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Do What You Can With That

- cheryl lawrie -

You see all and know all
or so they seem fond of saying

You call us beloved
which is all well and good from your side
but you can have no idea how hard it is to be loved.

We know the bit inside us
which is beyond loving;too awful to be named,
too hard to save,
even for you.

We confess that we do not believe you can change us.
We confess that we do not believe that we can start again.
We confess that we do not know how to have faith.

So do what you can with that.



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seedlings gardenReflecting today on the things we plant in the hopes of fruit to come.  We believe in planting so we do it but ultimately we have very little control over what grows and who it belongs to.  The pain is in our awareness of this and our discipline is planting anyway – even though we’re tired and someone else may receive the benefit of our careful tending, someone else may not like the plants we’ve chosen or where we positioned them and tear them out like weeds.  The thing that I value is only valued by others if they want it themselves.  What I grieve for, is not this house, much like another having four walls and a roof, but the harvest hoped for here that will not be realised by me.

There is a large harvest, but few workers to gather it in.  Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.


The thing…

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I will tell you something that has been a secret; that we are not all going to die, but we shall be changed.
1 Cor 15

I am hungry. I am full. I am empty. I am all these things in You.

These words from Corinthians bear hope for me. They give me a sense of space and flexibility where I have felt rigid and tight. This is the gift of Your grace and I am grateful for it.

We draw lines in the sand and then are constricted by the confines of the smallness of our own imaginations. This is why we require You and cannot trust to our own abilities.  Let me confess I am slow to seek You, You speak but I do not hear, I look but do not see what You would show because I imagine I know. Give me the grace to know all I do not know, humble me to be dependent on You always and in all things.

Is our destination to You outside of ourselves or inwards? Both at the same time? It was clever for cities of old to be built as a maze with the church at the centre.  You would always have a sense that you could not get lost because you’d have some understanding of where you stood in relation to God at all times.  Sometimes near.  Sometimes far.  Even a deadend is useful in that we have learned the way not to go.  Perhaps we find a place along the Way that is comfortable and we do not wish to go any further? Perhaps if we go too far we will not be able to find our way back? …but that is a fallacy – there is only ever forwards.  Our commitment to God needs to be this, that ‘I will keep on moving forwards’.  This page, limited to two dimensions, the image could seem to ascend or descend but it would be better to imagine some sort of Cubist mobile suspended in space and time in constant motion.


This is our God.

This is why I – and you – can be made new

in every moment, made anew, renewed

in every moment.




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This discipleship, or growing up, or whatever you want to call it is the process of discovering and defining our own ecocosm.  Each book of spirituality invites me to visit other peoples’ ecocosms and this is useful in as much as it assists with the awareness and structuring of my own.  This is where churches suit or not, where communities thrive or not… space needs to be allowed/created for the expression and fuelling of our individual ecocosms. In knowing others better I know myself and this is the strongest recommendation I can make for living in community.  In clarifying all the ways that I can understand 1-am-not-you, I can be affirmed in all the ways-I-can-be-my-best-self. We are each of us individually knitted in the womb, the hairs on our head counted, each of us made by God, each of us co-creators with God. Walk the path set before you to walk.  God is with you exactly where you are right now.  God has put people around you who need you, God has put people around you who can help you, inspire you, teach you… Ask always “What is the next step?” What is your leading edge? Our God moves and invites us to walk along the Way.  Pray “Here I am send me” and take a copy of Dr Seuss’s ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’ because it’s the closest thing to a handbook there is.  I’m a Type 2 in the Enneagram, I am INFJ in Myers-Briggs, my top 5 in Strengths Finder are: Belief, Restoration, Responsibility, Individualisation and Strategy, I am single in a world where marriage is the dominant culture, I am a woman in a male-dominated culture, I am mad in several specific but (hopefully) endearing ways and a product of my family of origin and the sum of all my life experiences to date.  I am my own ecocosm.  I need to own my own ecocosm.  No one else will tend it for me. I need to consciously tend my ecocosm – who can I meet up with? what can I read? where can I travel? how can I see anew, with new eyes, those familiar things that are so easy to take for granted or become complacent about the vital life breath of why-I-am? This might be right within the four walls of exactly, specifically, particularly where I am right now.  There is a story of an American Indian elder speaking with his grandson:

“…there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment. The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and bravery.”

The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

i tell you arise

And discuss…

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Don’t let yourself forget that God’s grace rewards not only those who never slip, but also those who bend and fall. So sing! The song of rejoicing softens hard hearts. It makes tears of godly sorrow flow from them. Singing summons the Holy Spirit. Happy praises offered in simplicity and love lead the faithful to complete harmony, without discord. Don’t stop singing.             Hildegard, Scivas [intro]

Hildegard’s profound self-doubting was, however, the very root of her vibrancy, because it was matched with an equally acute certainty in God the merciful and mysterious. The English Romantic poet John Keats called this tendency “Negative Capability”, when a person “is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”          [p.7]

Humans are heavenly and earthly. We’re heavenly beacuse our rbight souls think rationally, and we’re weak earth-based because we also know dark lusts.  The more a person notices and accepts the good in themselves, the more they love God.



I walked beside the sea today
the sea, the sea
Seeing out but looking in today
looking in, looking in
Doubt, fear, responsibility I exhaled today
I exhaled, I exhaled
I picked up a broken yet beautiful shell today
broken yet… broken yet…
and held it to my ear to listen today
to listen, to listen
and today, today I heard You

Talitha Fraser

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