Women Connect Posts

 Short weekly posts to inspire and encourage.

Best read with coffee in hand.

Read   why I started writing Women Connect or  just click on any title or image below to read posts. Most recent  posts show at the top of the page so scroll down if you would like to read from the first in a series.

If you would like to receive Women Connect posts straight to your inbox every second Wednesday morning just let me know at traceycross35@gmail.com  (Your email address will remain private at all times and will be used for the purposes of sending one Women Connect post only per fortnight).  

Known 26~4~2017

The Things That Grow  5~4~2017

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On Leaning Into the Curve 20~7~2016

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Between Us and the World 29~6~2016

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Even When  22~6~2016

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Want 15~6~2016

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A Prayer To Remember Gods Withness 8~6~16

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On Being Kind (To Ourselves) 1~6~2016

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Like Children 25~5~2016

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Whatever 18~5~2016

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Stay Awake To Love 11~5~2016

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On Making A Difference  4~5~2016

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For the Days When – – – – 27~4~2016

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On Middle Ground 30~3~16

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Brave 23~3~2016

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On Faith and Believing  16~3~2016

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On Good News 9~3~2016

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On Mornings and Fresh Mercy 2~3~2016
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On Listening 24 ~ 2 ~ 2016

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On Blooming  17~2~2016http://www.naptimediariesshop.com/collections/frontpage
Grace Laced 3~2 ~16

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Come As You Are (10~12~15)

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A Prepare to Prepare Us  (2~12~2015)

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Christ Our Peace (25~11~15)peace
One For The Weary (18~11~2015)

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For Such A Time As This (11~11~2015)
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Wisdom and Beauty (4~11~2015)

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Count It All Joy (28~10~15)

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Never Alone, Not Forgotten (21~10~15)

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A Simple Kind of Wonderful (14~10~15)

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Simple Hospitality and other Non Events (16~9~15)

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Chosen (9~9~15)

What Fear Doesn't Know www.waterintowineblog.com

Everything He Gives (2~9~15)

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God In The Small Places (26~8~15)

God in the Small Places www.waterintowineblog.com

Just Do Your Thing – Again (19~8~15)

Just Do Your Thing www.waterintowineblog.com

What Fear Doesn’t Know (12~8~15)

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 Try (5~8~15)

Ten Years Today (29~7~15)

Five Minute Friday ~ Ten

 Just A Minute (22~7~15)IMG_2417
The View Along the Way (15~7~15)

View Along The Way www.waterintowineblog.com

A Sheltering Tree (24~6~15) 
Chosen www.waterintowineblog.comWhat if – – –  God ?  (17~6~2015)

Goulburn, NSW www.panoramio.com

Seasons Greeting  (10~6~2015)

Just Do Your Thing www.waterintowineblog.com

The Sweet Life (3~6~2015)

Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”). Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. So Moses cried out to the LORD for help, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink. Exodus 15:22-25

The bitter made sweet? The rough made smooth? The dead brought to life?

Isn’t God in the business of it.

So can our place of lack really become our place of plenty? Can our dry and barren place become a place of fruitfulness? Can the place of our greatest disappointment be where we see hope rise again? – – –

If we give Him a chance.

If we don’t pack up and go home in a huff.

If we don’t get all bossy and snooty about exactly how everything is meant to play out.

If we don’t lose heart.

It’s been done before.

Here we have Moses in the line of fire again – – still steadying his nerves after a close call with the Egyptian Army, still catching his breath after a miraculous deliverance when the sea itself gave way to God’s people, their days of bondage and oppression behind them, the land of promise so close they should be able to smell it. God had worked more than a miracle right in their midst and three days in – – – they are out of water.

The shine all gone off the miracle now. Grumbling and murmuring and dirty looks. Did he take a wrong turn, did he get it wrong, is there any way back, is God unfaithful?, did God bring them all this way just to see them perish?

Moses – not sure of himself – – – but sure of God. Hadn’t God parted the sea. Hadn’t God delivered His people. Surely he would make a way for them.

Can’t God use anything?

Can’t God use anyone?

A simple man. A simple prayer. A stick of wood?

He’d used Moses – a miracle in himself – God had called him in the midst of his own bitter wilderness – the least likely of men in his own eyes who thought himself dried up and past his time – who had missed his chance at greatness. He’d spent his life hiding – shepherding sheep far from his own people, far from his royal upbringing, far from his calling – until God caught him up.

Not finished after all.

Honey from the rock, streams in the desert, water into wine.

The sweetness of a second chance – of being found and used by God – all the sweeter when your long in the tooth and think your all but done. All the sweeter because it’s only by God’s grace and nothing of yourself.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

Our confidence in ourselves so less important than our confidence in God. Our self opinion may wax and wane but God doesn’t set His clock by it.

All Moses had – faith in his God, a listening heart, simple obedience – the unlikeliest of men doing the unlikely thing God shows him to do.

God’s plan, God’s provision, water to drink. A way in the wilderness.

So in our bitter where comes our sweet? Where is our way in the wilderness?

Christ himself – our living water, our refreshment, our peace.

Embracing too a lump of wood – the Cross. God’s plan, God’s provision – to take the poison out, to make this life drinkable – so it doesn’t kill us.

Our second chance. Our never too late.

