Saturday, 13 December 2014


Christmas – a time so full of memories. It can be a wonderful time, but for some it is a very lonely and therefore a painful time.


When I first took ‘the wings of the morning’ and found myself, a ‘Singleton’, in the Highlands of New Guinea, it could have been tough, but we have a wonderful God who wants to teach us contentment.


Since Mary and I had left the religious movement in which we had been brought up, Christmas had become a difficult time, but there had been healing over the years, and I was looking forward to the gift of us four siblings being together with our Mother before I left this land, maybe for good. Alas, it did not work out.


Now, living in the wonderful mountains of New Guinea, and hearing the ‘bello’ calling us to church, I realised just how good God had been in permitting that sad, tearful Christmas day back in the ‘old country.’ God now was teaching me that Christmas is not dependant on family gatherings. It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. 


These people, called out of a stone age civilisation, and needing and loving the same Saviour as we do, were now my family. The other single missionaries, mostly from down under, in a special way, were family too and after  joyful service in the church we celebrated together. Godliness with contentment was God’s special gift to me that Christmas.


‘No, I don’t mind being alone for Christmas,’ I told my colleagues in Ghana, some years later, who were planned elsewhere. But then an invitation to visit colleagues up north  seemed a tempting offer.  I set out for the bus station, but failed to get suitable transport.  Waiting long hours in the bustle and confusion, with soldiers shouting and threatening, I was given a little insight into what it was like for Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. I returned to my village disappointed, but God had a special, if different Christmas for me.


I was able to accompany our local Ghanaian pastor and his wife as they set out to visit some of their far flung churches.


No it was not a Christmas of indulgence and feasting. The roads were long and dusty, and when we arrived unannounced, the service might be over, but the people soon gathered again and what a time of joy and celebration. Our Saviour, born in poverty and laid in a manger, was present among us, our risen Lord.


But what about a Christmas dinner? I was starving.


We stopped at a wayside stall and the pastor bought us a coconut each. I had never had such a delicious drink. It satisfied my hunger and thirst. Jesus’ birthday had been different, but special that year too.


My own family are too frail to gather with me now, as they have done of recent years, but Joel left me the heritage of a loving family and I am loved and welcome in their hearts and home. And I have a very special Christmas blessing of being able to go  into the schools to tell the children about Jesus’ birthday. Today I have been telling how some mother in Bethlehem, hearing of the baby in the manger, sent the children to say they would make room for the Holy family in their home. (We know someone did, for by the time the wise men arrived they entered into a house.)

And we too can make room for Jesus in our hearts and homes.


So, whatever our circumstances, I pray we will all make room for Jesus in our situations, and that we will be surprised by the joy of his love and provision, and yes, his very presence.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


A hundred years since the declaration of that great war, intended to end all wars!

We do well to remember. How can we help but be touched as we hear of so many fathers, sons and sweet hearts becoming ‘cannon fodder’? So many who set out in high hope, thinking they were about to engage in some great adventure.

But sadly it was not the end, for warfare still continues in various parts of the globe. And as I listened to the moving tributes and remembrances I thought of others who had fallen, stirred to set out on high adventure, knowing they too were involved in warfare, not for Queen and Country, but as part of the Lord’s army, engaged in driving back darkness and fear and making known the name of Jesus, the light of the world.
We lost gifted young men in the pioneering days of our missionary enterprise in Papua New Guinea, mothers and babies dying too because families were willing to live in these remote places. We still hear of tragedy among the skilled and daring pilots who fly in these and other dangerous places.

In this season of remembrance, God is reminding me that we all are in his army,  engaged in warfare against the powers of evil. I trust I am still a missionary, though I no longer travel overseas, climb mountains or learn foreign languages.

We must be on our guard, whatever our age or circumstances. There is armour we must wear, and a sword we must learn to use against the enemy.

How moving to see the poppies filling the moat of the Tower of London, and the petals falling, each representative of a life so sadly lost, that we might live in freedom.

We do well to remember, but there is another occasion for remembrance, when we eat bread and drink wine together. Jesus asked us to do this in remembrance of the life he was about to pour out. It is sad if the Communion service becomes a formality as we partake week by week, but equally sad if it allowed to be pushed aside as an afterthought.

Jesus asked us to break the bread and drink the wine that we might never ever forget how great the price he paid for our deliverance from evil, and how wonderful  the victory he won over sin and death and the grave.

Some may find a life of adventure easier to face than a quieter life style, but a desk job might be equally important in winning a war. Let’s not think our lives unimportant if we are not called to do exploits. What is important is winning the war, so whether it is a martyr’s death or the long steady tramp to glory, we must fix our eyes on Jesus, and keep our spiritual armour on for, yes, the battle is the Lord’s and if we are his, we are in his triumphal procession, part of his army.   

