ACW

ACW

Friday, 23 June 2017

Unappetising sandwiches and thin places - by Helen Murray

Forrest Gump's life was famously like a box of chocolates. Mine's more like a sandwich.

All the bits of my life are like layers: family, friends, health, work, church, and so on. It's a good sandwich. A well-filled, appetising one, most of the time. It's when something is off that it all goes wrong. 

My problem is my inability to compartmentalise. When something is wrong - a sandwich component is bad or absent - whether it's a touch of blue mould on the bread or a tang of rancid butter - the whole thing is inedible. No matter that the cheese is my favourite, and there's just the right amount of pickle, or the perfect crispy bit of lettuce, I can't enjoy the sandwich because part of it is not right. 

In times of stress or confusion, it's as if I've dropped the sandwich and it's landed on the floor in a heap of component parts. In accordance with the five-second-rule I scramble to pick it up, hastily reassembling it on my plate, but it doesn't really work. Now there are bits of carpet fluff and nothing is where it should be. It's not appetising any more. (And perhaps the metaphor is stretched a bit thin).

So, I find myself reflecting on what has gone wrong with my sandwich in recent months, or even years. For quite a while I thought that I was simply trying to get too much between the two slices of bread. Too many fillings meant that it was impossible to bite without everything sliding out of the other side and landing on your shirt-front. In response to this I pared down my commitments to concentrate on what was most important, along with the things that simply could not be changed. 

This worked for a while, but the stress slowly began to accumulate again. I found that the shoulds and oughts and musts crowded back in. Only recently have I realised that even my writing had become a burden; a heavy weight that was making me feel oppressed and anxious. 
  • should be writing. 
  • I have a gift for writing, and I should be using it. NB: the parable of the talents.
  • I've told people I'm writing a book; what will they think if I say I've given up?
  • If God has planted this dream in my heart, I should be working towards it.
Even my blog, my long-standing source of joy, comfort, inspiration and encouragement was too much. Too hard, too heavy. I have been overwhelmed. Something has had to give, and it is the writing. It's been all I can do to find something for this blog each month, and a long time since it had any relevance to writing. Apologies for that. 

Too much to do, so little space: physical, mental, spiritual. 

Then, two things happened. 

One.
I saw this Tweet:  
'Sometimes you've got to give up trying to fulfil your dreams and just fulfil your orders. Eventually you discover that the two will merge.'  @JarrodL Cooper
Two.
I went on the ACW Writers' Weekend at Scargill House, near Kettlewell in Yorkshire. A few days before the weekend I had a strong desire to phone up and cancel as it seemed simply too much effort to make on top of the normal non-stop hamster-wheel pace of life, but I reminded myself how wonderful last year's weekend was and how imperative it had seemed to me then, to book again for this year. I threw some things in a suitcase and hauled myself north. 


Ah, Scargill. They say it's a 'thin place' where heaven and earth seem closer than usual, and they're right. I've been three times now (booked four but did indeed cancel once) and each time I have met Jesus there right alongside some lovely lovely people. 

This time I did things a little differently. 

Usually I follow the programme assiduously, going to every workshop, every session, using all spare time in my little room writing away, because it's a writers' weekend and that's what you're supposed to do, no? I always do what I'm supposed to do. This time, I found myself exploring the breathtakingly beautiful grounds for the first time ever. It helped that the weather was perfect. 

I found a bench, I sat and gazed at the gorgeousness around me. I wrote in my journal. I felt the sun on my skin. I listened to the sheep, the cows, the birds, the wind in the trees. I saw a deer. I traced my way around the prayer labyrinth and wandered through the woods. I found another seat looking down on the striking Scargill chapel, with it's pointy roof just like a pair of praying hands. I breathed in the clean air and let my shoulders relax. 

'Give up trying to fulfil your dreams'. When your dreams become oppressive, perhaps it's time to put them to the side without feeling guilty about them. I don't want to write my book. There's so much going on just with normal everyday life that there's no space in my head for writing. If I claw out a little time to write these days, my mind snaps shut and I can't think of anything. It's become another should, another ought. 

'Just fulfil your orders...' Well, I am here, now, and my life is what it is. It is not this way by chance. This 'season' of life (I don't particularly like that term which smacks to me of Christian jargon, but I concede that it's probably right) is one that is fast and full. Full of good things; full of family, growing children, to-ings and fro-ings and crises and anti-climaxes, tears and laughter. Good things, that should be embraced, not resented. They won't last forever. I am needed. Trying to shoehorn in my dreams right now is proving stressful, and impossible.

