Greetings friends from a very wet and windy London! I really hope I can change that greeting soon, pretty please Spring?
I am squirrelled away in my little creative space today contemplating (amongst other things) the delicious lunch I just ate whereby I was introduced to pickled sushi ginger, a true revelation for the taste buds I tell you. I had that with a Japanese Omelette which combines soy sauce into the egg mix then cooked with some spring onion, chilli flakes, ginger and left over greens, yum!
I'm taking Jonathan to the movies in a couple of hours to see The Call of The Wild based (how loosely we will see) on the book by Jack London, please be good, please be good, please be good! Speaking of Jonathan, he will be turning 15 next week and I'm making him a card/picture based around the art of Tolkien. I've been pondering and asking the Lord to give me some inspiration. The theme I've had is that of 'self-mastery'. I believe boys needs to hear stories of noble quests and personal challenge where we see our leading character overcome adversity in some manner and so along that track I'm taken by the idea and imagery of 'The Rebel Hill'. I see my children (and myself) on the epic journey of life, walking through the pages of our own stories, facing difficulty and struggles that present themselves as this mountain/hill I need to master. I also picture myself with staff in hand, cape, and of course tousled hair blowing in an enchanted breeze :D
The rebel hills cannot be avoided, they must be navigated, conquered. In the story of Little Women the father writes home from the frontline and states optimistically of his daughters, 'you are conquering yourselves beautifully'. I would like to do that, conquer myself beautifully; little by little, each time I go around, growing in grace, humility, love, mercy. But oh how hard they seem when we first spy them looming large, threatening, intimidating and casting a shadow. I no longer want to face that hill head-on I want to toss my staff as I sprint towards the nearest cave. Ever felt this way? I am often tempted to take the path of least resistance.
We cannot make it in our own strength. We've all experienced this truth.
There will always be difficulty on the terrain of life and because of brokenness we will have to conquer on more than one occasion. As the apostle Paul said 'what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do'. Such words of desperation, can you relate? But we're not out of answers and hope, 'wretched man that I am, who will deliver me? Thanks be to God who delivers me'. (Romans 7)
Going back again to the father in Little Women, he writes,“My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning, and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom...
His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother.”
I believe our hearts want to conquer, they yearn and cry out to be free from burdens which ensnare us; long held habits, deeply rooted hurts, that 'sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us' (Hebrews 12). The rebel hill is our sinful tendencies, it will always need mastery, "sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” (Genesis 4). I tire and change but God's strength does not. Other's strength, advice, counsel can fail but if I look to Jesus I find in His example the seed and reward of my faith. The question is, do we trust Him?
The child within us can see the kingdom of God and desires to go in and possess, I can see who God wants me to become, I ache to be more transformed into Jesus' likeness. This is the quest set before us; to walk the path which leads to greater and increasing light, to face the mountains before and within, to walk by faith and say to the mountains 'Move from here to there!'. And so the act of love to keep surrendering my will to a greater more perfect one goes on, not my will but Yours be done, be glorified in my life, Father help me navigate the Rebel Hill.
Congratulations to Hannah Schaffer who won the book giveaway this week! Your little package of joy and loveliness will be winging its way across the pond shortly. I love giving good books and lovely things away to my readers so watch this space for future competitions.
MARRIAGE SURVEY UPDATE
I'm steadily working my way through the survey feedback and am really excited to share those findings with you in the coming months. My very clever hubby is putting together animated clips for me to accompany each week's topic so that will be a fun project. 70% of wives surveyed said that marriage was much harder/worse than they had expected. I find this stat leaves me with multiple feelings; encouragement that I'm not alone, shock that there are so many feeling the same way, convicted that women/mothers need to be modelling/mentoring more in this area and sadness that so many wives are currently struggling often alone. But let me not get ahead of myself, more to come!
Until next time friends, Happy Friday wherever this finds you - Jacqui x