Friday, 31 October 2014

Great? Britain

It was the recent debate over the Scottish issue that got me thinking about my identity.
As a child I knew I was part of the great British Empire. Empire Day was a great event in school, but gradually the red has disappeared from much of our globe, and we are grateful that our Queen still heads up a commonwealth. So, are we still Great Britain?

Evidently it wasn’t our empire that gave us the name ‘great,’ but it was to distinguish Britain from Brittany. Well yes, we are greater than this even smaller land.

It was when I was living ‘Down Under,’ that I became aware I had come from UK, the United Kingdom, though I was teased as being a Pommy, (a Prisoner of Old Mother England). But it was returning, after five years in New Guinea, and taking my report around the churches,  that I realised that everyone would not be happy to be referred to as English, even if it was our common language.

Since marrying Joel, I am proud to proclaim myself Welsh by marriage, but I  have found I belong to a people fiercely determined to preserve their own language, many of whom seem still resentful of the domination and oppression of the English,  perhaps not only in centuries past.

Our Queen may not be the only one relieved to know we can still claim to be a United Kingdom, though this may not be an end to the controversy.

English by birth, I know  great good came to our land when we shared King James with the Scots. Foremost had to be an end to the skirmishes and fighting over our borders, but what a blessing was the King James Bible. I, for one, still use it to memorise God’s word.

But is it just selfishness, and because of my English background that I have a fear of our unity being destroyed and each of us going our own way? It seems inherent in us all, since the fall, that we want our own way and have this fear of being in subjection to another. Today not many women are willing to promise to obey. And I know a toddler whose first sentence was, ‘Me do it,’ refusing help in putting on her shoes, though she could not manage it, however long she struggled. Another child, born without thumbs, would refuse help when she undoubtedly needed it, insisting she could do it, though her jumbled words came out as, ‘I do it my byself.’

Many of those countries once counted as colonies would never relinquish their independence, though in their hearts knowing there were far less tribal disputes, and a more secure economy when  others had authority.
  There is a Ghanaian folk tale which seems relevant when there is conflict over this question of unity. 
A Father, anxious that his son should not leave the family farm, challenged him to gather a bundle of sticks. Each stick was easily snapped. Now he asked his son to tie them into a bundle. The son found them impossible to break.

I believe there is strength in our remaining as a United Kingdom. But why am I writing about this? I am somewhat ignorant where politics are concerned, and probably there are many sides to this issue, but I find myself challenged by Jesus’ words, ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God.’

Christ is our king, and though some of us are called to get involved with politics and issues of present society, above all, we must seek his kingdom and proclaim one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

But we see many divisions, splits and splinter groups, even within the Body of the Christian church. With Paul we say, ‘Is Christ divided?’ Many of us have sought to break away and build our own church, so how can we help to bring us together again?

Paul’s words to the Ephesians are ringing in my ears, to ‘keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.’ (Eph. 4:3) I’m glad God doesn’t ask us to make this unity, just to keep it.

We are commanded to pray for kings, so may I be obedient, praying especially for our Queen, and those in authority in our United Kingdom.  May I join with my faithful blog-readers with all my heart to seek first the Kingdom of God, and do my  part to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


If you visit me you may find a jigsaw on the go, taking up half of my living room table.

I had thought I was no good at jigsaws, until I married Joel and we enjoyed doing them together. He always took the hardest corner. But since his death I have found jigsaws therapeutic.

Therapeutic, you may ask? Yes, firstly they remind me that there is a big picture. Though our box may seem full of a jumble of colours and shapes, we know that eventually we will see them fit together to make a
beautiful picture.

And life can seem like that. Just a jumble of circumstances, and many that we would reject and feel should have no place in our lives. But we know life is not the result of some chance cosmic explosion. Sometimes we are able to look back and see that God had been there, planning our pathway. But even if we cannot understand, we can trust God and know that  one day we will see and thank him for the way he has led us.

Do you start your jigsaws with the edge? I try to, but sometimes I cannot get it right and have to give up and make a start wherever I can, perhaps gathering pieces of a certain colour. Maybe it is a door, or a flowering bush. We must start somewhere, and I find that as that part of the picture emerges, somehow it leads on to something else close by. So in life, there is always somewhere we can make a start, however small, and one step will lead on to another.

I was lent an amazing jigsaw, full of Christian symbols. The  outline was of a dove of peace, an olive branch in his beak. You can imagine the edge was perhaps the last part I could find, but it was worth the wait.

We like to have our borders all safely delined, but the further we go on our Christian journey, the harder become the lessons of faith. God is teaching me to  have confidence in the Master Artist, knowing he has already planned the big picture, though we cannot yet see it.