I am here for a reason, with only so much time and energy. 
  • Yes, I am a writer. Okay, I will write when I can. 
  • Yes, I have gifts, but the God I know won't look at me, thin-lipped with disapproval if I can't do justice to my writing right now. It's not the only gift I have. I have my precious family to care for and bring up, my part to play in the ministry at church, the day-in-day-out job of keeping life on the rails. He has equipped me for those things too.
  • What people think is not my concern. I answer only to God.
  • As for the dream - I think perhaps if God planted that seed in my heart, then in His timing He will give it what it needs to grow. I am loved and accepted and approved of just as I am, whether I achieve or not. Jesus saw to that. 
So I'm back to the seasons. The beauty and stillness of Scargill seeped into my soul that summer Saturday afternoon when I 'should' perhaps have been learning much needed lessons about the craft of writing. I will learn them another time. Instead of listening to the readings in the house I was wondering at the handiwork of the Author of everything. For once, I didn't do what I was supposed to do, and I cannot describe the freedom of those couple of hours. 

I have made peace with the letting go of my writing dreams. I don't know if Mr Cooper is right in his assertion that my orders and my dreams will one day merge, but I know that holding onto them so tightly that my fists are clenched white has done me no good. The stagnant presence of those dreams in my life-sandwich has spoiled the taste of the whole thing, so I have lifted the crust and taken them out. *

Maybe those dreams are not discarded, just packaged up carefully to keep off the dust and placed gently on a shelf for another time. A less full, rushed, juggling kind of time. A more spacious time. I don't know, but I trust God with that. 

Until then, I need to concentrate on now. I have my orders. 

Love those who need loving. Do what needs to be done in the strength I have, in the place I'm in. Stop, when I can, and rest. Learn. 

Listen to His voice and do what I see Him doing. 

That's the Plan. 





*... in much the same way that one removes the slice of gherkin from a McDonalds cheeseburger. 




Helen Murray lives in Derbyshire, England, with her husband, two daughters and her mum.

As well as writing and reading, she drinks coffee, takes photographs, swims, breeds Aloe Vera plants and collects ceramic penguins.

Helen has a blog: Are We Nearly There Yet? where she writes about life and faith.

You can also find her here:

Pinterest: @HelenMMurray
Twitter: @helenmurray01






Thursday, 22 June 2017

Handing Over The Ticket by Emily Owen

Free Train On Tracks Royalty Free Stock Photography - 982257


I recently travelled by train from the East Midlands up to a little village in Scotland.  When the ticket inspector came, I scrabbled around for my ticket (why am I never organised enough to have it immediately to hand?) and showed it to him. He took it, checked it and handed it back to me but, before I could take the ticket, he started inspecting it again.  Of course, despite knowing I’d bought the correct ticket, I felt irrationally guilty and visions of me being turfed off the train at the next stop ran through my mind…

“Where’s that you’re going?” he asked. I could see him wracking his brains.  Then: “No, I’ve never heard of it.”

I told him it was in Scotland and, realising that I did know where I was going, he checked off and handed the ticket back before moving on down the train.

He didn’t know where I was going but the fact that I knew was enough for him.

As I sped northward, watching the beautiful scenery flash by, I thought about my ticket which had my destination written on. I thought about the ticket inspector who’d checked it off and handed my ticket back to me simply on the basis that I knew where I was going, even though he didn’t know. And I thought about life.

I don’t always know where I’m going. Sometimes I think I’d like a ticket telling me where to go, what to do, what to write, what to say.

There is such a ticket, it’s just that I’m like the ticket inspector, wanting to know: “Where am I going?” But, rather than wrack my brains and try to figure out what it says on my ticket, maybe I should also be like the ticket inspector and decide to hand the ticket back:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:5/6).

This is a verse my sister and her husband had at their wedding, right at the start of their journey together. Time and time again, it’s been a ticket that they’ve handed over to God, choosing to let it be enough that He knows where they are going. Even when they don’t have a clue.

Perhaps we can all hand our tickets over to One who does know where we’re going, every minute. And let the fact that He knows be enough.

My train ticket did get me there. God’s ticket will direct our journeys in life, too. 

