Author Archives: lynwake

BE!

Dear friends, the ‘BE’ in the ‘BE Blessings’ ministry is for Bethany, but today it is for her BEloved grandmother Barbara…
“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10a

Writing the ‘BE Blogs’ over recent years come has come from a growing conviction that anything good I desire to DO must flow out of who I am designed to BE.

These lessons run long and deep, and I am nothing but a beginner on the journey of BEcoming. But I would love to share with you what I am in the midst of learning right now. At this moment in time, I am greatly challenged to the core of my BEing by my dear mother-in-law…

It is nothing she has said and nothing she has done. No wise word or inspirational action has driven home to me the lesson I am learning right now. Yet, what I perceive is powerfully displayed.

My husband’s mum can say nothing. She can do nothing. Her thoughts are empty and her memory is erased. She is slowly dying from that dreaded Alzheimer’s Disease. Seven torturous years so far, with more suffering most assuredly to come.

Mum was a doer! Famous for her delicious cooking, she was an excellent homemaker and beautiful wife and mother. She was also a professional dressmaker and my wedding dress was just one of her amazing creations. We used to joke that you could wear her dresses inside out as she always double-lined them to perfection for the bride’s comfort.

We loved her then for all she did for us, even if we often took her for granted. She was just always there – like many mothers are for their children. Her selfless servant heart was always so faithful and joyfully gave to others with boundless energy. Indeed, Mum was right up there in the top ranks of incredible mothers!

I grieve for all she has lost in this trial. I grieve for her, for her faithful husband, her children, and for her grandchildren. We all greatly miss her friendship, guidance and support. But it has struck me afresh lately that we love her still – as helpless and ‘useless’ as she currently is. Why is that? Is it just the memory of all her kindness over the years that feeds our love? That may be part of it, but at the essence of our love is this:

We love her simply because of who she IS.

She is our Mum. She is our children’s Nan. She is still a beloved wife and friend, although she is incapable of doing anything for us and for herself anymore. She is a child of God above all else and her intrinsic value cannot be diminished by her inability to DO anything.

As I was sitting with her recently, trying to help her eat something and not getting too far, it struck me that Mum just ‘IS’… and that’s all. She is a human BEing, like you and like me. The only difference is that we might be able to DO a handful of things, with no promise that we will be able to DO them tomorrow.

The call to ‘BE’ has reduced to the very basics for her now. She breathes. Her heart beats. There is no response and yes it is heartbreaking and incredibly challenging. But the amazing fact is that she is loved – no more or less than ever before – no doubt about it!

Do I know this same love in the centre of my being? I am convinced that I am loved just by BEing who God made me to BE? I am His daughter, His BEloved daughter! Can I be content with nothing more and nothing less?

I want to know and live this truth more and more as I grow older. I hope dear Mum knows it deep within her soul too – I think she does. We tell her when we visit how loved she is. How grateful we are for her. How we long for her next breath to be filled with Heaven. For her next smile to break forth when her wait is over and she finally sees Jesus, her delight! She’s got a wonderful, infectious laugh and I can’t wait to hear it ring out across eternity – what a day that will be!

Yes Mum, you just have to BE right now – and when all is said and done, so do I. BEloved Mum, it is enough – enough for us both! Thank you for teaching me this soul searching, transformative lesson. May I live the truth of it today and in all of my tomorrows. As we care for you, in solidarity that one day our time will come too, may it be with the tenderness of Christ and with hearts filled with hope in Him!
Quotes to Inspire:

In his last years on earth, Canadian spiritual thinker and writer, Henri Nouwen lived with and gained great insight from his friends in the L’Arche Daybreak Community (a place of care for those living with intellectual disabilities). Henri wrote a tribute to his friend, Moe, who lived with Down’s Syndrome for decades before dying from Alzheimer’s Disease. For years Moe always asked Henri to sing him ‘Amazing Grace’…