And there is sweetness in believing. Faith will always see more and go further. Faith looks and waits for God. Faith holds on. Faith sees what our human eyes don’t. Faith makes room. Faith takes comfort in God.

And there is sweetness in listening and doing and letting God – like Moses – doing whatever it is God shows us to do – forgive, love, stay, go, believe, stand up, wait, rest, trust – it’s not always easy but theres purpose in it, theres a knowing in it and that’s sweet to the taste. God always gives us something to throw in the water. Something to put our hand to. He doesn’t leave us hanging. He doesn’t leave us with nothing.

And this bit – there’s sweetness in the journeying with Him, in the conversation along the way, the aroma and comfort of His presence – the cloud by day, the fire by night – knowing He is with us, that we are not alone.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. Psalm 46:4

Love to you all today Tracey xx

Unafraid (27~5~2015)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

I don’t know about you but every now and then, when I least expect it I run smack bang into myself. And not the me I like.    It’s the lily livered me that tends to takes fright and go to ground at the drop of a hat. That hangs back and shy’s away. That goes in half way and then beats a hasty retreat back to where its safe. Not all the time, not in every situation but enough and I don’t like her much.

God likes her OK  though  – – – He’s sticking with her.

It’s why Jesus came  – to save us from the worst of ourselves – to undo our fear – give us a life with Him at its centre – to sustain us and compel us.

It’s confronting and uncomfortable though to be eye to eye with the worst of our stuff – to feel the heat of its breath and the sting of it’s words. To see up close how fear  has bossed me around at times and hemmed me in and caused me to live smaller than I would have liked.

And if I’m not careful I can think it defines me, that it counts out all the good. If I’m not careful I can think that it tells the whole story.

But it’s not the whole story. It’s not the main thing. The main thing “is God. The Creator of the universe. The Creator of you and me. He loves us. He wants us. He will stop at nothing to get us.” Susie Davis.

So He lets us get a good look at things sometimes – to see our worst up close – not all the time and not to undo us, not to condemn us – but so He can change us. So He can get His light in there.  Things look different in the light – our fears so often hollow and flimsy, with no real substance or power to hurt us.

Sometimes He lets us get a good look at things so we can see that He’s so much bigger than our fear, so we can see Him with us and surrounding us – so we learn to lean into Him and trust Him, His love – enormous and unfailing –   making us brave.

Sometimes He lets us get a good look at things so we can blow it out of the water – make a mess of IT instead of the other way around.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6 NLT

Over the years I’ve found out some good things.  God is unendingly faithful and His grace is amazing.  When I think I can’t – God says I can. When I want to pull back, He shows me how to move forward. And sometimes you just gotta hold onto Him tight and do it afraid.

The only guarantee – is God  – – – and God with us. Susie Davis

He comes into us, then comes out of us, in a million little ways. That’s why theres freedom even in the blah. Hope, even in the dark. Love, even in the fear. Trust, even as we face our critic. And believing in the midst of all that? It feels like strength and depth and wildflower spinning; it feels risky and brave and underdog winning. It feels like redemption. It feels like art”. Emily P Freeman – A Million Little Ways

Much love to you today Tracey xx

How to the Slay the Dragon (20~5~2015)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

I shouldn’t be surprised should I, when God works things out. But I often am. Surprised and in awe and grateful each time God lines things up that look like they aren’t ever going to line up. When He puts things back together that look like there broken for good. When He creates peace in situations which by all accounts should have us up all night and in a spin.

A family drama, a threatening letter, an immovable bank manager, a bullying voice, a Doctors opinion – name your poison – circumstances and situations – life’s full of them – that loom over us and threaten to be too much, that have the potential to get nasty and complicated and more so the more we examine it.

But God – He has a way of making the mountain into a molehill. Of turning things on their end and taking the stuffing right out of the situations that threaten to undo us. He has a way of calling things by a different name than what we do and calling things that are not as though they were. (Rom 4:17) And He has a way of pouring light into the dark corners of every situation where the worst of our fears seem real. He does away with the smoke and shadows designed to throw us off and make us small and send us to ground.

There have been times – many of them – when situations have towered over Ken and I, you too I’m sure – when we have been at a total loss as to what to do and fear would rise in me – are we about to be undone, will this be the death blow, will this take us under – – – but at the end of my fears – – – is God. And holding onto Him I have been amazed at how things turn and shift and give way to His plan and will, how an awkward and difficult situation will smooth itself out under His hand, and how the voice of doom and disaster will fall silent, turn heels and go back where it came from before ever doing it’s work.

How many times do we see it – faith will rise when we thought we had none, courage will take hold even while we’re still scared, a door will open, an opportunity will come up, the right person will cross our path, the right words will reach our ears, an idea will present itself, a heart will be softened, wisdom will come, the threat will turn hollow, peace instead of fear, calm instead of chaos.

Only God does that. A path to walk on, a secure place for our feet. A way when there seems no way.

The dragon slayed – only God.

The valleys will be filled, and the mountains and hills made level. The curves will be straightened, and the rough places made smooth. And then all people will see the salvation sent from God. Luke 3:5-6

That is the work of Christ. We can trust Him. Whichever way we turn – He is with us. Wherever we are, He wont leave us. Whatever the mountain today – He will make a way.

