3.12.22: As I wake

Context: As I wake, eyes still closed, I’m in my familiar, warm, dimly-lit inner space, looking down at the dark, still surface of my unconscious mind, repeating, “I love you, Lord; I love you.” 

The face of the deep begins to stir, creating ripples which spread out from the centre until they are lost from my sight in the surrounding darkness. Then I hear myself saying aloud, “Let it be done to me according to thy word”. After this, I lie in silence, amazed and awed.

Eventually, I pick up my iPad, and start to write down what happened. I have a sense that something is coming: a change, a gain, a loss? What might it be? I feel a ripple of apprehension and excitement, which persists throughout the day.


References 

Darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:2; NLT). 

An angel of the Lord came from time to time and stirred up the water (John 5:4; NLT). 

I love you, Lord; you are my strength (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 

Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38; KJV). 

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29; NIV). 

Then Jesus told the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you” (Matthew 8:13; CSB). 

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10; RSV).

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).

2.12.22: Forgive me

Context: I chose this prayer from my storehouse whilst waiting for treatment at the hospital. Because of having had Covid, I’ve missed several weekly sessions there,  so it was good to start picking up my old routines again, and to see the familiar reception staff and nurses. Unfortunately, I somehow accidentally pressed the “publish” button, so it has gone out early, as a bonus for today!

Do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour…

Lord,
You know my faithless heart:
Forgive me; make me fair and kind.
You also know my foolish thoughts:
Forgive me; let me share your mind.

Lord,
You know my careless words:
Forgive me; may I speak with love.
You also know my fragile soul:
Forgive me; heal me; make me good.

Lord,
You know my selfish deeds:
Forgive me; may I serve like you.
You also know my wasted years:
Forgive my sins, and make me new.

…Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:30-32; NLT).


References

For the honour of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins (Psalm 25:11; NLT).

Put new life into us, and we will worship you (Psalm 80:18; CEV).


Rosary-making news:

Again, no post for me today, as I wait keenly for all my rosary-making materials to arrive so I can get properly launched. Every day I say, “Thank you, Jesus”, when I see the empty letter-box, and strive to practice patience, which is very hard! It will arrive at the correct time, I’m sure, so I need to accept this situation, just any other.

30.11.22: Time

Context: A few days ago I woke early, giving me the luxury of time to spend with Jesus, and out of that time, this little prayer gently arose:

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed (Mark 1:35; NIV). 

It’s good to lie awake with you, Lord Jesus,
To pray, and reunite, and hear your voice.

It’s good to share this time with you, Lord Jesus:
Despite my trials and sorrows, to rejoice. 

It’s good to say I’m sorry, ask forgiveness,
And beg you, Lord, to help us live in peace.

It’s good to spend this time alone with you, Lord,
Until the day when time, for me, will cease. 

Behold, I am with you every day, even unto the end of time (Matthew 28:20; ABPE).


References 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. 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 leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27; NLT). 

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; 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). 

29.11.22: I see

Context: I’ve tested negative for covid three times now, so despite my continuing fatigue, I decided to face yesterday’s scheduled pain treatment at the hospital. As I entered the building I began to pray for everyone there and for those around me in the busy foyer. Then I suddenly saw the oneness of all humanity, even though we temporarily inhabit separate, fragile bodies during our time on earth.

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT). 

With joy, I see at last
That all are one

One mind, one heart, one soul,
Though billions strong.

We lodge in separate bodies, Lord,
It’s true,

Yet all remain forever
One in you.

You are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; NLT).

Your immortal spirit is in every one of them (Wisdom of Solomon 12:1; GNTA).

26.11.22: You wake me

Context: I’m slowly improving after becoming ill with Covid just over two weeks ago. Yesterday I walked about 100 yards, which was exhausting, and resulted in a migraine.

Today I’d like to share a poem I wrote a short while ago. That day, I woke at about 5.30am. Still drowsy, I hoped to go back to sleep, but started to say The Lord’s Prayer, as usual. However, within moments my words ceased, as my soul was filled with the most delightful light, warmth and love. All too soon, I had to surface, so I could write about what I had experienced. It wasn’t easy to put into words, but here is the result:

God awakens me morning after morning – wakens my ear, to listen like a student (Isaiah 50:4; TIB). 

God of all people,
All creatures, all things,
You wake me so gently,
For sleep, Lord, still clings,

And over all people,
All creatures, all things,
You call to me softly:
The King of all kings.

You live through all people,
All creatures, all things,
And though I’m still drowsy
You give my soul wings,

Then, in all people,
All creatures, all things,
You stir up my spirit,
Until my heart sings. 

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! (Zephaniah 3:14; NLT).

There is …one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all and is within all (Ephesians 4:5-6; TIB).

25.11.22: Silence

Context: The days tend to blur into one with Covid, but there are signs of improvement. Yesterday, my husband made bread, we gratefully received our second batch of online grocery shopping, and I walked about 5o yards down the road, which was as much as I could manage. There was no traffic, and the light, waves and gulls gave a strange, dream-like quality to being out of doors. Afterwards, I was so tired that I fell asleep repeatedly.

Be silent before the Lord (Zechariah 2:13; NLT).

In the silence of my mind,
I praise you, Lord,
Who sets me free.

In the stillness of my heart,
I worship you
Continually.

In the darkness of my soul,
I seek your face
Unceasingly.

In the dying of my flesh,
I thirst
For your eternity.

I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain (Psalm 143:6; NLT).

I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:2; NLT).


Rosary news:

Following help I was given on Wednesday by a religious Sister, I made my first rosary with a centrepiece, which proved to be a game-changer. It’s holding together so far, with cautious, gentle handling:

24.11.22: In my dreams

Context: In dreams, I very rarely say or do anything overtly Christian, which seems both surprising and sad.