“In Daybreak, many of us cannot do what most people can. Some of us cannot walk, some cannot speak, some cannot feed themselves, some cannot read, some cannot count, come cannot dress themselves, and a few can do none of those things. No one is waiting for a cure. We only know that things will get harder as we get older and that the difference between people with a handicap and people without a handicap will become ever smaller. What are we ultimately growing toward? Are we simply becoming less and less capable people, returning our bodies to the dust from which they came, or are we growing into the living reminders of the ‘Amazing Grace’ that Moe always wanted to sing about? We must choose between these two radically different viewpoints. The choice to see our own and other people’s decreasing abilities as gateway for God’s increasing grace is a choice of faith. It is a choice based on the conviction that on the cross of Jesus we do see, not only failure, but victory as well, not only destruction, but new life as well, not only nakedness, but glory as well.” (Henri Nouwen, Our Greatest Gift, pp. 69-70.)

“Abide in Me (BE IN ME) for without Me, you can DO absolutely nothing!”
(Jesus Christ, John 15:5, emphasis mine.)

“All I AM and ever hope to BE is because You love faithfully!”
(Laura Story, Faithful God.)

BE Faithful!

I’ve been thinking a lot about faithfulness lately. Perhaps it is because the ugliness of UN-faithfulness has pervaded the lives of my friends recently and I have witnessed her deadly deception and greed. Those unfaithful paws have also clawed into me and mine over the years, leaving behind wounds and scars.

We don’t have to look far in our world to see before us images of unfaithfulness do we? But images of faithfulness are also right before our eyes if we know where to look…

On a daily basis the sun faithfully rises. Our gorgeous Golden Retriever faithfully greets us each morning with affection and the tax bill faithfully comes each year! Perhaps we can classify this kind of faithfulness as ‘law of nature’.

But there is a deeper kind of faithfulness I want to take a few minutes to delve into right now. Faithfulness that proves the authenticity of true, unconditional, sacrificial love. Faithfulness that flows from hearts that have made covenants, commitments, vows, pledges and promises with intentional plans to see them through – no matter what.

My parents have shown this kind of faithfulness to me to me over the course of my life. I also have the privilege to live with a man who chooses to faithfully love me and meet my needs above his own. I am also honored to belong to a group of women who faithfully support me as I endeavour to BE Faithful and do the same for them.

But human faithfulness has its limits. Sometimes circumstances prevent us from fulfilling our well-intentioned vows. Sometimes we get enticed away from remaining faithful to covenantal promises. At times we are just plain lazy, let our guard down and end up unintentionally wounding the people we love most in the world.

I believe that while humans can be faithful to a point, there is a deeper source of faithfulness that we need to tap into to in order to truly BE Faithful to each other and to God through all kinds of trials and temptations.

18 years ago, an Aussie family set off on an adventure. Years earlier they had encountered Jesus Christ and been transformed by His Word translated into their own heart language. But to their dismay, they heard of the thousands of minority people groups around the globe who do not have this privilege. So before God, they made a commitment to partner with Him to address this injustice. After years of training, preparation and gathering a support team around them, the time came for the Coombe family to leave the comforts of home and the tangible presence of family and friends. They packed their basic needs, crossed the oceans, learned two foreign languages, survived in primitive conditions and barely lived through several severe illnesses – all of this eventuated in just the first few months!

On 1 May, 2016, I beheld the fruit of faithfulness and it is an image that will stay with me forever. The Gela New Testament was finally completed and dedicated to God for His glorious purposes. After all the years of faithful service from the Coombes and the local translators – along with the faithful support of many – the Gela of the Solomon Islands finally have the same opportunity we do… to read God’s Word in their mother tongue. The opportunity for transformation is a reality in their hands and we rejoice!

Yes, I was an eyewitness to the magnificent celebrations, but I also caught a glimpse of the cost that lies behind scenes.

Just like their Lord before them, this family has faced rejection, misunderstanding, betrayal, abuse, mocking, and loneliness, physical and emotional trauma – just to name a few heartaches. This is the same family that recently had to say goodbye to baby Gabriel, before they could say a proper hello (see previous blog ‘BE Born!’).