Love to you all today Tracey xx

 The Look of Love (13~5~2015)

You can read  last weeks Women Connect post  here

The Answer to Our Prayers (6~5~15)

Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3

Theres a  promise in this – the mysteries and wonders of God made known to us – not by some magical process, not by some process of divination but by us calling and asking.

Sounds like God know’s a few things we don’t.

– – –  what a relief.

Thank God we have more than this earthy human reasoning of ours to get us through. Thank God He knows more and better and higher and wider – that His plans go further and are sweeter and richer than what we could ever imagine for ourselves. Thank God that we are not left to ourselves – that we have by His  grace the riches and depth of  His wisdom and knowledge offered to us – that He is willing to let us in on it – to share  heavens richness with us here on earth.

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So very often we think we know the answers though don’t we – – – – and then get all put out and cranky when things don’t go the way we think they should. We like to think we can get it all worked out on our own. Thing is – our answer may not be THE answer. In fact I think I can almost guarantee it’s not.

Doesn’t He know  – the top and the bottom, the back and the front, the start and the finish. Doesn’t He knows us from every possible angle. And He  is asking us –  to ask Him. To call out to Him, to make our prayer known. Theres something in that – in giving words and a voice to whats in our hearts, in calling to God in our need, in laying our hearts bare and speaking our mind to Him.

And then there is this – letting Him answer.

Not our answer, His answer.

And there it is – the trust thing – trusting that He will always answer us and that His answer is the right answer. They may not look the way we think they should, they might turn up in a different place altogether to what we expected and they might be an entirely different shape and colour.

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Full of His wisdom, His knowledge, His “great and mighty” workings.

The wisdom and knowledge of God blowing our logic out of the water. Changing our direction, giving us rest when worrying is what we normally do, helping us to stand up when all we want to do is lay down, giving us an idea when we are clean out of ideas, opening a door – one we didn’t even know was there.

For us then- – lets lean into Him – into the rhythm of listening and looking and giving attention to what God is doing, to where He is answering, to what He is saying. Lets make room for God’s answer rather than a one track mindedness on our answer. And rest too. We can trust Him. His burden is easy, his yoke is light (Matthew 11:30)

It reminds me of this:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

and this:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

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It is ours to ask and God’s to answer. Lets in our asking open our eyes, our hearts and our arms to see and hear and embrace  – the richness and colour, the depth and the beauty of the things  “we do not know” .  Lv Tracey xx

29/4/2015

Hi Ladies I’ll confess straight up I’ve been a little distracted this week. I have the very lovely task of helping make a beautiful wedding happen this Saturday so final preparations have my thoughts completely elsewhere. Suffice to say I haven’t been able to write a single coherent sentence this week so I thought it better to share a link to someone who has. The Power of the “Small Ask” by Karina Allen      http://www.incourage.me/2015/04/the-power-of-the-small-ask.html  Have a great week. Lv Tracey

A Good Cry (22~4~15)

 How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues. Psalm 31:19 and 20

Us girls – well we all know the benefits of a good cry don’t we. Its usually not a delicate one tissue type of affair though is it, more a hand over the whole box type of event – but they can do the heart and soul such good. But where do we go then? Reading Psalms this week I think David knew something about it – he wasn’t one to bottle things up, seems he knew how to pour his heart out to God.

Psalm 31 like many of the Psalms is full of heart felt and heart sore honesty. Here David’s emotions are raw, his distress is acute, his fears are real and his anger is burning. Alone, isolated, weak and suffering in body and soul – at the end of his rope.

And there he remembers God. Hearts contents are poured out – no filter, no hiding – not from God anyway, no checking and measuring his words, David unburdens his heart – spills his troubles out to God and – – – remembers God’s goodness. He reminds himself of the hope he has in a good and powerful God who sees him and knows Him, who has protected and provided for him, who won’t let him go or see him destroyed by His enemies. He relies on it, His hope is in it, He draws confidence from it, He rests in it. He’s safe in it.

David knew dark in his life but He kept facing towards the light.

His was not an empty or despairing cry, not a bitter or hopeless rambling, but a good cry, an honest to God heart cry, an emotional release mixed in with prayer and hope and faith and thankfulness so that David is able to say in the middle of his trouble “ I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.” Is there any better place to lay our heart bare – to pour out the fullness of our hearts – the good, the bad and the down right ugly – but before God where its safe and where His light can reach us and change us. Any better place than the “shelter of his presence”.

Darkness doesn’t have anything on light, on hope, on faith. – – – the dark can never travel as fast as Light. The Light is always there first, waiting to shatter the dark. Ann Voskamp http://www.aholyexperience.com

Lv Tracey

Gone Camping (15~4~15)

Hi Ladies – this week I’m taking the kids camping for a few days so I won’t be sending out my usual Wednesday email. Instead I thought I would share the links to two great posts that I’ve enjoyed recently.

http://www.incourage.me/2015/04/wounded-healer-my-friend.html

http://chasingblueskies.net/plant-in-parking-lot/

God Bless Lv Tracey

A Living Hope – Celebrating Easter – (8~4~15)

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3

Hi ladies – hope you have all had a beautiful Easter weekend. Easter is one of my favourite times of the year – it just seems slower somehow and there’s a beautiful reverence about it as we think on all that Jesus has done for us. I like it’s hushed tones. It always gets colder and the weather itself seems to quiet us down especially this year with the rain that kept up Friday and Saturday.

