A naked tree!


At the turn of the year, there is often a time of reflection, mulling over the year passed, and considering the possibilities for the year ahead.

Christmas and the holidays, give us time to be honest about what is going on, and how we are feeling, and so it can feel like a bit of a vulnerable time. We recognise home truths we have tried to forget, and we can wrestle with things about ourselves that we don’t like.

I am fortunate to live opposite a park, and so I often gaze at these trees. They are full of life in spring, but in winter their branches are bare and they look exposed to the elements.

I have learned to do the Ignatian examen, not just for my days, but for months and years. I look back over the year with God, and ask that he reveal to me not just my struggles, but also things I can give thanks for. I am so grateful for this process, for by prayerfully reflecting, I notice where God has been at work, and this is more encouraging. It gives balance to my perspective, and reminds me more deeply of how God has blessed me, even if I didn’t see it at the time. I also notice things that God is inviting me to do differently in the future.

Whatever kind of year you have had, I pray you have some time to do some honest reflection. Sometimes it can be painful, yet there are also golden threads of God’s grace and encouragement which are so heartening, and can make us weep at the mercy of God.

I think of verse 18 in 1 Thessalonians 5 where it says ‘ be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus’.

I struggle sometimes to be thankful, I have so many questions as to why things are the way they are- abuse, bullying, conflict, violence seem all too prevalent in the world.

I also remember the words of Job 19, especially as they are sung in the Messiah  ‘ I know that my Redeemer liveth”. I can hear these powerful words sung as a statement of faith, even when the world is falling apart. And somehow, I sing them too……

Gracious and Loving God, it can be hard to be honest, even with You, as we look at the year past, our fears, our struggles, our failures and our pain. We feel vulnerable and exposed. Yet Lord Jesus You look upon us with love, and you remind us that all has not been in vain. You lift us up from the pit, and You gently teach us more of Your ways. Through the cross, You have brought  us forgiveness, and your spirit strengthens our souls. You offer us a place of safety to find healing, and then give us courage to keep walking, believing that somehow next year could be better. Thankyou for every evidence of your love and blessing in this world. Holy Spirit help us notice them, and to take heart. 🙏

Finding new paths.

Sloy dam!

It is amazing how often at the beginning of a new year, we feel compelled to give up bad habits and to embrace new more healthy ones. This week, I was able to try a bit of hill walking, on a beautiful winter day. It was glorious!

However it didn’t start like this. It started with the thought, should I really be doing this. Finding the car park to start off with was hard enough, never mind the right path. The signs were far from clear, and it was only watching the wee group of people ahead, that gave me a clue which was the right gate to go through to start off. It was just a bit disorientating.

After I came back however, I had chatted to other people, consulted a map, and got my bearings much better. Now it has become familiar territory, and much easier to contemplate doing again.

It reminded me that doing things for the first time, is often pretty scary. However well prepared we are, we have to interpret new information, process our enviroment and find our direction. It takes energy and courage.

For people who are traumatised or grieving, there are many things that we need to learn to do, to be self aware and to have confidence to explore- whether it is making a choice, going out with friends or moving house. There are decisions that need to be made, and often we need to have courage to take that first step.

In psalm 119 it says: ‘ Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path’. Knowing God’s Word helps us to honour Him in our decision making, and gives us a moral compass. His Holy spirit guides us as to what might harm us or bless us, and this helps us make the best decisions, even when they are scary or new. We give thanks that we are never alone, and that God guides us and helps us venture out on new paths.

Eternal Father, we often are anxious about going in new directions, and a bit worried how things might turn out. In all our ways may we acknowledge You, and may you make our paths straight. Lord Jesus when we are hurting, we often lack confidence or motivation to try something different. It can seem so daunting. Please calm our fears, and may your holy spirit guide our feet and give us courage to explore, and to find new paths that lead to beautiful vistas, wonder and blessing, Amen.

Courage to cross thresholds.


We are heading towards the end of 2020, a threshold between the present and the future. In celtic spirituality, thresholds are often equated to thin places’ places where the divine is more readily experienced. It can be a spiritual place of suffering or loss, where the usual material certainties have lost their attractiveness, and we learn to rely on Christ, as our Strength in our weakness and confusion.

2020 has been a year of such darkness and suffering- so many dying from the virus, people with long term effects of covid 19, loved ones unable to see each other, even in end of life situations. So much weeping.

I think of all those I have lost this year, personally and in the church family, and it is so hard to take in. All the people that I don’t get to speak to again, at least in this life. I miss them.

Yet in 2020, I have also had cause to be grateful. I have listened to friends heroically looking after loved ones in impossible situations, people showing great kindness above and beyond the call of duty, prayer warriors, and encouragers and those who have sacrificially served others. It has been humbling.

I am also so deeply grateful to God, for enabling me to publish ‘ Love song for wounded warrior’ this year, a tribute to my late husband- his life as a veteran, and his struggles with his subsequent medical condition. This time last year, it seemed like an impossibility, I was editing and rewriting drafts, and questioning why I would even think about doing this.

But God opened the door, and held it open so I could walk though. I faced delays and setbacks and struggles, but I felt a sense of call to honour my husband’s memory, and God enabled me to do this, and I am still amazed that it actually happened. I am grateful that your donations too, have been a blessing to the Coming Home centre, and Epilepsy Connections. Thankyou.

I still don’t know where God is leading me. I have been so encouraged by people’s insights and prayers, and telling our story has been the right thing to do. It has also been costly. I feel called to continue to explore ways of finding healing for people who have experienced complex trauma, but I need courage and wisdom.

For just now, I am humbled that God has given me courage to write, to try to express what is going on my heart. All I can do, is to continue to share the themes that I struggle with, in the hope that it will help another human being, to be honest about the rubbish in our lives, to seek prayer and healing and support.

At this juncture between the old and new, I am grateful that God helped me find my voice. Thankyou too for reading this blog. I seek to be faithful to Christ, and to continue to seek supportive communities for people to find healing and hope. For we are never by ourselves, and God is always here. What an encouragement.

Let us pray, Lord Jesus, the pain, sorrow and brokenness of 2020 is almost too much to bear. Yet in the midst of the darkness and despair, You shine the light of your presence, a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path. Guide us all by Your Holy spirit, through the door of your choosing, and the new life beyond. Grant us hope for the new journey ahead, to put one foot in front of another, and help us to follow Your healing calling, wherever it may lead, Amen.