This simple tribute I muse on today cannot possibly convey the long list of troubles and strife this precious family have encountered along the journey – and it is not over yet. The commitment they made to the Gela people was so help facilitate the translation of the entire Bible – and that will still be some years away.

How will they manage to continue to BE Faithful after all they have already endured? Indeed, how will we all?

The Apostle Paul went through all manner of severe trial as a missionary and minister of the Gospel of Jesus. He learned the secret of faithfulness and so can we….

“The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it!” 1 Thess. 5:24

But how does He do it? One of God’s names is ‘Faithful’. El HaNe’eman = The Faithful God (Deuteronomy 7:9). Faithfulness not only describes what God does, but defines who He is. The kind of faithfulness we require to remain loyal, fruitful servants of God and keep the commitments we have made to each other goes way beyond and own abilities and the laws of nature. Paul tells us that in order to BE Faithful, we have to tap into the ‘Wellspring of Life’ Himself! Yes friends, we need a good dose of God’s Holy Spirit within us to BE Faithful

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law! Gal. 5:22-23

Need a little, or a mountain load of faithfulness right now? I leave you with this vision of faithfulness from Revelation 19… drink it in, feast on it and allow it to transform you to BE Faithful!

Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself.  He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress.  On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

A couple of songs to inspire you:

‘Faithful’ by Laura Story

‘You are Faithful’ By Stephen Curtis Chapman

BE Amazed

When was the last time you were truly amazed by something good? Can you remember the last time your jaw dropped to the ground and you stood utterly speechless in wonder at the mighty nature and workings of the living God?

Not long ago, I had the incredible opportunity to witness the birth of a precious baby boy. I had seen visions of childbirth in pictures, videos and TV shows, but friends, there is nothing like being there in the flesh and witnessing first hand the astonishing miracle of new life – together with the blood, guts and glory of it all.

To put it simply… I was amazed!

I kind of remember that being amazed was a regular occurrence as a child, but the feeling and even ability to be amazed seems to have faded over the years. I think being amazed somehow equates with having a ‘child-like spirit’.  Now that I have grown up, I have to intentionally become like a child again to experience wonders anew.

Around six years ago, my ability to be amazed with anything good from the Lord seems to dry up in almost an instant. You see, our daughter was desperately ill and had just been diagnosed with a terminal disease. I was at the bottom of a pit I could see no way out of. I remember being in the bathroom, in a crumpled mess on the floor, and opening my Bible for some form of comfort.  It was in that terrible moment that God gave me the first of many promises to hold onto throughout the year of Bethany’s illness and eventual passing.

I can’t remember exactly how I came to gaze upon these particular words… I know people were sending me messages of comfort from the Psalms and that Bethany herself loved several of the Psalms. So on that dark day, as I groped for my Bible, I guess it was natural for me to turn to the Psalms and my blurry eyes could not escape the draw to Psalm 40:1-5. As I tried to focus in through the tears and read this worshipful testimonial of King David, it was one of those moments when God seemed to whisper to me, “My girl, this is what I am going to do for you too…”

“I called patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on a firm foundation and steadied me as I walked along. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and BE AMAZED. (Emphasis mine.)  They will put their hope in the LORD. Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD…”

The recent birth of dear little Jordan awakened in me a new sense of amazement – a feeling that had been buried for a long time under a load of pain. I am grateful for this awakening and today, here I stand in the midst of two important milestones… the fifth anniversary of Bethany’s passing just gone and her 21st birthday just days away… and honestly, I am amazed!

I am amazed we are still alive, functioning well, together as a couple and family and working in a vital ministry that brings God’s words of hope to a world in need. I am gob-smacked at the goodness and grace of God, our merciful Father, who has seen us through thus far and promises to see us through until completion. Full credit to Him! Yes, totally amazed that much good has come from Bethany’s suffering already… good in the form of lives transformed, inspired and challenged to live in deeper places of faith and fruitfulness in Christ. I am amazed that He has indeed lifted us up out of that pit of despair and put a ‘new song’ of praise to Him in our mouths!