And then – – – like a miracle the grey and rain gave way to a sparkling, glorious and resplendent Easter Sunday that shouted the resurrection of Christ, that called out for us to celebrate.

Weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning Psalm 30:5

And what a morning – the worlds reprieve, it’s only hope. We have not been left alone. We are not forsaken. Our Hope is living and breathing. Our Hope put on skin, embraced earth and then shed it – so that we could too – broke it’s death grip and it’s hold over us. Because God had mercy on us. No small thing there.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade 1 Peter 1:3-4

I’m so grateful to have Him. Though there’s weeping and sorrow in our lives at times it’s not a hopeless grief, it’s not an utter despair – we are never without Him, we are never on our own. A living Hope, a real chance, a powerful God. Our rejoicing isn’t empty either, our laughter not false, not an escape or a cover for our pain. It’s the gladness and security that comes from knowing Him, that with Him – we are OK.THE-LOVEOF-COOKIESBAKERY-652x489

Reason to celebrate, reason to be thankful, Christ our sure and only Hope.

Lv Tracey xx

A Beautiful Day (1~4~15)

It is good to give thanks to the Lord. And to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your loving kindness in the morning and your faithfulness every night Psalm 92:1-2

IMG_0381The First of April already ? –  how did that happen, where did the time go – didn’t we just put away the Christmas decorations. I so often lament how fast the days and weeks fly by – and they do – so quickly. My little people are getting bigger every second and me I’m getting older and I thought I’d be smarter and have it all together by now ?And rightly or wrongly the questions loom “am I doing enough with what He has given me,  am I making it count, am I serving Him well?

But the thing is – what I have done in the past – well it’s passed – it’s done and I can’t change any of it. Tomorrow – well I haven’t been handed that yet.

I have this though – I have TODAY – unfilled, unwritten, unsullied.

Today –  I can do something with.

Today thank God, we have breath in our bodies and sun on our backs and God with us – a great day already.  We could see it as just another day to be dismissed without even noticing all the life and loveliness it contains, because well – there’s plenty more where that came from, a day to be spurned because of the challenges it contains – – – or we could see it for the totally amazing gift that it is – a gift to be welcomed and enjoyed with thankfulness and attention. A gift from the hand of God.

So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

Today – the canvas is blank – the story’s not yet written. It’s full of opportunities – most of them those small and quietly spoken ones that will slip on by us if we are not taking notice – opportunities to love big and give much, to create, find joy, laugh loud and look up. Opportunities hidden within our troubles – because we know there’ll be some – there aren’t many days that are without hard things that we have to contend with. Things that keep us looking for and leaning into and holding onto God.

Today we have the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14) right with us.

Our days – we cant slow them down – we can’t go back and fix all the ones we think we messed up either and as yet we don’t have the privilege of tomorrow – what we have is TODAY – so lets give it our best shot whatever we do – lets be grateful for the extraordinary gift of it.

Let’s greet it gladly, entertain it graciously, use it wisely and let’s have a beautiful day. Lv Tracey xx

From Colossians

#4Whatever You Do (25~3~15)

Hi everyone – just a few simple thoughts today.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

The Message Bible puts it this way Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

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We can feel small in what we do. Insignificant sometimes – – – invisible even. Especially when we compare our doing with all the great things being done by great people. Especially when much of what takes up our time are the ordinary and everyday tasks of home and work, feeding and cleaning and washing and sweeping. Of putting to bed and waking up, of going to school and to work and coming home again. Yet we are made to want our work to be significant, we want it to count – we want it to mean something. 

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But how much of God’s work of people loving is done within the smallness of everyday rhythms and repetitions and responsibilities – – – almost all of it I’d say. The lions share. Making a home for our family, loving our children and teaching them love, serving diligently in our workplace, meeting the needs of the people who need us, doing our part and continuing to do it even when we don’t feel like it. IMG_1456

Jesus said “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40

What if Jesus was at my dinner table?  How special would it be, what a fuss I would make – to be able to serve Him and show what He means to me – like Mary and Martha did. But in this verse Jesus says that when I care for and feed my family and the people He has given me – the least of them –  that I’m doing just that. That in serving them, I’m serving Him. And when I see it that way well I might just do it with more care and grace and with more thankfulness. It doesn’t look so ordinary after all. And when I see what I do, the way Jesus sees it, I want to make room for more people around my table and in my home. People look different and what I do everyday looks different. Not so menial and mundane, not so small. A high calling after all.

“You can do no great things, only small things with great love.” ~ Mother Theresa

Our meaning and purpose – that comes from God alone, our smallness a gift like any other, to be a reflection of Him. May we not despise the small space we take up on earth because it is this very small place where Christ delights to make his home. ~ Emily P. Freeman Chatting at the Sky

Wishing you all a beautiful day – whatever you do. God Bless Tracey xx

#3 Small Wonders (18~3~15)

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12

IMG_0100Clothe ourselves? Not as we would a work uniform – not like something we have to do – but because it’s part of our “made in His image” nature and because we belong to Him.

Clothed in compassion, cloaked in mercy, attired in kindness.

 God reflected in our actions and in the love we show. Most often played out in small and simple ways but it’s these small and simple ways that will make the difference every time. To us and to others.