And now I have a confession to make. I have a mug which holds some spare pieces of jigsaw. Sadly that means that somewhere an incomplete jigsaw was put away, or maybe thrown out. It is spoiled unless every piece is put in place.

And so God gently reminds us that though we may feel we don’t contribute much to other lives, yet we all need each other. Black pieces may not look at all interesting, and can be very difficult to fit in, but they are necessary in the artist’s painting, and so each one of us is vital in God’s picture.

I may leave the boring looking pieces to the end, but how happy I am when at last each one is fitted in, and yes, now the edge that had seemed so impossible is  in place, framing a beautiful picture.

And may I share a word of caution. Like so many other good things in our lives, it is possible to become addicted. I try to allow myself no more than an hour a day. That way my pleasure lasts, and I don’t have a stiff neck either.

As it says in the Good Book, ‘You need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the completion.’ (The Message – Heb. 10:36) So - Don’t let’s give up. There is a big picture, and we are all part of it.    

Thursday, 21 August 2014


This is not another story from far away and long ago, though, yes, it was on top of a mountain in Papua New Guinea that God first gave me this word. But God continues to remind me of it, and of his call in my life.

Recently, some of us attended a ‘Sticky Faith’ conference. I, with you, wondered what it was all about. Run by Scripture Union, it concerned giving our children a faith which will keep them in the family of God, even when they leave primary school, or go out into the big wide world. I was encouraged to hear that it needs, not just trained teachers, but every member, to keep them in the family. So, no retirement. We each are needed.

I went from there to the Ablaze conference and through various ministries, God continued to speak about the importance of letting our children know that they are loved and special, and of never hindering them in any way from realising God’s purpose for them in this generation

When I answered the call to PNG, instead of  teaching our Missionary Kids as I thought, I was not only taking a  class in the mission school, but God surprised me with other responsibilities. Soon after I arrived, hearing there was a week of Bible School for the workers, I asked if I might speak to them. Taking a lump of fool’s gold I had found, I spoke about the treasure hid in the field, and how we need to work to bring the wonderful resources of our children to the Lord.

It was a great privilege to be involved in training the Sunday School teachers, both there and later on a national scale in Ghana, and as well as the joy of teaching the children I was always delighted to be able to speak to whole congregations about the importance of ‘the child in the midst.’

Back in UK, I had the opportunity to teach about children’s work, not just to Sunday School teachers, but others training for leadership. One, now pastor, told me, ‘We learned that children are important.’

Before I came into the Apostolic church or knew much about missionaries I had heard God’s call to ‘go into the villages,’ which, I guess, is how I found myself on this mountain. Having roughed it, sleeping in a smoky grass hut, with rats and fleas to disturb me, I was feeling the worst for wear.

I went out into the sunshine and into the church, and opened my Bible to read this verse in Hebrews, ‘I and the children God has given me.’ God continues to speak this and other words to confirm his call when I get discourages or think I am getting too old to continue my work in the schools or teaching Kids Club, a privilege indeed.

But how wonderful! Each one of us is needed in this great work of bringing our children into the family of God. Let us remember, they are our children.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Independence Day - 4th July

It was actually the 3rd and not the 4th of July, but here I was, taking part in an Independence Day celebration. How had this come about?

Because of the mountain ranges we rarely had chance to meet up with our wonderful Lutheran colleagues while in Papua New Guinea, but it was when I was living alone as a single missionary in Ghana that some American SIM Southern Baptists were my neighbours and became Just 3 miles up the road, I passed their houses,  on my way into the city of Kumasi.
I was in a language class for ex pats at the university when this couple approached me and, seeing I was serious too, suggested we got together to have some extra lessons with our teacher. This led on to meeting up with other families and to precious times of fellowship. It was a great blessing for me  to attend a Bible study with some of the wives. Though I loved the Ghanaians, sometimes it meets a need to be with people of our own cultural background.

They became close and very caring friends. It was another couple who took me into their own home to care for when I was ill. And yes, I was even invited to a family celebration for Mark and Amy, their youngest missionaries. I was first taken to meet them the day Amy had given birth to their third child.  It was at a time of great political upheaval and insecurity and, unable to face the hassle of queueing for hours for petrol I  had found myself ‘confined to barracks.’ It was only later I realised that it was  God who had shut me up to protect me from the frightening situations that were all around.

But it was during this time that there was this special anniversary to celebrate. Their parents, seasoned missionaries, were visiting but had arrived to share all the hardships of the coup. Nevertheless, they had arranged to have a celebratory meal in the prestigious City Hotel  for this special occasion. Unbelievably they came first to invite me, and then to fetch me, insisting I share in their joy. I felt they were giving of their life blood in using the precious petrol they had had to queue so long for, but oh, what an oasis in the wilderness was that happy celebration.

