Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace how sweet the sound

It saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now am found

Was blind but now I see.

I am so tired I can barely think or move, father

but so joyful I could overflow

There is so much that I can’t speak or say

More hope than I though I’d know

Heavenly Father,

You called my nephew, Hamish to be your child and you held his fathers heart closed.  Please open it.

You called my niece, Emily to be your child today and she sat and asked question after question.  And her father let her.  He waited with her while I played with her sister.  He let her commit her life to Christ.  And he let his remain open.  The Sunday School teacher’s husband is a friend of Lisa’s brother.  Paul has questions of his own that will go down better with a mate than me.

I can’t wait til Hamish finds out he has another Christian he’s allowed to talk to.

Lord, I’m not sure there are words adequate to thank you.  But thanks for Hamish’s witness to Emily.  I pray that she will tell him that.  Please prepare Joel and help him to respond reasonably to Paul’s interest and to Emily’s decision.

Amen

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You’ve Got Me Beat

Dear God,

Thanks for a week without a lot of incidents.  I’m still pretty exhausted and recovering from last week, I think.  I mean, there was Wednesday – but who could complain about Wednesday?  That kind of exhaustion is elating.  Imagine – Paul’s answer to Emily’s wanting to understand more about God was for all of them to go to Church and Sunday School.  I don’t know why I should be surprised that you can work without me, Father.  I guess I just start feeling like I have to take on everything myself.  And I’m so used to Joel.  That is the most taxing thing at the moment.  This whole situation with Joel and Hamish.  Father, only you can resolve this one.  Please do.  I worry so much about Hamish, Joel can be frightening when he never intends to be – when he’s frightened … which is what he is when it comes to you, Lord.  Please soften Joel’s heart Father.

Hamish was so stoic today when he came for his lessons.  Cracking jokes, showing off – full of beans.  Like he’d forced himself to swallow every one of them that he could bring himself to before he came – for my sake.  Lot’s of fun – don’t get me wrong – he had me in stitches to the point where I couldn’t remember what we were supposed to be doing.  But it was like he was trying to prove to me that he was alright.  And he’s not.  He gave me an extra long hug at the end when Karen came to get him.

Karen smiled an unspoken acknowledgement of my brother’s stubbornness at me.

I nodded and smiled an ‘I don’t know how you put up with it’ back to her.

To which she shrugged and half smiled an ‘I love the man …’

All without speaking while Hamish had his head tucked over my shoulder.

Emily on the other hand was pumped.  She was genuinely excited and full of questions about Church and Sunday school and what happened and people who would be there and – you name it … down to how many cubicles were in the toilets, what kinds of flowers and ‘did the minister wear a dress?’ because someone at school told her that ministers wore dresses …  She could barely focus on her drumming either and stopped to ask a new question every time she started anything.

What sheep station?

Maybe I was wrong after all.

Who needs to compete for sheep stations – or whatever it’s ten-year-old’s equivalent is when you have Church to look forward to or long for?  A desire to worship him unhindered.  A curiosity driven by the Spirit that seems insatiable that drives as many spiritual questions as a child’s enquiring mind drives ones that seem random … or “why?”…

I have to ask myself, ‘where did that go in me?’ at times; and ‘what did it become?’

Father help me take the time – no matter how long I live here on earth to know you to stop and be astounded by your wonderful glory, your authority, your creativity, your love, your holiness and your majesty.  And you grace Lord.  Always by your grace.

Father help me to prepare for Gina’s cello lesson on Monday too.  I’m kind of nervous about that.  Prepare her also.  It’s going to be weird to teach an adult after all this time.  Thanks for this chance to spend good time with her.

Amen

See today Hamish Johns’ Secret Diary for an update on his journey.

Lessons

Dear God,

I get so scared of things sometimes that I tie myself in knots.  But here’s the silly bit.  I forget to ask you to help untangle me and show me the way through the frightening times.  Thanks that you are an all seeing God who watches tirelessly and tends to me anyway.  Help me to learn to ask for help earlier.  Please. Please.

