world neither sees her nor recognises her; but you can recognise the Spirit because she remains with you and will be within you (John 14:15-17; TIV).
I find that interceding for others can easily become a burden. More and more people are added to my list, and hardly anyone is ever crossed off. Praying for them all can become a lengthy, repetitive, exhausting task, rather than a caring, heartfelt appeal for God to help them. Sometimes I’m just not well enough to manage it at all, even though I don’t want to neglect anyone who is suffering.
As I was reflecting on this a couple of days ago, today’s prayer came to me:
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them (1 Timothy 2:1; NLT).
It doesn’t need to be a burden:
Pray, right now, for everyone,
Asking God to heal and bless them:
Simply pray through Christ, the Son.
Let the Holy Spirit pray On your behalf, to God above.
Lift this troubled world to heaven:
He will help us all, with love.
The Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26; AMP).
After writing, then saying, this prayer, I suddenly saw that I could use my rosary to help me pray for others. So I tried it out, like this:
Holding the first bead of the first decade, I waited silently to see who came into my mind, then I prayed for them. Moving on to the next bead, I waited again to see who came to mind, and so on. When no more names appeared, I knew my intercessions were finished for the moment.
With this approach, I didn’t have to think about who to pray for, which was a relief. It also felt less mechanical than using a list – more natural, spontaneous, and supported by the Holy Spirit.
I quickly saw that I could use my rosary like this to pray discreetly for others in different settings, such as during medical treatments, or journeys, whilst walking, or waiting somewhere, and so on. Normally, I do this without a rosary, but find that it’s very easy to be distracted, to forget who I’m praying for, or even to forget that I’m praying. The more creative I can be with my intercessions, the fresher and more alive they will become. I already know that there will be more on this topic over the next few days. God is good!
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion (Ephesians 6:18; NLT).
You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father (John 14L13; NLT).
I am the LORD who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).
I am the one who wounds and heals (Deuteronomy 32:39; NLT).
This is the last of the four prayers I was given on New Year’s Eve. It brought me a sense of relief and comfort to grasp fully that every kind of physical, mental and emotional suffering comes to an end when we die.
The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).
When I leave my body here,
I’ll also leave my pain,
And when I leave my mind for good, I’ll leave my burdens, too.
When I leave my heart on earth, I’ll leave my grief, as well,
But I won’t leave my soul behind, For it is one with you.
The person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him (1 Corinthians 6:17; NLT).
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be nomore death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever (Revelation 21:4; NLT).
Context: On Sunday evening I was reading about the Annunciation, and reflecting on how Mary freely chose to bear God’s Son. Then today’s question and answer dialogue came straight into my mind, all at once:
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38; KJV).
I want your will to be done, not mine (Matthew 26:39; NLT).
Will you accept this illness? Yes, I will, Lord. Do you accept this pain? Yes, Lord, I do.
Can you accept this trouble? Yes, I can, Lord,
And I’ll embrace my cross with joy
Will you accept this burden? Yes, Lord, freely. Do you accept this grief? Yes, Lord, I do.
Can you accept this anguish? Yes, Lord, gladly,
So I’ll give thanks, and bear my cross
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).
I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church (Colossians 1:24; NLT).
If we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT).
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10; NLT).
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34; NLT).
Rosary-making news: The Rosary Hospital (with thanks to J.W.)
On Sunday I finally hit on the best way for me to make Fiat Rosaries successfully. These rosaries help the user to explore all four mysteries in one cycle of prayer. The story of how they began is available here: https://associationfiat.com, in several different languages.
The same evening, a friend offered to send me some broken rosaries, to my great delight. I’ve already received a box of similar materials from a shop in Walsingham, and am recycling their usable parts to make corded rosaries.
My husband commented dryly that I’m now running a “Rosary Hospital”, which felt instantly significant. As I don’t charge for what I make, recycling rosary parts helps to keep my costs down. If recipients want to, they can donate to the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Making rosaries is a spiritual exercise, and a form of ministry which brings me great pleasure and purpose, though I still have much to learn. If the Rosary Hospital idea develops further, I’ll post about it here.
Meanwhile, here is yesterday’s non-Fiat rosary (making one each day is enough for my arthritic hands). It’s extra large, chunky and tactile, made especially for an elderly lady:
Context: At present, I’m having a lot of challenging and alarming dreams. Yesterday morning, as I surfaced from a particularly long, disturbing one, I started to pray, and immediately received today’s poem. Later in the day I printed it out, and put a copy beside my pillow. The plan is to say it every night just before settling down to sleep, straight after the beautiful Song of Simeon (see below).
Update: I did this last night, and had no horrible dreams at all, for which I thank God!
God speaks in dreams, those visions of the night when deep sleep covers the land and all are slumbering in their beds. At these times God speaks in our ears and terrifies us with admonitions, to turn us away from wickedness and to keep us humble (Job 33:15-17; TIB).
Stay with me in my dreams,
To help and comfort me, I pray,
Then, be with me when I wake, To guide and strengthen me each day.
May I hearten others, too, With help and comfort, when I can,
And walk the extra mile with them,
And share their load, like you, God’s Lamb.
If one of the occupation troops forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles (Matthew 5:41; GNT).
As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36; NLT).
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2; NLT).
Reading: the Song of Simeon
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel (Luke 2:29-32; KJV).
Following my blog about being introduced to my ‘Pause’ button a few days ago (see https://wp.me/p45bCr-ccE), I discovered yesterday that I also have available a ‘Slow’ button, a ‘Stop’ button and a ‘Rest’ button. This is very exciting, because I’ve never consciously recognised, or been able to access, any of these inner control buttons before. Here is what sprang from this healing realisation:
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart…
When I’m rushing,
I press Slow, Lord,
When I want to,
I press Pause;
When I need to,
I press Stop, Lord,
Then I Rest, Within your hands.