When your having “a day” or one of those weeks – – – when things start going pear shaped almost before they are begun. Or when you feel your holding on by the thinnest of threads and theres someone getting on your last nerve – – – – you know – those days.

A small kindness, a few words of encouragement, a real smile, a comfortable chair, a well placed cappuccino, a listening ear, a shared laugh, a deep breath, a helping hand – – – – a life line.

Small things that help us find our feet and catch our breath, that comfort and help us and remind us we are not on our own. That point us toward God. Like gold.

They’ll draw us back from the brink and down from the ledge, they’ll keep us holding on and moving forward and taking heart.

Small things that reflect the very heart of God.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 2 Corinthians 1:3

How much more to those who don’t know Him. How much more do they need to see God’s kindness in us. Not in heroic acts or elaborate displays – but in the everyday business of caring and noticing and being kind and doing what we can.

Simple gestures, small kindnesses, tender mercies – the ones that won’t go viral, that don’t make it to youtube – because they are not showy or flashy – too ordinary, too everyday, too mundane – those ones – that you do all the time and might think aren’t important – they soften hearts and build hope and let people know that they matter.

God’s magnificence right there within our mundane.

God’s extraordinary love flowing through our ordinary hands.

Lv Tracey xx

#2 Finding Home (11~3~15)

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:9-10 NLT

Complete in Christ – – – –

Not needing anything else to make us whole because Christ is all in all and pours that All into us.

Complete, whole, filled up and FOUND – – – as a result of saying “yes” to Him. That did it apparently –  that sealed the deal. Gave us Christ’s seal of approval. You and I sealed and marked and identified in Him. Made His own – His sons and daughters on whom “He can lavish the gifts and mysteries of His kingdom” – (Life in Grace). A fathers heart.

See He knows our names, the line of our face, the landscape of our hearts.

How different does our day look when we start from this place. How different do WE look when we catch our reflection and see what He sees.

Loved and accepted and whole – His prized possessions.

Too amazing for our human hearts to fathom? – when we think we have to do it all ourselves.

Martin Luther said this: “To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing”. (Source – Life in Grace)IMG_4140

What if we made it our home, this amazing place of grace – where there’s no mortgage to pay, where we don’t have to earn our keep or prove our worth. Since Christ has done away with us needing to make things right and pay our own way. Rather – He says come on in, this is yours, rest here, be restored. This is home.

In this home He has the final say.

His Word against every other – every critic, every sharp tongue, every word of derision and disapproval, every diagnosis and dire prediction, every label and loud speaker that would wear us down and try and rub us out. Christ – head over every ruler and authority. They may put up a fight but Christ has won that fight – our battles WON – our home secure.

God Bless and have a great day. Lv Tracey

Some music “None Like You”

#1 Brought Near, Made OK (4~3~15)

But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. Colossians 1:22-23

This is what Christ has done for us.

He’s reconciled us – brought us into agreement and harmony with Him, made our earthiness compatible with His holiness, made us His friends.

So He sees no blemish or flaw or mark or spot or blotch or impairment or disfigurement  – or anything else that we might think counts us out. Nothing that can spoil the appearance or quality of us in His eyes.

And He has no accusation or charge of wrongdoing against us. No blame. No finger pointed in our direction.

Thats what Christ has done. That’s the miracle of it all

He sees none of it but we see plenty. In ourselves and each other. We are hyper vigilant. Aware of every fault and flaw and folly in ourselves, worse yet, sometimes in each other. We find ourselves short by a mile and others by ten miles.

I think of the words I use too often with my kids “you should be – – – ” “you haven’t done – – – ” “you need to do – – – ” “why haven’t you – – – ” and I wonder what damage I am doing when Christ has only done me good and never lashed me with such a razorish tongue.  So I use the same sort of words on myself – – –  but these words don’t change me – they just make me want to give up and I think how opposite they are to the words Jesus used, to the kindness He showed, to the acceptance He poured out, to the redemption He gave himself to achieve. Jesus didn’t accuse even in the face of abject sin. He offered a way out. Himself. My kids need words heavy with kindness and encouragement so much more than they need the finger pointed at them – so do we.

Isn’t it His kindness that leads us to repent of our sin’s and truly change.

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you?  – – – –  Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? Romans 2:4 

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Whatever blemish you think separates you today from Him – remember this  – neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 Nothing you have done, nothing you think you have done.

Whatever accusation you have against yourself today – remember that He has no accusation against you – Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34

Aren’t we all a red hot mess – – – except that Christ has made us once and for all OK.

And Paul says this – continue in your faith, hold your ground and don’t be put off or be swayed away from what Christ say’s. Not by how you think or feel or by any one else, “do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”  Is there anywhere else to go?

Encircle us Christ, us in all our dizzying chaos. When I feel like I’m drowning – I’m  at last ready to drown in the ocean of God’s unearned grace  Ann Voskamp “A Holy Experience”

Love to you all today Tracey xx

P.S Just to put you in the picture a little.