But yet, in all their wonderful kindness, there was one celebration from which I was excluded, and that was 4th of July. Yes, Independence Day. That was very specially for Americans.

But now here I was, included. We always look forward to their Ladies Night, held in the Vine Christian Fellowship the week that our visitors from Louisiana are over, but remembering my experience in Ghana, it was of special significance to me to  find that  this wonderful team had made it an Independence Day celebration. The Vine was decorated with flags, balloons, tables laden with gifts and cakes, all decorated with stars and stripes. There were activities, gifts, and a programme of song and moving testimonies all to assure us of our welcome in the Kingdom of God. We were not excluded even though our speech, and customs too, must seem very strange to them

How moving it was to hear them singing their national anthem, and we shared their joy and pride as we were united in knowing we are one family in God’s kingdom, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The years have passed since our friends in Louisiana, and especially the pastor and members of the First Baptist Church of  Monroe were burdened to hear of the terrible decline of hope among our young people and proliferation of suicides. Prayer led them to action, and Pastor Alex Ashton has been used as the link with us in the Bridgend district. Year after year  a party of fifty or more have come over, all at their own expense, to spend a week visiting the schools, churches and care homes;  and with the support of local churches, taking outreach services, providing wonderful opportunities to reach the unchurched and make Christ known.

Not as old as me, maybe, but there is an amazing mix of old and young, singles and families, some even with grandchildren now coming to join in the ministry. We look forward to ongoing testimonies as we have heard their amazing stories.

God bless you, our dear friends from the deep South of America, even today as you are going into the schools and care homes, and have this outreach in the Pavilion tonight. When we meet up in heaven, may we hear of many who have entered the kingdom through your ministry to us over here in Wales, and a very special thank you for sharing your Independence Day celebrations with us. God bless America and us here in Wales too.

Monday, 9 June 2014

A Spring of Joy

It took faith for me to begin publishing this blog (with my pastor’s patient help) believing it would somehow prove a blessing. How thrilled I was then to hear that it is now being read by friends I worked with in Papua New Guinea over forty years ago.

Knowing I had a missionary call but not sure where God was sending me, I read a scripture that said that if I came with all the desire of my heart to the place God would choose, that I would serve with all those who are already serving the Lord there.(Deut.18:6,7) And I did come, leaving my own family and people behind, to find that I was accepted and loved and part of a very special family.

So now, how am I to write anything worthy of such an auspicious company? Of course, every one of you, my blog readers, is special.

The other day I was asked, ‘Are you still writing poetry?’
‘Oh yes,’ I replied, then I laughed and told them, ‘I have a little fountain inside me. They just keep coming.’

It is many years ago that my pastor in Ilford visited me. Off sick, I was sitting in the garden sewing and he told me, ‘You should be writing poetry or something.’ I didn’t think I could possibly write poetry, so I decided on the ‘something.’ I wrote some short stories and I’m sure it contributed to me regaining my health. (And just to encourage you writers, yes, some of them were published, though not until thirty years later)

It was after I was married that I knew God was calling me to write. I took courses and I had my first stories and then books published, but it is comparatively recently I found the confidence to write poetry. No, I am not a great poet. Far from it. But God makes my poems a blessing and now I am often asked to write one for a special occasion. And yes, there is a little fountain, for they just keep coming.   

So now the Lord is reminding me, that that fountain is not just for poetry, and more that poems, or blogs, or even novels, we need his well of joy to spring up day by day.

It was while we were in New Guinea that we were challenged to praise God in all circumstances. It was a lovely Lutheran missionary who asserted this to us. We brought out our arguments but she countered them all. Sometime later we read the book, ‘From Prison to Praise.’ Our lives were transformed.

Now, as I was wondering what to write that will prove a blessing, I came across a story, - yes, from the Bible. The best stories of all are found there. It is a very short incident towards the end of a very long story – the story of a nation wandering for forty years in the wilderness. They must be nearing their destination for now they are in the land of Moab. We know on two occasions God had given them water out of a rock; water which flowed on as a river, providing for this great nation as they travelled through the desert. But now it seems that source had ceased.

The leaders are called to dig a well. They must have known water was near, for they were digging with staffs, not shovels, but Moses declared, ‘Spring up O well, sing ye into it.’

Singing is a wonderful remedy for depression, and it is so important to praise God, and to speak and sing out his word, somehow to activate the spring of joy Jesus promised those who believe in him..

It was while I was in Laiagam, New Guinea, that the Lord taught me to apply a verse to my own situation and to say, ‘I am delighting myself in you and you are giving me the desires of my heart.’ (Psa.37:4) Recently I’ve needed some revision on that one. Being a widow doesn’t get easier as the years pass, but God still has wells of joy to open for us, but – yes – we have to do our share; to take our stave or shovels, or bibles even and  dig and sing.