I think I’ve been having nightmares this week.  I am so excited for Hamish.  Yet to not be able to share this time of new faith with him more closely than planning how to rotate memory verses in my special spot that will suit him on Saturdays.  It’s hard not to feel bitter towards Joel for that.  Please don’t let Hamish be tempted to start lying so that he can do things like go to Sunday School or to the homes of Christians who Joel may not approve of or to hide his Bible.  Help him to trust you in everything and Lord, please take care of his needs.  Help Jonah to show him things with a wisdom that is yours rather than that of a ten-year-old and help his parents support him in ministering to the friend you have placed beside him.  Father, if it pleases you, may I please have a chance to meet Jonah and his family?

Lord, Hamish is still such a young Christian, but still, may his faith be reflected in his deeds.

I was at Paul’s place to visit him and the girls – and do an extra drum lesson with Emily yesterday.  She and Hamish have agreed that this week she will practice no more than she would in a normal school week since he stopped for her last week.  Both have decided that this is fair.

Emily wasn’t all that focused on her lesson – which didn’t really bother me as it was an extra and she was still pretty tired physically.  But partway through Emily stopped and asked me,

“Auntie Alciana, do you believe in God?”

I think there’s an elephant at the door about to find it’s way into the room …

“Yes, honey.  You know I believe in God.  You’ve heard me talk about him sometimes with your Mum.”

“Yeah.  She believed in God too, didn’t she?  But she used to say that you had to be pretty special for God and she wasn’t sure she was special enough – only she never knew I heard her tell you that.”

“I’m sad you heard her say that, because she was special enough alright!”

“Oh.  I know.  I remember last year when the two of you were so happy not long before she died.  She said that it was pretty awesome to think that Jesus thought she was special enough to pay for her like he did!

“You’ve got big ears, Miss Emily, don’t you?  She did say that, didn’t she?”

We both had tears in our eyes by now.  The conversation that she was referring to happened in hospital not long before Lisa had died.  After years of wishing that she could be a Christian and not believing it possible, she asked and was born again.

“I was mad at God before because she said that soon he was taking her to a new home to be with him not long after that.  I think I thought he was just taking her away because she was his now – but you are a Christian and you’re still here and now Hamish is talking about all of this stuff and I’m scared that he’s going to get taken away too or that God will decide he needs you there not here and …”

Emily finished up in my arms in tears.  I just held her and rocked her and – well you’ll remember the babble that probably would have made sense to no-one but you, Father.  Eventually I just said,

“Em, I think we should get your Dad and have a good talk about some of this, hey …?”

“Are you worried Dad will be like Uncle Joel and not let you see me if you talk about God with me?” She suddenly looks terrified.  She also doesn’t miss much that goes on around her.

“No.” she loses her look of fright, “but some of this he needs to know about, and I’m sure he’d be more comfortable knowing what you wanted to know about God too.”

“Okay”

So it was that we, hand-in-hand with blotchy red eyes and wobbly smiles we found Paul in his hammock reading a book.

What followed was an exhausting conversation where Emily – and Paul – asked a lot of questions with the end result that Paul suggested that if Emily already had questions about God, perhaps she should go to Sunday School where she could learn more and find out more about him.

I was stunned.  It must have shown because Paul looked almost hurt by my surprise.

“I am not Joel.  Lisa always believed in God and we talked a few times about getting the girls to Sunday School but never got ourselves organised enough to do it.”

“Really?” this from a very excited Emily. “I can go learn about God?  Mummy wanted me to learn about God?”

“Yep”

And the girl who was so melancholy runs off towards her drums with yells of delight punching the air.

“Wow! This is exciting. I can hardly wait.  I can be here at …”

“No – don’t worry.  I’ll take both of them.  It’s time I looked into the God my wife spent so much time thinking about.  If she was right – she was heading his way last time I saw her alive.”

“You’re ready for this, Paul?”

“Emily is.  She’ll come home talking about it anyway, ready or not.  If what you’re always saying about him being trustworthy is anywhere near right – then I’ve got to be ready whether I go or not.”

He earns a hug for that.

Lord help Paul.  Give him curiosity for the Word, not just a sense of duty to his wife.  Thanks that the girls have a chance to learn about you through Sunday School.

Father, please help me tomorrow also as Gina and I start out with her first Cello lesson on an odd night.  May I be a good teacher, a good friend and a good witness as well as good company for dinner afterwards.

Amen

 

See today an entry to Hamish Johns’ Secret Diary for an update on his journey.