‘Do not depend on your own understanding….’

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

An ordinary man who lived an ordinary life! Ruth Johnson


A time to weep
and a time to laugh

A time to mourn 
and a time to dance

                   Eccl.3:4









Last month when I reported on a friend who walked into hospital on a Friday afternoon with pneumonia.  On Saturday tests were carried out, the results on Sunday revealing Steve's body was riddle with cancer, and he died on the following evening.  A shock to all who knew him.  Three weeks earlier he’d been fit enough to cycle the five miles to and from church, and besides the odd glass of wine, he didn’t drink and had never smoked.

The ‘thanksgiving’ celebration of his life was attended by at least five hundred people.  Relatives, friends from church, his naval career (when he’d married and had three children) along with colleagues and connections from many years of running his IT business.  People had been drawn to him, a man who lived, talked and walked in the love of the Lord.  And his son, following in his footsteps, spoke of the importance of faith in his father’s life, preached a Gospel based sermon to encourage those who didn't know the Lord to experience the Father’s love in this life, and have their destiny in death assured.

In the ‘Order of Service’ for Steve Sherwin (11 May 1957 – 1 May 2017) I was very moved by the poem written by his daughter in law.  It is, of course, deeply personal to her, but she has given me permission to copy it here because I felt, as writers you would appreciate it.   And, if you do, and would like to read more Helen can be found at: www.helensherwin.com

Dream on Dear One
By Helen Sherwin

Dream on dear brother
Hold your wishes before the Lord,
Where we failed to listen and act,
Go to the one who made it all,
Ask him what, why, how and when
Then reply simply with a nod,
For today you are standing
In the presence of your God.

Dream on dear father,
For in His Kingdom dreams come true,
Enjoy the perfect family,
A ready-made community for you,
Laugh that cheerful laugh, A joy no longer flawed,
For today you are standing
In the presence of your Lord

Dream on dear friend,
Lay peacefully and rest,
Your suffering is over,
Your strong faith won the test,
We thank God that we knew you,
But if we could be sold bold –
Oh we wish you could stay longer
With that ever generous soul.

Dream on dear son,
Let our sadness turn to joy,
Because you’ve taken on eternity,
I’m proud of you, my boy,
And though I ache to see you,
I’m reminded by the Psalms,
That at this moment you are resting,
In your true Father’s arms.
Dream on dear husband,

Be yourself before the Lord,
Though here I’ll always miss you,
I know we’ll meet once more,
A brother, father, son and friend,
There’s so much that you bring,
But today we know you’re feasting,
At the banquet of your King.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Scargill by Sue Russell

It is all too often the case that when my turn to contribute to the blog looms I can find nothing to say. What do I know about Christianity or writing that hasn't been said before, that might amuse, inform, move, challenge, provoke?  Such questions to myself normally result in pitiful blankness. So this month I am going to cheat.
 I and a host of others have just come home from the ACW writers' weekend at Scargill House in the Yorkshire Dales, so the credentials of Christianity and writing can hardly be faulted, and our return coincides very happily (for me) with my date on the calendar.

It was my first time at Scargill, but I hope not the last. The weather was kind, the landscape inspiring, the hosts a delight, and the company unparalleled. It is a rare joy to be with so many people at one time with whom one has at least two major things in common - as above, Christianity and writing! I met people whom I had previously known only on social media; new connections were generated, older ones cemented, in an atmosphere of warmth and acceptance., and there was a free sharing of thoughts and skills.

I shall add a few photographs in the hope that if you haven't been before, you will consider going next year. You'll be glad you did, I suspect.
                                                                 
Above, Scargill from the other side of the dale, a view of the dale, the house and chapel. Left, the door to the beautiful walled garden, where two of us met one afternoon to try to beat a plot into shape.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Is confession good for the soul? by Veronica Zundel

Confessional
Since starting my poetry writing MA (which has now had to be put on hold for a year because of my cancer treatment), I have become increasingly aware that 'confessional poetry' is largely a term of abuse in today's poetry scene. It calls to mind poems about personal pain (usually of a love-related
nature) in which the word 'I' occurs a lot and there is not much attention to technical quality or striking language and imagery, rather what appears to be prose chopped up into little lines, and a hearty helping of clichés.