This week, a new project is about to be officially launched in Bethany’s honor. A video clip and book that we trust will help many understand the plight of some of the world’s most desperate women and make a huge transformative difference in many lives.

Friends, while we are honored to be part of this new work Bethany’s life has inspired, we are also believing for the fulfilment of the Psalm 40 promise and ask you to believe with us that…

“MANY WILL SEE WHAT HE HAS DONE AND BE AMAZED. THEY WILL PUT THEIR HOPE IN THE LORD.”

Are you lacking a bit of amazement right now? Wondering just how long it will be until the Lord lifts you and sets your feet on solid ground again? Maybe you could ask Him to show you something amazing of Himself, a new revelation of His character that will leave you overwhelmed by His great love for you? Maybe He will give you something special to see with your eyes, like the birth I witnessed, to shake you up and see the wonders of His creation afresh.

Whatever it will be, as you wait on Him, what He will give you will be just right for you. A really simple thing set my heart off in wonder again this week and left me with tears of joy that He would care for me in such an intimate way. My eyes are like that of a child right now and I know I must keep my heart open and soft to stay that way.

Easter is again approaching and what a wonderful opportunity to stand in the presence of the resurrected Jesus and BE Amazed. I stand as a broken vessel, worshipping God together with the long line of people who have been amazed at His life, death and resurrection throughout the millennia. Oh the blood, the guts and the glory of it all!

I have a new song of praise going around my head right now, one that I want to sing out! It is not a new song, as such, but flows from an old and famous Easter Hymn. Today, it feels like a new song of hope and I long for my praise to please His heart. Oh Lord, help me never, ever lose my wonder…

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died. My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it Lord that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God! All the vain things that charm me most,I sacrifice them through His blood. 

See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did ever such love and sorrow meet? Or thorns compose so rich a crown? 

Were the whole realm of nature mine, it would be an offering far to small. Love so AMAZING, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross by Isaac Watts 1707

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BE Born!

We were all expectant and looking forward to a safe arrival – none more so than the parents to be. The anticipation was mounting as the due date drew near. A firstborn son was on his way and there was much excitement in the air for the newly wed couple, their family and friends. We were all looking forward to experiencing the unique joy that only a baby can bring and we couldn’t wait for those first photos and precious cuddles.

Almost a year earlier, Naomi and Matt stood before a crowd of witness to pledge their love for each other and dedicate their lives and marriage to God and His glory. Little did they know that their resolve to trust Him, no matter what, would be tested so soon.

Gabriel Jack was born soon after his due date, but never felt the passage through his birth canal. He never opened his mouth to breathe in the air of this world or fill his lungs to cry out his first wail. He never nestled at his mother’s breast or heard her whisper sweet nothings in his ears. He never opened his eyes to see his proud father smile at him with absolute delight. He never got to live in the home so lovingly prepared for him.

In the mystery of creation, Gabriel’s little body was perfectly formed, but his spirit was protected from being tarnished with the imperfections of this world. God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, allowed little Gabriel to be born directly into His everlasting Kingdom. It was there that he breathed in his first gulp of the fresh, untainted air of heaven. It is there that he is now nurtured and loved as a unique treasure. There his ears are open to the echoes of love that ring out across eternity and it is there that his eyes are able to gaze upon the wonders and freely look upon the face of his proud Heavenly Father who adores him. Yes, it was a safe arrival and he is free and living in the eternal home so lovely prepared for him.

Although it may seem to the contrary, Gabriel was indeed created to be born. His brave parents have released him into the arms of a loving God in the midst of their blinding pain. Oh how they grieve, and this is right and good, but they do not grieve as those without hope.

As they held Gabriel in the time after his stillbirth, they were able to say all the hellos and goodbyes their broken hearts could express. They shared him with their extended family and took him home for a few hours to finish reading the children’s Bible they had started to read to him while in his mother’s womb. In their sadness, they also rejoiced and gave glory to the One who gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Whilst they could not see, hear or feel his real birth in the eternal realm, by faith in Jesus Christ Naomi and Matt are choosing to believe in the promises that declare that their son lives! Perhaps in due time they will be shown what incredible, joy-filled celebrations were held in honor of their son as he was born into the Kingdom of God that birth-day.