I’m going to bring this rambling blog to a conclusion by adding my latest poem.
I got home from preaching Sunday night feeling depressed, - or maybe just worn out, but  Monday morning, as I tried to praise the Lord I felt an up-springing of this fountain and collected some paper to write. I hope it will make you laugh, and yes, bless you as it blessed me.

‘How are you feeling?’
  Oh, what shall I say?
Just tell them your fine
  And then go on your way

But I’m not feeling fine
  It’s a lie to say so
My legs feel like lead
  I’ve lost my ‘get up and go.’

Oh, just tell them your fine
  No one’s wanting to know
If you’re down in the dumps
  And are struggling with woe

Yet – yes, I am fine
  And I’m glad that you ask
And to know that you care
  Gives me strength for the task

God’s still in His heaven
  He’s my strength and my song
I’m alive and still breathing
  So there’s not too much wrong
 s heaven
  He’s my strength and my song
I’m alive and have breath
  So there’s not too much wrong

So yes, ask how I’m feeling
  And I’ll say, yes, I am fine
For I’m still climbing mountains
  One step at a time

Sorry, - here is a P.S.
It was years before we came to PNG. Mary’s marriage was on the rocks and her husband now was happy to blame all their marital troubles onto the fact we were going to a Pentecostal church, though it was her unhappiness which had driven her to  Lord.

Having left her, he had now come to try to convince our parents that we had gone to the devil. Not knowing the outcome, we felt oppressed. Huddled in my bedroom,  Mary suddenly started to sing,
‘I’ve wondrous peace through trusting,
A well of joy within’

It leads on to the chorus,
‘To the uttermost Jesus saves.’

We sang the hymn right through. The well of living water was springing up in our hearts.

It was many more years before God healed their marriage, but we didn’t have to wait for this to know God’s joy.

Whatever our circumstances, may we all know this same well springing up in our hearts – yes, even today.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Random Acts of Kindness

‘Give me your hand.’ Maybe you wouldn’t have received that as a special kindness, but believe me, with a steep mountain, or a river crossing before me, it was more than  a kindness but a life-saver.

‘Kingen di.’ I recognised those words as meaning ‘Give me your hand.’  A new- comer to the remote highlands of New Guinea and unused to roughing it, my fellow missionaries laughed at the wonderful way in which the Lord helped me, for when trekking to some out-station there always seemed to be someone who stepped out of the bush to give me a hand just when I needed it.

There are other ways of giving a hand or being there for people. My mother used to say, ‘There are so many needy people in the world, and for most the best thing you can give them is a little bit of time.

It is true, isn’t it? A burden shared is a burden halved, they say. My mother was elderly and disabled, but with her stick and her little car she went around to visit the shut-ins, and if she couldn’t visit she would write or phone.  

At Easter time I received a random act of kindness. Our little Elijah, not yet four years old, came running up to me and placed a tiny chocolate egg in my hand. Given a boxful by his mother, it was his idea to bring them to church to give away. How blessed I was to be chosen to receive one. Especially blessed because I  in turn was able to give it away as a random act of kindness.

Dear little Kitty, two years old, was getting fractious. I remembered the egg in my pocket. Kitty snuggled in beside me as I unwrapped it. The sweetness of that egg lasted a long time as from then on Auntie Pauline was given lots of hugs.

What joy grew out of Elijah’s random act of kindness.

Let’s be aware of the many random acts of kindness that God is strewing on our paths; and let’s strew some of our own, if it is just to give a hand to someone struggling with a heavy bag, to stop to pass the time of day; a letter, a timely phone call, or a prayer.

Thank God for random acts of kindness.

Was it a random act of kindness, or was it the North Wind herself that brought this book into my hands when I was feeling low with a cold? It was certainly a gift from God.

My friend was supposed to be downsizing into a smaller house, and explaining that some things she could not part with, such as this box of books she had read to her children. She held up ‘At the Back of the North Wind,’ by George MacDonald. ‘Oh,’ I exclaimed. ‘I would love to read it again.’

I was probably an adult when I first read it, and I remember how God had reminded me of its message. I had been sure God would not send me anywhere with mountains or log bridges, and here I was in New Guinea with plenty of both. I had somehow got ahead of my companions and was overcome with fear. I could not go back or on. God gently reminded me of little Diamond. His friend, the North Wind, had carried him in her arms to the cathedral, and placed him on a ledge, high up. There was not room for her to walk beside him and when he expressed fear she withdrew. She could not be friends with cowards. But as he was willing to trust and to step out so she blew strength into him. I too was able to step out in faith. From then on I wondered how I had found those mountains daunting.