 I wrote this post after a rough week with the kids. It’s always an adjustment when Ken goes back to work interstate. Ethan and Olivia love their Daddy and miss him when he’s away so emotions are always on a knife edge for the first few days after he goes. It takes very little to tip any one of us over the edge and it always helps when they tell me – “we like Daddy better”!!!IMG_0171

Writing this post just reminded me of how important my words are in their little lives – to their sense of safety and being loved and feeling like everything is OK no matter what.  Our little blackboard had been blank for a few weeks so I wrote this.IMG_1169

It’s not catchy or lyrical or profound – just a reminder to me, in the middle of my bustling around getting things organised for them so they get to school and get clean and get fed –  to go easy, to take a breath, to measure my words and speak kindly to these beautiful little people I have been blessed with. This is their childhood – they need a lot of things from me and one of them is their mummy’s kindness. The one thing they don’t need – their mummy’s crazy. So this week these simple words are helping me with that.

From Philippians

#6 The Have and Have Not’s

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

It’s just too easy to look at what others have isn’t it. Be it success or smarts or personality or property or career or finances. Too easy to look and compare and try and keep up and get ahead and strive to fit in. Way too easy to worry we haven’t enough. Our need to be OK and to matter can turn into an ugly and selfish pass time.

Looking at what others have too closely we miss seeing what others haven’t – their need, their hunger, their loss, their loneliness, their brokenness.

Looking at what we haven’t too closely we might forget what we have. We have “Christ in us the hope of Glory (Colossians 1:27). We have “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3)

What we have is there to give.

We aren’t called to a life of fret and worry. We aren’t called to compete or keep up or be important. Our is a high calling. It’s a calling to love and give and look after each other out of what God has given us. That’s the best version of us. That’s where we see God at work. That’s where our needs are met. That’s where our joy can be full. The riches of His glory best seen when we are loving the people He gives us, the people He brings along our path – each other.

Theres this: Bare one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Galations 6:2)

And this “There’s always some one right in front of me who has needs that I am perfectly suited to meet, regardless of my education level, my current job, or my socioeconomic status in life”. Edie Wadsworth www.lifeingraceblog.com

And this “Everything is God’s to give and to take away, so share what you have been given, and that includes yourself” Mother Theresa A Simple Path

You might also enjoy this beautifully inspiring post by Jennifer Dukes Lee The Only Way Out

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 .God Bless Lv Tracey xx

#5 In All Things

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 12-13

My heart shaped mess

I’ll confess straight up contentment is one thing Ive struggled with over the years. Being content and at peace and satisfied whatever the circumstance ? It’s not our natural tendency is it? Not when what IS doesn’t line up with what we think it should be or what we expect it to be. I hate to say it but in my time I’ve done my fair share (and then some) of whinging and complaining and grumbling to God and anyone else who’d listen. Trust me it’s a good way to make yourself completely miserable. It’s a good way to miss the hand of God at work in your life and it’s not somewhere you want to stay long but – – – God meets you even when your cranky at Him.

It was during one of my “dummy spits” that thankfully I had the presence of mind to open the bible and see what God might say to me. He showed me this: He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show Him the salvation of God. Psalm 50:23 . That shut me up for a bit. I didn’t want to miss His plan and I didn’t want to stay miserable. Thankfulness puts our focus back onto a beautiful big loving God who holds everything – the start, the finish and the in between in his hands, a God who knows all things and sees all things, who has a plan and has a purpose, who is weaving a seam of gold in the middle of the rock. Thankfulness for all He was and all He had done for me helped me to be content and at peace with where I was at that time. Discontent can send us in search of Him.

He loves us too much to allow a life without heartache, the kind that leans hard toward forgetting who He is. Shannan Martin (in)courage

Looking at Paul’s words again this week – it’s this verse that stands out as the clincher – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Paul says he learned to be content in the face of hardship. He kept his focus totally on Christ. We all know real contentment doesn’t come from how things are – as if anything will ever be perfect or just as we want it – it comes from who Jesus is. Contentment flows on from our confidence that He is our provider, our protecter, our healer, our comforter and our strength. It comes from our hope in Him. With Jesus in our sights we can see plenty when there is lack, find joy when the going is hard, find rest when a battle rages, we can leave questions unanswered and loose ends untied and be thankful right where we are. We can believe today that He is greater than anything we face and bigger than any situation that just doesn’t add up or make sense. He goes way ahead of us yet walks along side us – in all things we are never aloneHis eye is on the sparrow – – – – so I know He watches me (Matthew 6:25-26 Paraphrased).  Tracey xx

#4 Dwell

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

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This is one of my favorite scriptures – has been for years. Its saved me a thousand times over – – –

Saved me from countless time spent feeling sorry for myself and examining the short straw I think I’ve drawn.

Saved me from endless wondering why and what for and how come and if only – hours of looking back and not moving forward.

Saved me from my own negative self talk and disbelief and despair and – – – a mountain of other things

Saved me from myself.

We are so easily given to our own thinking about things aren’t we. We all have our moments when our emotions and thoughts get the better of us but we don’t want to make our home there – we don’t want to get that track so well worn it’s hard to see any other way to go.

So “ – – – Let God be true, and every human being a liar. – – “ Romans 3:4 a

See our wayward thoughts tell giant tales of woe, they exaggerate and embellish and down right lie. They draw us in and they never let the truth get in the way of a good story. They are cruel and tortuous, they don’t relent or cut you a break and the odds always end up stacked against you and – – – we can’t see God from there.