Those of us born into this world also have the opportunity to be born into this eternal Kingdom. The passage is narrow, the labor painful and few endure through unto the end to find life. Gabriel’s life brings to our attention a life-saving message that rings out for all those who have ears to hear… BE Born in Jesus Christ!

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3

The Bible tells us that exuberant celebrations are in order for all who will be born into this eternal Kingdom! (Luke 15:10)

I grieve with our beloved friends that they cannot have ongoing relationship with their darling Gabriel in this life.  But I rejoice with them that he did get his safe arrival after all and I hold dear an anticipation of meeting this precious boy one appointed day.

Naomi and Matt are still ‘expectant parents’ and their parents still ‘expectant grandparents’. The joy of meeting Gabriel and living life with him has just been delayed… we are all going to have to wait a little longer than expected, but we believe the glorious reunion is on its way and of this, we are grateful.

I wonder if my own daughter, Naomi’s friend Bethany, who dearly desired to be a midwife in this life before being birthed into heaven herself, was present when Gabriel was born? I wouldn’t be surprised at all if God arranged such a thing. After all, He has woven the fabric of our lives together here on earth so it seems natural that the relationship we share should flow on into eternity.

Bethany was besotted with babies and perhaps she will help dear Gabriel grow up in the Kingdom and prepare him to be reunited with his parents when the time is right?  I am not sure, but this I do know…

“Weeping may remain for a night – but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

We love you dear ones. What has happened is not your fault but a tragic symptom of our broken, fragile world. But take heart! Our Lord Jesus has overcome the world! This will shape your lives for better or worse, but knowing you and the stand you have already taken, it will not destroy you or take root in bitterness. Instead, the depth of your suffering will create opportunities for your lives to be transformed into the image of Jesus and glorify God in ways nothing else could.

Rest and heal now in the arms of your beloved Saviour. He will restore your souls and lift you up as you wait, expectantly, on Him.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” ‭Psalm‬ ‭147:3‬

In loving memory of…

Gabriel (God is my strength) Jack (God is gracious) Tesch  14 January 2016

They say life is but a dash –that sacred space between the ordained dates of our birth and death. 

The dash may seem large, it may seem far too small – or there may be no dash at all.

But each life is precious – uniquely fashioned by loving hands to live forever. 

Each life has a destiny, a purpose to be fulfilled – if you are reading this, then you have been granted the gift of a dash.

In the light of those with no dash to shine, I ask myself,

 “What will I do with mine?”

" Mum, when I grow up I want to be just like Julie."
Bethany 2010

BE Remembered

This week, another beautiful soul flew from the confines of her cancer-ridden body and soared into the arms of her Beloved Saviour. She entered her rest after years of struggle and finally began the joy of new life in her eternal Home.

Julie Elizabeth Leitch was a dear friend to our Bethany in her days of trial and became a true friend to me – a refreshing breeze God used to help usher in a new season of healing.

She will be remembered.

Julie lived on the edge of our world, known to us only through mutual friends until 2010 when she entered our lives with a big, bright bang! She too was living with cancer and when she heard of Bethany’s situation she asked for permission to come for a visit.

This first visit turned into many more and Bethany loved her times with Julie and came to adore her new friend and highly respect her.

“Mum when I grow up, I want to be just like Julie.”

They were kindred spirits indeed – both larger than life and chosen, it seems, for a similar life journey and testimony. When Julie was present in our home, we could not help but feel the life, love and joy (and increased volume) that flowed freely from her. The death sentences that hung over both their lives seemed totally defeated and forgotten in the light of Julie.

I heard many giggles coming from Bethany’s room whenever Julie was visiting. They chatted about the hard stuff while at the same time painted their nails, put on some lippy, placed bows on their bald heads and above all, took delight in swapping their wigs and trying out different, crazy styles with them.

Julie captured Beth’s attention and heart as she shared stories of her hilarious antics with the radiologists and the different ways she would conspire to make the medical staff laugh. Julie delighted in lightening the load for us and making fun of the cancer. We always felt uplifted after her visits and the room felt empty when she left.