Yesterday morning I woke from a complicated, stressful dream, longing to pray. However, even before I could begin, this blog started to arrive. I tried hard to ignore it, which was impossible. It quickly became so loud and insistent that I had to give in, and write it down, like this:

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
To turn to you, and pray, Lord,
In my dreams;
To ask for your forgiveness
In my dreams,
Love others, Lord, and serve you –
In my dreams. 

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
So I can praise and thank you
In my dreams;
To revel in your presence
In my dreams,
And welcome all that happens –
In my dreams.

I want to be a Christian
In my dreams,
Then I will see your face, Lord,
In my dreams.
I’ll worship without ceasing
In my dreams,
And live in heaven on earth, Lord –
In my dreams.


Rosary news:

Well, since my most recent failure I’ve thought hard about rosary-making, watched some more YouTube videos, talked with my friend in the UK, and had a Zoom consultation with a lovely consecrated Sister who knows her rosaries. Then I threw the (metaphorical) rule-book into the (metaphorical) bin, and put together my own way of doing it, with the following result:

It seems very strong, and I’m tempted to ask my husband to test its joints, but don’t yet feel quite tough enough to deal with the disappointment if it immediately comes apart like the last one. Maybe I’ll ask him tomorrow….

NB: In the end, I plucked up my courage, he tested it, and it’s still in one piece so far!

23.11.22: Covid

Context: I have very long experience of living with chronic illness and fatigue, but it’s interesting to observe how wearing it is to have Covid on top of this. Although I tested negative for the first time last Sunday, my symptoms continue, and the virus certainly isn’t giving up its grip yet.

I’m vividly aware that all around the world hundreds of thousands have died of their infection, whilst countless others are suffering, or have been left disabled. My only coping technique is to say, “Yes”, to God at every moment, and to keep on whispering, “Thank you, Jesus.”

It’s impossible to predict the outcome of this illness for each individual, including me, so all I can do is to put my trust God, who brings good from everything, no matter what happens:

I love you, LORD; you are my strength (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 

I love you
As I wake again
To yet another
Day of pain.
Don’t leave me here
To live in vain,
I pray.

I love you,
And I seek your face.
I long to know
Your warm embrace,
Receive your kiss,
And share your grace –
One day.

I love you,
And I choose your will,
With thanks
For every good and ill.
Lord, help me, please,
For you are still
My Way.

Jesus told him, “I am the way” (John 14:6; NLT).


References 

Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless (Philippians 2:16; NLT). 

The LORD will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me (Psalm 138:8; NLT).

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek (Psalm 27:8; NIV). 

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace (Titus 1:4; NLT). 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16; NIV). 

All of you share in God’s grace with me (Philippians 1:7; NIV). 

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT). 

I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things (Isaiah 45:7; NLT). 

When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn (Psalm 142:3; NLT). 

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left (Isaiah 30:21; NLT). 

18.11.22: Commitment

Context: Yesterday I was able to pray silently for a while, which has been impossible since I became ill with Covid.

The day before I had felt very sad not to have died, but yesterday I saw that as long as God wants me to live, I will live, however exhausted I am, and that when God wants me to die, I will die. So now my only aim is to say, “Yes” to God, and to give thanks for everything God sends. Whether I live or die, I want to embrace God’s will completely.

As part of this realisation, some verses swiftly arrived to crystallise my thinking. Today’s blog owes a great deal to a special prayer I say every day. It’s used by the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham, and is quoted in full below the references.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4; NLT).

Lord,

Forgive my sins,
Though they are many,
As I forgive the people
Who’ve hurt me.

I’m ready now to live, Lord,
At your pleasure;
I’m ready, now, to die,
When you decree.

No matter what you send
May I give thanks, Lord;
No matter what you take
May I say, Yes –

Today, and every hour,
And every moment,
With steadfast faith, hope, love,
And humbleness.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:6; NIV).


References

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10; RSV).

The LORD gives both death and life (1 Samuel 2:6; NLT).

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).

Put on mercy, kindness, gentleness, humbleness of mind, meekness [and] patience (Colossians 3:12; LB).

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Isaiah 26:3; NIV).

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT).


COLW prayer:

O Mary, teach us always
To say YES to the Lord,
Every moment of our life.

O Mary, teach us always
To give THANKS to the Lord,
Every moment of our life.

(Page 17, Community of Our Lady of Walsingham Prayer Book, Verbum Publications, 2019).

17.11.22: Like Jesus

Context: This prayer came to me last Monday, after a very bad weekend as my covid began:

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB). 

No matter what you send today,
May I respond like Jesus.

No matter what you take away,
Don’t let me fail, or sin. 

No matter how you test my love,
May I respond with patience,

Yielding to your will, Lord God,
With tears and prayers, like Him.

I want your will to be done, not mine (Matthew 26:39; NLT).


References 

He became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death” (Matthew 26:27-8; NLT). 

The LORD your God is testing you to see if you truly love him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 13:3; NLT). 

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised (Hebrews 10:36; 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).

He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood (Luke 22:44; NLT). 

Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9; NLT).


Rosary news:

Despite everything, I managed to make this Fiat Rosary yesterday:


However, when I used it with my zoom community group in the evening, I discovered that the colours shown by the pattern I’ve been given are in a different order from that shown in the community’s prayer book. So, I’ve written to the Sister who knows more about these rosaries than anyone else, in the hope that she can clarify the situation. I’ll let you know if there is any news about this. Meanwhile, each rosary I make, then take to pieces again, is a great learning experience, so there are plenty of positives to celebrate.