Now I've probably written a lot of this sort of poetry myself in the past, though sometimes disguising its personal nature by using 'She' or even 'You' instead of 'I' - unrequited love is an endlessly fruitful source of poetry, and I've had more than my share of it. There is of course a Christian equivalent, pious poems with a liberal sprinkling of religious platitudes, generally the literary equivalent of those slushy worship songs often known as 'Jesus is my boyfriend' songs, ie if you took out the word 'God' they would sound exactly like Top 10 romantic ballads (only not quite up to the Top 10).

George Herbert
But is the personal really that taboo in modern poetry? You could argue quite easily that much of the poetry of my heroines Sylvia Plath, Stevie Smith and the earlier but in many ways very modern Emily Dickinson, was personal and 'confessional' to a high degree, yet no one would claim that the result is bad poetry. Or going back further in history, is not the work of John Donne or his contemporary George Herbert, not to mention Shakespeare's 154 sonnets, deeply confessional? Yet all use powerful, unusual language and imagery and can never be accused of cliché.

It was 1970s feminism that coined the phrase 'the personal is political', and from a Christian viewpoint we could add 'the personal is theological' too. I have said often that I prefer to read novels by women rather than by men - they just seem to be far nicer to their characters, while men's writing can often be rather detached and cold. I am finding now that the same applies to poetry: women's poems reach and sometimes break my heart, while so much of men's poetry (not all by any means) seems mainly to be about showing off how incomprehensible you can be.

The fact is, confessional does not have to mean slushy, formless or sentimental. 'Written from the heart' does not automatically imply 'written without use of the head'. Ultimately, we all make whatever we write from the fabric of our own lives, or our personal observations of the lives of others. If we are good writers, it goes through a transformation in which our inner feelings and thoughts become an outer artefact, separate from ourselves and capable of independent life (a bit like having children really). If we are not, perhaps we should give up.


Veronica Zundel is a freelance writer whose latest book is Everything I know about God, I've learned from being a parent (BRF 2013). She also writes a column for Woman Alive magazine, and Bible notes for BRF's New Daylight. Veronica used to belong to what was, before it closed, the only non-conservative, English speaking Mennonite church in the UK, and is currently playing at being a high Anglican. She also blogs (rather occasionally!) at reversedstandard.com

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Art: our lives as a thing of beauty in God's hands

During seasons of rest and stillness, it's tempting to think nothing much happens. However, God uses these times as periods for growth, honing our souls, shaping us into greater Christ-likeness.

Although we may not yet be fully fledged works of art, we are works in progress, not left gathering dust on the shelf. 

Even as our Master Craftsman wields His instruments, we may resent the strokes that are creating art and beauty from our hardened clay. Until we learn to yield, become softened, malleable to His tender touch.

It's been a struggle for me to sit with stillness over the last few weeks, surrendering to deeper rest. My busy brain and restless soul have taken time to settle down and go with the flow of God's unforced rhythms of grace, instead of my usual hassle and haste.

The refining, shaping process can feel uncomfortable. I've discovered I'm not as pliable or surrendered as I thought I was. There's a degree of resistance, rough edges within needing to be sanded and smoothed.

Sometimes the thought of all the work God needs to complete in us makes us despair. Because we can forget that cracked, broken vessels need shaping, to go through fires of adversity, to be made fit for a holy purpose we can't yet see. 

Prayer Whisper: 'Unveiling'

"As a sculptor works diligently on resistant stone, so I am sculpting a thing of beauty from the granite hardness of your soul, replacing a heart of stone with a heart of flesh, making all things new. Each hammer and chip, every chisel and blade is refining your heart and mind.

I see all you are becoming. My eyes have the end view in sight, even as I work on all that you are now. Days of patient toil, little by little, are transforming you from the inside out. Remember you are safe in the Master Craftsman's hands. 


Yield yourself to the process. Accept the pierce of My Word, the fires of adversity where I hone you to perfection. Enlarge your vision to include all you will become by My grace. Do not resist My hand on your life or run away from the loving correction I offer you.

For I fashion you according to My desires and plans for your welfare, to give you hope and a future, to prosper you and not to harm you.

Although the process of refining may feel never-ending, it has a purpose. In due time, what has been concealed will be revealed.Your beauty will shine forth as it reflects My own. An unveiling will take place when you are ready to see it, and it will be glorious to behold. 

