Nestle or wrestle…

I became a mother in the 1980s when ‘skin to skin’ contact (where a newborn is immediately placed on their parent’s chest) wasn’t the norm.
Nowadays, it is widely recognised as a beneficial practice as it promotes a baby’s development and wellbeing.
Evidence backs up what’s right under our nose – that a deep bonding results when a baby has skin to skin contact by lying on its mother’s breast or father’s chest.

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As a believer, I find myself reflecting on my feelings about God.
In Christianity, God may be known as ‘Abba’, the Aramaic word for a father with whom there is a close relationship.
Truth is, I never had a close relationship with my father, but I see some wonderful fathers around.
The dad patiently teaching his son to ride a bike, demonstrating, encouraging, and steering him in the right direction.
The daddy attentively listening to his daughter upset by a nasty experience, and helping her find courage for tomorrow.
The dad inviting his offspring to share their worries, and helping them to work out what’s theirs to sort, and what isn’t their responsibility.

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Necessity meant that I had to be a very responsible child, and although this developed strengths, my default position can trip me up. I can find myself sorting out problems that aren’t mine to solve, or worrying about situations beyond my control.
However, if I pause in the midst of my striving and anxieties, I sense that God, Abba, is longing for me to experience an intimacy in my soul.
We are not designed to be fiercely independent. Instead, we are called to experience the liberation of interdependence and dependence. It’s about recognising where our responsibilities begin – and end. It’s about doing our best, and letting God do the rest.

Just as a baby is soothed by resting on the breast or chest, so God calls us to nestle, not wrestle.
If we can let ourselves be found by God and sense the warmth of true acceptance, if we can be still and become attuned to the Father’s heartbeat, then we will be touched by Abba love.

Truth is…  As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me (Psalm 131:2)

Pay attention!

This week I nearly killed a Red Kite.

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(Overseas readers – this is a large bird of prey and a protected species.)
But before you report me for coming close to breaking the law, I should add that this definitely wasn’t on my ‘to do’ list on Tuesday!
I was in fact, driving along a main road when a Red Kite swooped down immediately ahead of me.

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With nothing behind, my instant reaction was to brake hard, and the slowing of the car gave the Kite a split-second opportunity to change direction and soar up and over.
Fast response prevented a collision, but there were other factors too that contributed to relief all round.
I was driving in a speed restricted area so I was travelling at 40 rather than 60 mph; my deafness makes me visually highly aware; I have quick reactions.

All this got me thinking – how do I ‘travel though life’?
At a ‘speed appropriate to current conditions’, with ‘due care and attention’, and responding in a ‘timely manner’?
Truth is, not always.
Sometimes my ‘to do’ list drives me forward without stopping to check out priorities. I’ve therefore had some timely reminders this week:

Just as a speed limit increases the chance of drivers responding in time to pedestrians (and Red Kites!) so too are there benefits from slowing down as we travel through life.
It gives us the chance to notice what’s going on around us, and become aware of who we need to ‘look out for’ – in all senses.

Just as an accident was averted because I was travelling with my eyes on the road, so too is it good to keep focused on what really matters in life.
It can be easy to lose sight of our core values and true goals. Fear, anxiety, impatience, doubt, and superficial desires can blinker our vision. But if we pause, and like a hovering bird get an overview, we can realign and respond to the currents around us.

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So this week, I’m very relieved not to be a killer!
May I remember to pay attention…

Truth is… ‘Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts’ Proverbs 3:24