But verses like these are gold, they remind us of the better way. Paul redirects us away from our own dubious and flailing thinking and onto all that Jesus is. Simple in what is required of us – think, consider, dwell on and ponder these things – – – it’s choosing His truth instead of our own truth, leaning into it, dwelling on One thing instead of all our things.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV

In the minutes and the moments we have at hand today let’s think ourselves into life – not out of it. Those minutes turn into our hours, our days, our weeks and our year. In those minutes He changes us and we get to share in His life and the life He meant us to enjoy.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” Psalm 91:1-2

Have a great day everyone

Lv Tracey

#3 One Thing

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 12-14

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Us ladies are well known for our ability to multi task. We can conduct a conversation with four major trains of thought going on and still know exactly what each other is on about. We can sort the dinner, answer the phone, get ready for work, hang out the washing, send a txt, write a grocery list and clean the floor – – – all before we have breakfast sometimes. In getting things done we leave the fellas for dead! We are total super women until – – – – we start to groan and crack under the pressure of trying to do everything – all the time – and perfectly. So how about one thing we can do to help our ourselves out of our striving and our trying to do it all.

Paul talks here about “one thing” that he does – he puts what is done and dusted and finished behind him and looks up and ahead to what Christ has called him to do, “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” – he calls it a “prize” – worth more than gold. It is Christ himself.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, He calls us away from our million things to do and from our tendency to measure our worth by super human performances. He calls us away from our our flawed reasoning and our strivey hearts and away from our regrets and self recriminations and calls us into His peace. And this too He reminds us that He is everything  – – – so we don’t have to be.

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I thought that growing up means holding it all together, but I’m seeing now that it’s really only a great ability to let go. Amber Haines – in(courage)

Look at Mary who sat herself at Jesus feet so not to miss a thing. Jesus says to Martha all hurried and flustered “Martha, Martha” – – – you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” Luke 10: 41 & 42

There will always be things to do – some important, some we just think are important, some that just need to get done and will need to get done tomorrow. They’ll get their turn but if we stop and lift our eyes to take in the height and depth of Jesus, all of it pales – it shrinks to its proper size, we can see it for what it is. We don’t have to be super woman after all, our work is not the measure of us, He is.

Forget the million things for a moment – do one thing  – look on Him. Tracey xx

#2 Holding Fast

Holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. Philippians 2:16

I thought I would do something simple yesterday morning – I got a can of white paint, a good brush and an old towel and I was going to paint the skirting’s in my lounge room – the kids were asleep so I didn’t have any “helpers” so I was thinking “quick, simple, easy”. Famous last words. I like painting and I’d like to think Ive learnt something from my painter/decorator husband over the years and that I’m quite good at it. Not yesterday I wasn’t. I don’t know why really, rusty maybe – I had dripping paint that seemed to end up everywhere but on the skirting. I kept hitting the wall, the floor, myself.  The damp cloth that I kept close by to wipe up the “odd drip” got well used but just seemed to spread the white paint further. And the dirt and dust I found when I pushed the lounge away from the wall – horrors – so I ended up vacuuming and washing the floor and some of the walls as well. My easy little job got big and ugly and messy very quickly and well I like simple, clean and in order but when does life ever go like that.  So not even half way through I’m wondering why – why did I think this was a good idea, why did I think this would be simple and easy. I hate getting in a mess, it takes work to get out of it – – –  but – – – – I like the pretty at the end of it, that bit’s good and at the end of it I had skirting’s that were all painted and shiny. Skirting’s which had for a very long time sat unpainted. My house was cleaner too. Worth it. Every bit.IMG_0400

One of my favorite sayings is “you have to make a mess to really clean up”. Staying clean with all the corners tucked in isn’t the ultimate goal – messiness, complications, spilt paint are all the things that happen in the process of getting to where you want to go – that’s the goal.

Paul knew all about it. He encouraged the Philippian church to keep “holding fast the word of life”.  Hold fast, keep firm, stay focused on Christ, the ultimate goal, follow Him – the only one who has the power to change us so that we can do this life. He’s the important bit not all the messy, ugly, complicated along the way. He says this too – – – it’s much better if you have someone with you for the journey.

Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:2-4

Walk humbly, love selflessly. Paul points to Jesus, He went first, He humbled himself, became a servant, served us, even though He was God, in order to save us. So he says do the same, look after each other, stay together, don’t be turning on each other but be on each others side and have each others back – – – walk each other home. We are Jesus to each other through our messes and complications and our spanners in the works – we need each other to get through this life intact.

“The soul was not made for an easy life. The soul was made for an easy yoke.”  John Ortberg, Soul Keeping (Source: Chatting at the Sky) We can do that can’t we? We can walk each other through this year, keep an eye on each other, have each others back, point each other towards Him, share our hearts, talk each other up. I know we can do that. With His help let’s be that easy yoke to each other.  God Bless  Tracey xx

#1 Faith is – – – 

 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

Faith is a risky business. It can take us places we never expected to be and  by a completely different way than we thought. We might think we know the direction we are headed, certain of the answer, certain of the way we will go  and then – there we are – facing the opposite way, traveling a road we never imagined we would be on. And we might think we are not gonna make it – that the road looks too steep and we will surely lose our footing and fall but we keep putting one foot in front of the other because its what we know to do.

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We stay on the journey because we believe in His goodness and His love and have chosen faith rather than giving up and we have chosen faith over despair and we have chosen His way because – – – He knows the beginning and the end.  Our pride may take a beating – some might say we’re fools for believing because the path we are on doesn’t look like anything they know and isn’t it better to stick to the well worn way that everyone travels on, its wide, with no surprises, no pitfalls   – – – yet we have chosen faith.