Meanwhile, others will catch delightful glimpses of all I am shaping you to be. They will marvel, be blessed and encouraged by what they see. And you will have insights along the way to enable you to bear the brunt of My blade upon you before the unfolding begins."


God is our heavenly Father, who gently disciplines and instructs us. Though some of us haven't known an earthly father (or one who was good to us), we can trust God to love us unconditionally, to be a Father to the fatherless. 

While we celebrate the important men in our lives this Father's Day, may we be thankful for just how much God always cares for us. May we remember our art, our lives are all the better for His refining processes.


Joy Lenton is a grateful grace dweller, contemplative Christian writer, poet and blogger, author of 'Seeking Solace: Discovering grace in life's hard places'

She enjoys encouraging others on their journey of life and faith at her blogs wordsofjoy.me and poetryjoy.com as she seeks to discover the poetic in the prosaic and the eternal in the temporal. 

You can connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Conveying biblical truth in writing by Claire Musters


I write devotionals very regularly, but I recently had the unexpected task of producing a piece of writing that reflected a biblical passage without revealing where the inspiration came from.

My dad was getting married again and had asked my husband and I to speak at the wedding. We had agreed, and decided to base our talk around Colossians 3:12–14. Then came the phone call saying that, as it was to be a civil ceremony, their council allowed no religious texts and we couldn’t mention God at all either. They also wanted to see the final transcript for our talk by the following week!

My husband was busy preparing his preach for that weekend, which meant he wouldn’t have time to work further on the wedding talk until the deadline day. So, somewhat flippantly, I said, ‘How about I write a poem based on the passage we were going to read out? We can then talk around it.’ Everyone agreed, I got off the phone and then wondered why I had volunteered myself for such a task!

I began to feel slightly anxious about using, but in fact not using, a biblical passage. I didn’t want to take away from what it was saying but also wanted to ensure I included imagery that everyone would be able to connect with.

In the end, the inspiration came quickly as I re-read a blog post I had written a few years previously about ‘dressing our spirits’. I was able to produce the poem without too much difficulty.

On the day, we conveyed the message that we wanted to and, from the responses we got from guests, gave people a challenge to take away and really think about.

I have included the poem here for you to see. While this may have been my first foray into writing poetry based on the ideas in a particular scripture, I have sometimes used the imagery in a psalm to help me write my own in my journal.

Over to you: in what ways does scripture inspire your writing?

I stand at the wardrobe

I stand at the wardrobe, choosing my outfit carefully;
Ensuring it matches to create the look I’m after today.
But do I choose my attitudes so carefully?
Do I ever consider how I clothe myself with them?

When I look over to say good morning to you,
Is it love that is covering my words?
Or is there a hint of tension or anger within them,
Left over from a difficult conversation yesterday?

How do I react to you throughout the day –
When I’m busy, harassed, trying to get things done?
Is love still clothing my attitudes, my words, my actions?
If they were cut open would love be running through?

What about compassion, patience and gentleness?
Do I forgive quickly if you offend me?
Am I careful not to point out your shortcomings
And those moments when you do things differently to me?

I choose today to not only clothe my body, but to consider my attitudes too.
I choose today to put on love above all else.
To actively cultivate the best of attitudes towards you,
Will you choose to love me in this way too?


Claire is a freelance writer, speaker and editor, mum to two gorgeous young children, pastor’s wife, worship leader and school governor. Claire’s desire is to help others draw closer to God through her writing, which focuses on authenticity, marriage, parenting, worship, discipleship, issues facing women today etc. Her books include Taking your Spiritual Pulse, CWR’s Insight Into Managing Conflict, Insight Into Self-acceptance, Cover to Cover: David A man after God’s own heart, Insight Into Burnout and BRF Foundations21 study guides on Prayer and Jesus. She also writes Bible study notes. She has two books being published in November: Taking off the mask: learning to live authentically, with Authentic Media, and Cover to Cover: 1–3 John Walking in the truth, with CWR. To find out more about her, please visit www.clairemusters.com and @CMusters on Twitter.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Imagination, creativity and grace by Lynda Alsford




I am constantly blessed by the imagination and creativity of others. I have been blessed by the writing of ACW writers. we are a gifted bunch and I thank you all for your contributions. It isn't just reading someone else's writing by which I am blessed. Our creativity is expressed in so many ways. This was brought powerfully to my mind by a video I sometimes watch on YouTube by the band MercyMe. 