…and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-9; NLT).
Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed. On the seventh day God had finished all the work of creation, and so, on that seventh day, God rested. God blessed the seventh day and called it sacred, because on it God rested from all the work of creation (Genesis 21-3; TIB).
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31; NLT).
Context: Greetings to everyone who follows, or visits, this website. Some of you will be aware that my health, energy and mobility are steadily deteriorating. This makes producing a fully-referenced poem or article every day more tiring than I can manage nowadays. I’ve been struggling badly for the last few months, as this task has gradually become more and more of a challenge.
Tomorrow is my 70th birthday, so from that day onwards, for a trial period of a month, I’m going to share what God shows me each day much more directly, just as I experience it and note it down at the time. This might take the form of a short prayer, or a set of reflections. I don’t know yet exactly what will happen, but I trust God to help me.
This new approach should greatly reduce my daily work-load, but will still enable me to share with you what I’m given. After a month, I’ll review how I’m coping, and let you know how it has felt.
You might smile to know that a few days ago, in desperation, I had decided to keep on writing as before, but only to post on alternate days. However, this didn’t feel right, and I knew it wasn’t exactly what God wanted. Then today, about an hour ago, I was given the new approach described above, which means I can still post every day. It’s a great relief to have received this guidance, and to have a way forward that feels right. My only desire is to do God’s will.
Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
(Exodus 20:21; NLT).
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
(Psalm 89:15; NLT).
1. You live in my darkness;
I walk in your light.
2. You cannot be seen,
But I dwell in your sight.
3. You bear all my burdens;
I lean on your might.
4. In love and rejoicing, Complete: we unite.
You also are complete through your union with Christ.
(Colossians 2:10; NLT).
1. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12; NIV).
2. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us (1 John 4:12; NLT).
We shall live in his sight (Hosea 6:2; KJV).
3. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19; NIV).
In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).
I love you, LORD; you are my strength (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 4. I will be glad and rejoicein your unfailing love (Psalm 31:7; NLT).
We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16; NIV).
Context: This prayer started to arrive just before the appointment with my consultant, and (to my great surprise), continued to arrive after it! My doctor couldn’t give me any definite news, though some conditions have now been ruled out. It’s looking more and more likely that I have Autonomic Neuropathy, so the next step will be a trip to London for more detailed tests. These should lead to a conclusive diagnosis. Meanwhile, here is today’s prayer:
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. (John 16:33; NLT).
1. I put my trust in you
To help me face each test.
Depression and anxiety?
Well, all you send is blest.
2. Sorrow, fear and suffering?
Your will is my command.
Darkness, panic, grief and tears?
I place them in your hand.
3. For these have now become my “pearls”,
My pearls beyond all price. Through them, Lord, I learn to grasp
Your perfect sacrifice.
4. My trials are now my offerings: I share them all with you,
While you, Lord, share them all with me,
And love to help me, too.
5. Thus, you show me how to live,
To learn, and grow, and care
For others, while you help me face
The burdens I must bear.
6. My faith, my pain, my love, my life:
I lay them at your feet.
My Lord, my God, my All-In-All,
Your healing is complete.
Those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
he speaks to them in their affliction (Job 36:15; NIV).
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly
we are wasting away, yet inwardly
we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16; NIV).
1. I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life (Psalm 143:8; NIV).
The LORD your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 13:3; NLT).
Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal (Job: 5:17-18; NIV).
2. He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:39; NLT).
3. The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant’s search for fine pearls. When one pearl of great value was found, the merchant went back and sold everything else and bought it (Matthew 13:45-6; TIV).
Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you (Isaiah 30:20; NLT).
4. When Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer” (Hebrews 10:5; NLT).
God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time (Hebrews 10:10; NLT).
Trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8; NLT).
In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Hebrews 4:15-16; NLT).
Then Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30; NLT).
5. Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23; NLT).
His command is that you walk in love (2 John 1:6; NIV).
The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving (Psalm 28:7; NLT).
6. “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed (John 20:28; NLT).
Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28; NKJV).
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again (Psalm 71:20; NIV).
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever (Revelation 21:4; NLT).
Context: I would much rather that someone hurt me, than that I hurt someone else. Realising I have accidentally hurt someone always fills me with dread, because I have no hope or expectation of being forgiven after discovering my mistake and saying how sorry I am.
All this comes from long experience of my mother, from whom I learned that I would always be blamed, punished and rejected for whatever wrong she considered me to have done. Never forgiven or forgotten, all my mistakes were cumulatively held against me. I have long been aware that this is not a good foundation for relating to other people, or understanding what God is like, yet it has proved astonishingly difficult to change.
Yesterday morning I woke up still feeling very anxious and upset about a mistake I made, and apologised for, the day before. As I was talking it through with the person concerned, God suddenly deluged me with a series of shattering personal realisations. I wept whilst the whole experience brought badly-needed healing to my poor, damaged soul.
This is what I realised:
God is not at all like my earthly mother
God accepts my sorrow, then forgives and forgets my sins.
God’s love is unconditional and unfailing.
God always wants the best for me.
God doesn’t resent me for existing.
God won’t belittle, bully, or abuse me.
God never blames me for having an accident of any kind.
God doesn’t punish me for making mistakes.
God doesn’t rage at me, or reject me, for doing something I didn’t know was wrong.
God doesn’t see me as a changeling – i.e. not at all what was expected or desired.
God never sees me, or treats me, as an unwanted burden.
God doesn’t see me as basically unlovable.
And out of all this learning came today’s spontaneous, heartfelt, little prayer:
You touched my soul today, Lord God; You touched my soul today.
You touched and healed,
For you revealed
The wisdom of your way.