And when we find ourselves not in the place we thought we would be or its not the answer we thought would come – have we failed? did we get it wrong? did our faith not work?  Paul’s  journey of faith took him to jail where he began writing his letter to the Philippian church. I doubt that was where he saw himself  when he began to follow and preach the message of Jesus. Although locked up in what would have been hellish conditions – facing cold, damp and even starvation –  it doesn’t end him, we don’t see him questioning his faith or where he went wrong or wondering was he being punished – instead he says this And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. Philippians 1:12 Wow !! Paul’s relationship with Jesus and His calling to preach the gospel was a certainty – a done deal – the rest was circumstance – horrible, harsh, difficult circumstance – – –  but a measure of His faith – no.

IMG_0447 Our faith isn’t defined or weighed by the circumstance or the place we find ourselves – our  faith is the line in the sand that separates us from the circumstance, its what takes us through it rather than being consumed by it, it’s our heart journey with God. With faith we start to see what’s unseen, we start to see the purpose and the reason and we start to see that the view from where we are, although different to what we expected might just be a really a good one. And the best bit – He is there with us.  “Cease striving and know that I am God; – – – – The LORD of hosts is with us – – – “  Psalm 46:10-11

If you have believed Him and followed Him, hung on to him for dear life, inclined your heart to Him and not given  up  – – – regardless of where you find yourself – your faith is all good –  valuable in it’s own right – as precious as gold.  Lv Tracey xx

Celebrating The New Year

#2 Start with Love

 “I bless the holy name of God with all my heart. Yes, I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things He does for me. He forgives all my sins. He heals me. He ransoms me from hell. He surrounds me with loving-kindness and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things! My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”  Psalm 103: 1-5 The Living Bible

As I continue my slow stroll into the new year I keep thinking on this  scripture – it like a prayer, a hearts desire, a path to walk on and fresh hope all rolled into one.

Its the mention of His loving kindness and tender mercies that’s got me this time  – – – see I know what I’m like.  I know how often I get it wrong and how little grace flows out of my life some days. I know how often I can look at what’s wrong instead of what’s right, at what I haven’t instead of what I have – – – – so  I’m thankful to have a God “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.” (103:8), so grateful that He forgives all my sin and saves me from myself, grateful that I have a God who is kind and compassionate because “He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (103:14).

And His mercies – things we really don’t deserve – ever – because we are human and wayward, messy and unholy – but He gives them any way – the one great and for all time mercy of salvation – then there are the thousand mercies He shows to us everyday, daily reprieves that ease our way, that cushion our blows, that smooth our path and protect us from all manner of harm, His answering that silent prayer that no one else knows about – theres no formula for that, not chance or coincidence  – that is God loving us and walking with us.

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  So lets not forget “all His benefits” lets bless His name, lift our eyes and let thankfulness be our first language. And this – thankfulness does something to us – it opens our eyes, it helps us see God and appreciate the depth of all that He has done for us. It renews our strength and gives us back our life. He fills my life with good things! My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (103:5) See everyday I can remember my mess and my mistakes and make much of my insecurities and regrets and let them wear me down and take my energy and my love of life away – a self inflicted torture, a hell in itself  OR – – – I can bless His name and remember all that He has done for me and make much of His goodness and kindness in my life because there is much  – I can ask His forgiveness for the things I still get wrong and I can walk in His loving kindness and enjoy His grace filled mercies. That’s God loving us – – – that’s a place we can rest and be refreshed, where His life can seep into us – where our step can get its spring back. Its a place of being loved and thats a place I want to be in 2015. God Bless and have a great day. Tracey xx

#1 Unending Love, Amazing Grace

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22 & 23

Hi ladies – welcome and – – – happy new year !!

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Perhaps your starting 2015 a little like I am – still catching your breath from 2014 – looking for the pause button so you can collect your thoughts and have a little breather in between years ending and years beginning or  – maybe your off at a frolic with a spring in your step and a determined glint in your eye ready to embrace all that the year may bring  –  perhaps your starting out somewhere in between.

Whether your start is a stroll or a gallop, contemplative or go getting lets remember – years come to an end, seasons and circumstances too – bad and good – they shift and change and rise and fall but – – –  His love NEVER ENDS and His mercies don’t expire, His faithfulness doesn’t run out at years demise, and while we don’t know all that the new year will contain we can know this – 2015 is brimming full of His loving kindness, His immeasurable patience and His eternal goodness.IMG_0214

And beginnings – the new year begins without even asking our permission doesn’t it, ready or not its upon us and asking things of us and we might be overcome except that  – – –  His mercies are new too – EVERY MORNING not just the first of the year but every morning and His faithfulness endures beyond what time and days can measure. “I bless the holy name of God with all my heart. Yes, I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things He does for me. He forgives all my sins. He heals me. He ransoms me from hell. He surrounds me with loving-kindness and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things! My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” Psalm 103:1-5 TLB Enough to last us a life time of years. Lv Tracey xx

Seasonal

Signs of Life  

Our Light Has Come

Unwrapping the Light

These inspired by the Gospel of John.

Where He Leads 20~8~2014

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An Ordinary Miracle ? 

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