Behind the scenes…

Recent events have reminded me that just because we can’t see something happening, doesn’t mean that it’s not happening!
People I know are in various stages of waiting – waiting to move house, waiting to hear the outcome of an interview, waiting for something to happen. Waiting can be hard.
It’s hard when there’s not much we can do, other than ‘sit back and wait’.
It’s hard when the only answer to ‘how long’, is ‘as long as a piece of string’.
It’s hard when we fear we may have been forgotten.
But a front door will open, a job will be found, and ‘it’ will happen – even if different to what was expected.

My wait for a Hearing Dog has recently come to an end. Marshall isn’t the Labrador I was hoping for, but as a spaniel he’s a much better fit in our small home and on my small lap!

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Being different to what was expected, he reminds me that I don’t always know best.
I’m also reminded that we often have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes.
Marshall is just over two years old, which means that for all this time his training as an Assistance Dog has been going on – even though I had no inkling!

As a believer, I see God as the producer, director and prompt of our story – but it’s not a play, it’s for real.
Sometimes we will be on cue, but other times the scripts we write for ourselves mean that we lose the plot. Maybe our self-doubts or our self-interests, our hurts or our arrogance, nudge us to be other than our true character.
The good news is that even this doesn’t mean that the curtain falls and it’s over.

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The story can be amended, but we need to respond to God’s prompts – which can be challenging and often include forgiveness. That’s why it’s good to regularly return to the original script and realign ourselves.

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To quote a prayer I return to regularly:

You God, promised us nothing by way of success, recognition, possessions or reward. ‘These things will come at the right time when you walk with me’, you said.
(Iona Community)

So much goes on behind the scenes…

Truth is… You will hear His voice behind you, saying ‘This is the way, walk in it’. (Isaiah 30: 21)

Blossom where you’re planted

This week I had nothing to do for 10 minutes! (I was waiting in a car while my son-in-law called into his local library.)
As I sat there wondering what this week’s blog would be about, I noticed some trees lining the pavement. At this time of year the colour of autumn foliage can be breath-taking, but it was their shape that caught my attention.

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Where the trees were well spaced, each filled its place with beautiful symmetry.
In contrast, the trees that had grown in close proximity to each other had irregular branches, but viewed together as a whole there was an amazing pattern.

It got me thinking – what shapes life? Competition or cooperation?
In my school biology lessons I was taught Darwin’s theories about the ‘struggle for existence’ and ‘survival of the fittest’.
40 years later, I now found myself interested in what shapes growth – not from a scientific perspective, but from an everyday viewpoint.
What determines growth patterns, and what if we apply that question to ourselves?
– Circumstances yes, but also the level of awareness we have in our relationships with others.

Just as trees thrive best in the environment to which they are naturally suited, so too, do we. We all have different abilities (as a believer I would say God-given gifts) and we are most fulfilled when we are able to let these take root and bear fruit.
I enjoy using my practical and creative skills, and I want to be remembered as:

“a maker and a mender”

But as well as personal growth, we need to be mindful of how we fit into the bigger picture.
Just as trees grow alongside each other, and from a wider perspective can be seen to fit together, we too can flourish in relationship with one other.
Our attitudes though, aren’t always conducive to this. Truth is, I have a competitive streak, but ‘doing one’s best’ is quite different to ‘being the best’.

So this week I’m reminded to ‘blossom where I’m planted’

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– to recognise my gifts and use them for the good of others and enjoy fitting into the bigger picture – like those trees with their amazing pattern.

Truth is… ‘Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits’ 1 Corinthians 12:7

Woe or Wow

There’s a roundabout in a nearby town that for a few months each year is breath taking – wild flower seeds have been scattered, and during the summer months it’s a mass of colour as different flowers bloom alongside each other.

I happened to drive round it earlier this week and my response was ‘wow’, but I also felt a tinge of sadness as autumn is setting in and blooms will soon be fading.

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Truth is, I’m not a winter person. I don’t look forward to the dark and the cold, but of course seasons are necessary for life to flourish.
I’ve just planted a mass of bulbs in the garden. You wouldn’t know it, as there’s nothing to show for my efforts, but I’m confident that next spring they will emerge from their deep dark setting. And that’s the point – it’s having hope in the waiting.

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This week a number of people have talked with me about the waiting time they are in:
Waiting to find work that matches their abilities and qualities; waiting for true friendships; waiting to feel more settled in a new role; waiting for an assurance to materialise; waiting for the baby to sleep through!
Many of these situations are waiting for sown seeds to take root and shoot.

As I think about these people, and my own ‘waits’, I am mindfully letting go of ‘woe’ and holding on to hope that there will be a ‘wow’ in due course:
No longer will that person be a square peg in a round hole; connections will be made; there will be a settling down; it will happen; and yes, broken nights will end!

So the roundabout flowers remind me that there are cycles in life. We have times when we visibly blossom and flourish, and other times when development is less obvious as it’s under the surface.

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And maybe these times aren’t all dark, for under the surface, seeds and bulbs are protected from harsh winds, driving rain and freezing cold. So much is happening even though on the surface it appears not, so I for one, am going to trust in what I cannot see!

Truth is… But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience’ Romans 8:25