How empty her home must feel and our love and prayers continue to flow for her dear family whose hearts must feel bereft without her presence right now.

As far as I could see, Julie never considered herself a victim of cancer and helped Bethy to feel the same. Rather than letting the cancer use them, they used the cancer to bring glory to God and bless people. Julie not only taught Bethy to laugh through severe trials, she reinforced her faith and strengthened it like no one else could. Apart from other children in the hospital, Julie was the only other person Bethy knew at the time who could relate to her and know what she was going through. This was a priceless gift and I am forever grateful for all Julie poured on our daughter who became precious to her.

They formed a bond that went beyond cancer. You see, Julie got it! She understood her purpose in life. She understood the big picture. She lived beyond herself and exemplified the Christ- life in a powerful way that gave Bethany a tangible example to follow as she too suffered in her body. It was a gift I could not give my daughter. It was a gift Julie’s beloved daughters could not give to her. It was unique and it was a God-ordained mutual blessing to them both, of that I am certain.

The two of them used to talk quite openly about the time they would be freed of their cancer. They knew without a shadow of a doubt that their God could heal them in an instant and they boldly asked Him to do just that. But then they would laugh and say, “Well if He says no then it is because He needs up us there. We are fun, party girls and He might need us to liven things up for Him!”

In the year after Bethany went Home, Julie would often text me to check up on how I was traveling.  We would often go for a long power-walk and talk together in those early days of grief.  God seemed to bring her along just at the right time when I was falling into despair, the trauma and heartbreak too hard to bear alone.

Julie would cheer me up – reminding me of God’s promises and was not afraid, like some, to fondly chat away about my girl. It became more obvious to me that they really did share some sacred moments in that room and that they loved each other deeply.

One day, I texted Julie to say, “I’m in need of a good Julie laugh – can we go for a walk today?” She replied straight away and came over. But just as she arrived, it began to team with rain. She laughed and dared me to go out anyway. We were absolutely drenched within a minute and laughed and laughed as rain pelted us hard in the face all along the way. The wind swept up our useless umbrellas and we just kept laughing in the face of this storm. She was such good medicine for my soul.

Oh yes, she will be remembered.

The next day I received an amusing message from her about how her wet shoes were stinking out her entire house – and we laughed again.

Walking with Julie lasted for a sweet season. In the last days of her illness, Julie could not walk well. She became fragile and during my last visit with her, I massaged those dear legs that had walked many miles with me and were now failing her.

“Look at the poor darlings. They are just like little chicken legs the poor things!”

Right until the end I saw something in Julie I desperately wanted. The ability to truly see and grasp truth, even through the darkness of suffering and death. She saw things with the eyes of Jesus and sought to hold fast to His perspective – while continuing to be real and laugh about it all!

Julie loved to share with people how much Bethany’s life and legacy meant to her. Right until the end she was thrilled with me to see the glimpses of the beauty the Lord is bringing from ashes of our story. She would often encourage me that God has ALL under control and it will ALL be good! I know she believed these promises for herself and lived them out fully. What an incredible legacy she has left for those of us left to still to travail the valley of the shadow of death.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise and call her blessed; her husband also praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works be praised at the city gate. Proverbs 31:25-31

My heart feels Julie’s loss keenly, but this precious woman has made a unique and indelible mark. Our personal encounter with this ‘one-in-a-million’ woman is just one of many that I look forward to hearing about across eternity. I know this big-hearted, crazy, loveable woman made her mark on countless hearts and will always be remembered for so many beautiful things. It will take eternity to count them all!

Like Bethany, Julie will be remembered as one who poured out her life unto death for her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. She lived out the BE Blessings principle in sickness and in health. She was the Light of Christ in our dark world and will shine forever.  Like Mary of Bethany, another kindred spirit, I believe these words ring out in her honor…

“Throughout the world what this woman has done will be remembered and discussed.” (Jesus, Matthew 26:13)

In coming days you will hear many say, “This woman was an inspiration.” But what does that mean? What has Julie Leitch inspired us to do? What has she inspired us to BE? I think this one little word sums it up… love.