George Macdonald, before the times of C.S.Lewis and Tolkien had written the most beautiful fairy stories, allegories of the life of faith.

I was told that this book, ‘At the Back of the North Wind’ is about death. I was surprised at that , for I had thought that maybe the North Wind represented suffering, but now, as I read it again many years later I think it is neither, but a most beautiful picture of all that our Lord Jesus is and wants to be in our lives.

Little Diamond, whose daddy is a coachman, sleeps in the stable above where big Diamond, this wonderful carriage horse, sleeps. His mother plugs up the knot in the wood by his bed, but the North Wind wants to come in. She becomes his friend, and carried him far away. She has to do many things which seem to be all wrong, but Diamond learns to trust her and see how she is working out God’s purposes for good.

Eventually his trust in her is such that he wants to go through her to the land at the back of the North wind. Has he come through death to heaven? No, for after a while he is brought back from a serious illness, but from here on he has had a taste of heaven and so nothing can perturb him.

The family go through great trials, but in it all Diamond sings his special songs that he had heard from the river of God. When his father is ill he takes out big Diamond, now a cab horse, through the dangerous streets of London’s East End, but nothing can make him afraid and he is able to bring grace and blessing wherever he goes.

Eventually all turns out well for the family and all those involved in his life, and at the end it seems that our little Diamond has died, but we know that he had gone through the North Wind, this time to reach heaven itself.

And as his relationship with the beautiful North Wind pictures our relationship with our wonderful Saviour, I pray that we, like Diamond, will allow nothing to perturb us and give us courage to face every difficulty, for we may not, like some, have entered into the outskirts of heaven only to return for a season, but we have tasted of the powers of the world to come and have sat with Christ in heavenly places and so we too, can quietly trust that He will turn everything to good for us as we trust in him.

That was more than a ‘random’ act of kindness when I was lent this book, and just maybe you may find that this blog is more than such a kindness to you who so patiently read.

Thursday, 10 April 2014


This was the question I was asked. My reply had to be ‘Yes,’ yet I remembered my aunt’s reaction when a nephew, recently become a Christian, had given up his job, declaring God had spoken to him.

‘I’m sure, if God had chosen to speak to someone, it would not have been to him.’ She had found him an arrogant teenager.

But when Jesus was on earth it was the outcasts, the sinners whom he chose as his friends; maybe some arrogant teen agers among them. He said he didn’t come to save the respectable people but those who were lost.

So I had no problem in answering my friend that yes, God did speak to me. But now she wanted to know, ‘What does his voice sound like?’ I am still pondering over that one. She insists that God uses our own voice, only deeper.

It was through reading ‘the Calvary Road,’ that I first realised that I was found among the ‘whosoever’s’ for whom Christ died. In acknowledging him somehow a miracle had happened and he had become the centre of my life. It became natural that I should speak to him and that he should answer me, the Bible now a living book.

I had been visiting an elderly friend who had been nursing her father and now also her husband. Crying out to God that it was all too much for her, she had been devastated when it was her beloved husband who had died. Not only was her heart broken, but her legs were covered in terrible sores.

I went to my room and kneeling before an open Bible, I read, ‘He binds up the broken in heart and heals their wounds.’  God was speaking directly into this situation, and yes, he did bring healing to dear Auntie Em.

Struggling to control over forty under fives, as a young teacher I complained, ‘Lord, I cannot teach these children.’ ‘But will you love them for me?’ came the reply. I was not conscious of an audible voice, but I knew deep within my being that God had answered, and I still know the Lord enables me to love the children for him.

But my new found salvation was making a rift between the teachings of my childhood. I remember crying out to God, ‘Lord, it was so easy for your disciples. All they had to do was to follow Jesus, and I am having to find out what is right and what is wrong.’ His reply, deep and sure, resonated through my being. ‘No, it is just the same for you. It is just for you to follow Jesus.’ ‘Lord, if that is true, then make it so plain that it is either to choose you or to deny you.’ – I don’t know if I had spoken out loud either, but this was a very real conversation and one that has affected my whole life. God did make it just so plain, and he still does when I am faced with a big decision.     

In my book, Wings of the Morning, you will find many reminiscences of how God has spoken to me. But now, once more living alone, I daily open my bible, expecting to find some word there from God’s father heart, and I walk through the day sharing my life with my Saviour.

How does God speak? Certainly I am not conscious of any other accent that that of my own. I know that God does sometimes speak in an audible voice. On the three occasions when the Father spoke to his Son, some had thought it was thunder. It was in this way that he spoke to Saul on the road to Damascus.

A friend of mine, in great distress, had gone into a church and God spoke to her in  a voice so loud she had put her hands to her ears, and yet the ladies, cleaning in another part of the building, had heard nothing.