For those who have not heard of them, MercyMe  are an American band, whose songs I find have powerful lyrics and great music, Song writing is one expression of writing for which I am very grateful. Songs about our faith are very powerful for me. I love singing along to music. It speaks to me and brings me into God's presence. I sing a lot in my car. You may stop to thank God now you are not a passenger in my car, my singing is not always very tuneful but it is a way I express my love to God!  I also listen to music at work via my headphones and have to remember not to sing along as it disturbs my colleagues! I so admire those who can write meaningful lyrics and music, and make powerful images, whether moving images as in the video below or still images that illustrate things for us. How we are blessed by these gifts. 

MercyMe sing a song called 'Flawless'. I find the lyrics especially powerful. The chorus of the song includes the following words. 
No matter the bumps,
No matter the bruises, 
No matter the scars, 
Still the truth is, 
The cross has made, 
The cross has made you flawless

They highlight to me how God sees us as flawless no matter what we have done, and what we have been through because of the cross. So often we condemn ourselves and each other because of what we have done, when God sees us always through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. He sees us as flawless. The version of this song I like watching most is below. It adds in a very powerful graphic image to the words. If, as you are reading this, you don't have WiFi or enough mobile data, do come back to it. It is a very powerful video. I praise God for the variety of gifts used in the making of this video.

 




Lynda Alsford is a sea loving, cat loving GP administrator and writes in her spare time. She has written two books, He Never Let Go describes her journey through a major crisis of faith whilst working as an evangelist at a lively Church in Chiswick, West London. Being Known describes how God set her free from food addiction. Both books are available in paperback and on kindle on  Amazon.co.uk  and  Amazon.com. She writes a newsletter called Seeking the Healer, in which she shares the spiritual insights she has gained on her journey. When she finally starts her blog, it will also be called Seeking the Healer and you can find out more about both at  www.lyndaalsford.com







Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Privileged 14th June 2017 by Susanne Irving


At the beginning of June, I helped out at an arts and design festival that was held at West Dean College. West Dean House is normally not open to the public, but as a student on their foundation course in art and design, I can freely enter the premises. I have stayed overnight in different rooms of the house and have explored the gardens and arboretum on many occasions. I have spent enough time there to be familiar with the surroundings and to consider it home from home.

During the festival, the house was open to the public. I was excited that my stewarding duties meant that I would be able to see rooms that are usually off limits even for us students. I also got to see the house through the eyes of first time visitors. They were in awe of sights I now take for granted and noticed things I do not normally pay attention to.

Certain areas of the house were still cordoned off to visitors, and you needed to be a member of staff or student to enter them. Whereas I could walk where I pleased, casual visitors were barred from entering certain areas and were redirected.

On the second day of the festival, I showed my husband around. He had never been to the college before. I proudly explained to him the features of the house and the history of the family who owned it, although I got some of my facts very wrong. (I mixed up George V and Edward VII!)

As long as he was with me, my husband enjoyed some of the privileges of a student because the staff and stewards knew me well and waved us through. However, when he later tried to enter a student area without me he was swiftly turned away and told that he did not have the right credentials.

The experience got me thinking: I became a Christian in November 1992, so have been a member of God’s household for 25 years. Yet what is my attitude to my Father’s House?

What do I consider to be part of God’s household? Simply the place where my own congregation meets or do I adopt a global perspective? After all, ultimately the whole of creation belongs to God and should be taken care of and treated with respect.

Am I still curious enough to explore further or am I happy to walk along the same corridors day after day? Some Christians say that they enter by faith the throne room right at the heart of the universe. I must confess that I have never entered there.

What about the privileges bestowed upon me as an adopted child of God? I am here because of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished. Yet because I have been gifted with many talents, I can sometimes think that I have earned my privileges and forget that they have been bestowed on me.

And am I excited to introduce others to my Father’s House and its treasure trove? How well do I know my Father and his story? I have to watch my tendency to focus on rules and regulations rather than on God’s heart.

What about you?  


About the author: Sue Irving is the co-ordinator for the Creative Communicators in Petersfield. She has co-written a book with her husband John about their experiences when climbing Kilimanjaro. It is aimed at both trekkers and those who are going through a dark time in their lives. How to conquer a mountain: Kilimanjaro lessons is available as a paperback and an e-book on Amazon, with all proceeds going to charity. The German translation of the book is due to be published this summer.