A friend asked me recently if I could send her a photo of a heart as she was doing a visual project regarding love.
Whilst I have many hearts around the house, I wanted something fresh and new. I couldn't think of anything so, somewhat hesitantly, ask God to give me an idea. Two days later I was walking along a local beach and picked this up.
Do Zoom in and see the secret heart. So much I could say about this. The heart is 'concealed' in marble within an ordinary-looking red stone. It is surrounded by glistening 'jewels'. It reminds me of how precious our hearts are - they are like treasure to God, and when Jesus takes up residence, he perfects us from the inside out. We are hid in Him, and He is within us. Inside the 'heart' itself, the marble has cracks running through it - reminding me that Christ was broken for us, the very heart of Jesus was pierced with a spear. I was so grateful to God for this gift.
A couple of weeks later, we were taking the garden rubbish to a local compost heap. It is on private land but the farmer allows us to put green rubbish there. In return we remove any litter. We dumped our grass cuttings and glanced around, picking up an old beer can and disposable coffee cup. Something midst the rubbish caught our eyes, something sparkling...
A beautiful shining heart in amongst all the rubbish.
Such a reminder that even with all the rubbish in our lives, even on days when we feel we have done nothing right, even when we feel rubbish about ourselves His Love is right there.
In times of pruning, when our branches are cut short and discarded, when we wonder if we will ever bear fruit again. When we are locked down and cannot do anything much except mow the lawn and throw away the clippings, there He is, amongst those shorn off clippings declaring:
"I love you, I love you, I love you - your worth is nothing to do with productive you are... I love YOU!!"
This is the world you hold in your hands.
Not one jot
of suffering goes unseen.
You wince as a sparrow falls to ground
so how could our suffering leave you unmoved?
This wonderful world
made for your children
Each ploughed field nurtures and blooms with life
sustained by mud, sun and rain
life-giving elements freely given.
Growth is in your being O God,
whose depths cannot be plummeted.
Yet even as you fling
the ever expanding universe into space
You regard, lovingly, the palms of your hands
engraved with our names.
Each of our faces before you.
Our souls are seen.
An empty cross our proof
of your infinite care.
Our bottled tears
until the day
when no tear more will fall.
For we will see you.
Face to face.
Earths cares forgotten
in the light of eternity.
This time we opted for a forest walk and asked God to walk with us.
Whilst we know he is always with us, there seems to be specific times when He says ‘walk with me’ and this was one of them. We chose to ‘look up’. The majestic pines towered above us, refusing all distractions and reaching straight up to the light.
We felt small amidst the huge trees, yet looked down to find heart-shaped blossom at our feet.
A reminder that His love is all around us, if we have eyes to see.
We saw more of this right at the end of our walk, again reminding us that He – the King whose name is Love – is our Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
How easily the word Forgiveness trips off my tongue. Yet as I consider the depth of the betrayal of Jesus and the agony of the cross, the grace of His quiet forgiveness strikes me anew. How quick I am to take offence if I feel slightly ignored or badly treated by people I don’t know, let alone by friends. Yet He foreknew what would happen, and did not forbid Judas to come to the last supper or turn away from the fake kiss.
Walking through the dark valley of the shadow does not sound so bad if You are with me But O I underestimated the thick, impenetrable blackness and swirling confusion of that valley. The gut-wrenching shock - how did I get here? No road back. I stumble though this strange land Every tragedy that ever assailed me seems to return And here I am stuck, red eyes awake Heart shaking Dreading the unknown path ahead...scared, if I am honest.
Fear not, child. I am with you. I will never NEVER leave you alone. I am not the author of confusion I am close beside in that valley I myself traversed.
I WILL restore your soul It may take time but let us journey. The wind of my spirit will lift the chaotic clouds of confusion And you will find that there are Green pastures, and still waters. Places of peace for you to find. I will renew your strength
A shepherd has eyes only for the sheep And I am a good shepherd I will not allow you to stay lost and confused My comfort and anointing are here for you. I will prepare such a feast for you The enemy who watches will flee in confusion As I reveal my favour, sacrifice and goodness.
I would like you to trust. But whether you do or whether you don’t Or perhaps just some of the time My love is unfailing. Ever-present I am with you.