Should we think it strange that God should speak to us? God spoke, and the world was brought into being, and Jesus himself is God’s final word. God spoke to Abraham, and later to Moses, as to a friend but later he spoke through his prophets.

When I came into the Apostolic church I heard God speaking through those with a gift of prophesy, and I received many personal words which have been very precious to me. But then  I would be amazed, in reading the Bible, that these truths that they had brought to apply personally to my life   were already there in this sacred book.

I remember trembling as I had dared to speak out prophetic words, wondering that this should be, only to find later that this was indeed God’s word, already written in his book.

‘It’s old, yet ever new,’ we used to sing, and it is wonderful to be in a church where God will take these ancient words, and apply them to our hearts and to our situation as something fresh and living.

But however we hear the word, whether an audible voice, one spoken quietly into our hearts or through a prophet, we must test the message against the written word of God, for we are at best frail vessels.

But Yes, Yes, Yes, is my answer to this question. God speaks to me, and I can come to him, expecting him to speak into any situation that arises in my live.

‘He walks with me and he talks with me..’ is another old song.

Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie, were in the terrible Ravensbrook concentration camp. On one occasion they were ordered to go to another part of the complex. It gave the sisters a rare occasion to converse without fear, but Corrie remembers it as a three way conversation. They were walking and talking with the Lord. Did they both hear his audible voice, or were they so in tune that they were hearing together in the depths of their beings? We don’t need to know, but we do need to know that God speaks, and he is looking for those who will listen.

He says, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.’

So maybe there is another question I need to answer, for God says, ‘today, if you will hear my voice…’. Am I hearing, and most of all, obeying his voice today?

(N.B. Wings of the Morning is available from me, Amazon, or free on Kindle.)

Thursday, 27 March 2014

March 2014 - Barton Camp

Yes, with the promise of Spring in the air, it was time for our annual ‘Away Weekend.’  This year over 70 of us from Grace Community Church, Porthcawl, set out for a special time of blessing.


It was an easy drive to North Somerset, where Barton Camp is set high on a hill top, far from any floods. With the beautiful farm lands all around us, snowdrops and daffodils in bloom, and yes, glorious sunshine after the long wet winter, I for one felt we were like Jesus’ disciples when he called them up into a mountain.


 Those disciples, of course, had left their own families at home, whereas here we were, one big family, from one month old Baby Heidi to some real oldies like me. There were plenty of offers to hold the baby, help with the little ones and join with the older children in the sports hall to kick a ball around or play on the swings. Oh yes, and on Saturday afternoon, an opportunity for the young mums to go into Weston for yet more shopping.


But we had come apart to meet with Jesus, and for our special times there was a large circular room, warm and airy.


We were self catering, so much preparation had gone on beforehand, but everyone was delegated into a team and all took their turn willingly and happily. Ross’s extra hot curry may have been challenging, but in all the meals and the snacks in between were excellent.


But we had come for more than this daily food, and were ready to be challenged concerning our spiritual life and growth. I may have been let off the kitchen rota, but none of us dare evade this spiritual challenge, to get out of the rut we may be in and to go on in our pursuit of God.


A special feature of these away weekends is ‘Grace Has Talent.’ This made for some light hearted entertainment for Friday evening, especially as we have some up and coming magicians among our Kids Club members. But there was a song one of our little girls had courage to sing for us which touched my heart. I’m sure we were all amazed at the volume and joy with which Dee’s little granddaughter regaled us.


 ‘A whole new world.

 A dazzling place I never knew

But when I’m way up here

It’s crystal clear

That now I’m in  a whole new world with you.’        


 Somehow it summed up for me the joy we have in our relationship with Jesus, a joy which is able to make each day new and wonderful as we continue to walk and climb with him.


I am so glad that God never gives up on us, but continually challenges us to seek him with our whole hearts.

Friday, 21 February 2014


‘You don’t die of cancer. You live with cancer.’

I was amazed at the boldness of a friend who, having recognised this dreaded disease, now used it as an opportunity to share her faith with others. No, she was not healed, as no doubt she, with her family had so fervently prayed, but she had lived out her days as an overcomer.

I guess we all fear death, especially as we face old age and experience the encroaching ravages of arthritis or the approaching fog of dementia.

As I read the Bible I am challenged by the record of those who, it seems, decided to sit down and wait for death instead of living to the full each day the Lord gave them. There was Terah, Abraham’s father, who set out for the Promised land but never reached it because, having arrived in Haran, he decided he was too old to go any further. The whole family had to stay there for years until it was God’s time to take him.

Isaac was another who, it seems, was ready to sign off much too soon. With failing eye sight, he decided it was time to pass on the birth right. We may know the sad saga of how Jacob tricked his father and all the animosity that came out of this, but deceived Dad lived on for many years after that.

No, we may not have the health and senses we once had, but we don’t have to fear, or to wait for death. We have a God who still heals, who renews our youth, and we don’t have to be ill to die. He called Enoch to heaven when he was out for a walk with him. And Moses! Well, he was one hundred and twenty years old, but it says his natural strength had not abated and nor was his sight dim. But his days, like ours, were numbered, so one day God came to take him home.

Life is for living, and not for dying.

Today the physicians seem to be winning the war against cancer, but now we have the dreaded ‘A’ word, Alzheimer’s. We need to remember that we don’t die of dementia or even Alzheimer’s either.

Jesus said that if we believe in him we will not see death. Sometimes I feel I am already bereaved, with my nearest and dearest in care homes, but no, they are not dead and we must enjoy what we have of them.

A dear godly friend, taken to church and wondering where she was or who were these folk around her, was aware of the presence of God, and prayed, speaking out a word from the Lord.

My lovely sister, who still has islands amid the rising flood of memory loss, was found sitting with one of the patients in the dining area, her Bible open between them.

George had to go into care after the death of his beloved wife. At times he could be aggressive in his frustration in being unable to understand why he was separated from her. However, other times we found him at peace so very conscious of God’s presence and his goodness. We were told that, seeing the patients sat around he would think he was in church so would preach to them, telling them about Jesus.

God cares for these people who are shut away because of their disabilities and so, as Jesus came among us, sharing all the frailty of human flesh, sometimes he allows his own to share these infirmities and the diseases we fear so much that they may demonstrate this word, that life is for living.

I thank God that day by day he teaches me to trust him for health and always for strength to take the next step. May I, and you too, always remember that indeed, life is for living.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sibling Rivalry

Hearing the news of the death of Joan Fontain, I was so sad to hear that the sibling rivalry between her and her sister, Olivia de Haviland, also a film star, had persisted as a life-long feud.

‘Excuse me, but is she your sister or your friend?’ a child asked, when Mary came out to New Guinea to visit me. How thankful I was that I could assure her that she was my sister and my friend. But for God’s grace it could well have been otherwise.

Sibling rivalry is a common theme, in the Bible and in life. Cain’s jealousy of Abel led to the first murder, and the saga of Jacob and Esau, beginning in the womb, has repercussions even to this day.

How lonely is the child who has no brother or sister, and yet those born into a family often do not know how rich they are. I was third in a family of four. Such a secure place, and yet I was full of ‘if only’s. If I were the only boy; or the oldest girl, - and of course everyone knows the baby is special.

We need to bring assurance to our children, to let them know that each one of them is loved and special. It wasn’t until I learned that if no one else in the world had sinned, that Jesus would still have gone to the cross to save me, that I began to experience a deliverance in my life from this curse of jealousy.

Do we know the ten commandments? Most of us remember about not killing, swearing or committing adultery. I wasn’t guilty of any of those. But what about the last one; do not covet? In other words, Don’t be jealous.

Oh yes, I was jealous of my sister. 18 months older, she was always the pretty and the clever one. Or so I believed. Our parents thought it was bad for us to be praised, so if something good was said to me they sought to deflect it by referring to my sister.

Even in adulthood, I never knew my mother approved or was proud of me until I chanced to overheard her speaking on the telephone, but thank God we have a heavenly Father who delights to let us know that he is pleased with our endeavours, and who lavishes his love on us.

I adored my sister, but it was a love hate relationship, until I invited Jesus into my life. He showed me that my jealousy and sense of inferiority were sin, yes, SIN, because it meant self was on the throne of my heart instead of Him. And when jealousy reared its head, as it still can, I learned to claim the promise, ‘Jesus saves me now.’

Most of us know the story of Joseph, with his coat of many colours. No. 11 of 12 siblings, he had no need to be jealous. He was his father’s favourite, and it seems, God’s too. It is no wonder his brothers suffered from jealousy; a jealousy that could have ended in murder.

But if only….. if only they had gone to their father to ask if they too were loved, I hope he would have reassured them, and maybe suggested they needed to sort out some things; but I know if they had gone to God he would have told each one of them, ‘Of course I love you. I have a special purpose for you too.’

What a joy it is when brothers and sisters, and especially twins enjoy each other even from birth, and how sad when some wait until old age to discover they are best friends. If only those two gifted actresses had learned to recognise each other’s gifts, and instead of feeling threatened, been able to rejoice in each other’s success, how different their lives would have been.

Let’s make sure we do not have such regrets, but learn to be confident in the love of a wonderful God to whom each one of us is special, and let’s share this confidence with our children.