Julie has inspired us to love Jesus more. To love people more, especially those in need. She has helped us to love ourselves more and to love the life God has given us. Because of Julie, we are inspired to live lightly and to love laughter.

Her last conversation with me in person included her heart felt desire to go on ministering to her students at Plenty Valley Christian College. In spite of her pain and desire to be with the Lord, she wanted to continue to help others to come to know Him – especially young people in the midst of their life struggles.

Julie had discovered ‘the secret’ and wanted the world to know! I am confident that this part of her legacy will live on in the lives of the many students she has already influenced for eternity. Like Bethany and countless other saints who have gone before her, the enemy called ‘death’ cannot possibly stop the life-giving legacy of those who have put their trust in Jesus Christ in life and in death.

‘Death ‘has been swallowed up in victory and a new chapter in Julie’s life is just beginning! (Isaiah 25:8-9) She will be forever remembered by the Lord.

I will treasure the last words I received from her, just days prior to her passing, which simply said, “Thanks my dear friend.” (With loads of emoji love hearts to finish off what would be her final text message to me.)

I don’t know if she really had much to thank me for compared to what she gave me. Oh Julie, how I will miss you until we meet again. You will always be remembered and cherished in my heart of hearts.

Your life and the love you gave us challenges me to be remembered for all the right, eternal things that matter. Thanks my dear friend!

Through my tears, as I sit and try to recall our precious shared memories, I think I can hear the echo of Julie’s words to Bethany those years ago…

“Let the party begin!”

Oh you still make me laugh Jules!  Just weeks ago you promised me that you would give my Bethy a huge hug from her mummy and I am sure you have already fulfilled that promise.

“She will probably be angry at me for making her wait so long! I told her I would be following close behind, not nearly five years later!”

I don’t think she will be angry dear one but absolutely delighted to be with you again. I can imagine you hugging, jumping up and down, running and dancing together. I imagine Jesus swinging you both around and together you are throwing your heads back and laughing – yes, definitely laughing.

Let There BE Light!

 

Have you see the new Star Wars movie yet? If not, you may be in the minority according to the latest stats. The seventh instalment of this epic science fiction saga looks set to break all box office records and whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny it possesses a powerful magnetic force that draws in millions of fans.

After watching The Force Awakens I have found myself thinking about a few things, particularly as I get ready to enter into a brand new year. There is something about the universal battle the whole series portrays that intrigues me. You know what I mean…  ‘good vs. evil’; ‘beauty vs. ugliness’; ‘justice vs. injustice’ and  ‘light vs. darkness’ – that kind of stuff. While I think that most of us are aware that Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knights, Darth Vader and his dark cohorts don’t really exist, the truth is the battle they enact really does!

Whether we realize it or not friends, we are involved in an all-consuming, all-encompassing life vs. death battle that overarches all time and space. We are at war against spiritual forces that do not simply lie in the minds of the Star Wars creators in a galaxy far, far away, a long time ago. Whether we comprehend the ongoing war or not, according to the Bible we are either surrendering to or engaging in spiritual battles every moment of every day right here and now on planet earth!

I don’t know about you, but the last few years have seemed pretty dark to me. Personally and globally things have gone on that are so unjust, so ugly and definitely belong in the category of the dark side.

When I focus in on these dark things, I feel myself being pulled into a vortex of despair. It often seems like the dark nature is a force that is winning and there is nothing I can do about it. But here is some Good News… there is a Winner! The dark side has lost and the Light has defeated it! The main battle has actually been won by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I declare these things in faith while facing the sobering reality that there is still a mission to be completed in me and through me before I can fully enjoy the spoils of His victory. God’s massive rescue plan, a huge clean up job and desperate ongoing struggles are still in progress while we breath the earth’s oxygen – and it is getting harder to breathe the toxic waste and see through the hazy poison.

OK, that being said, because I live with an awareness of the dark side swarming around me with, bombarding me with its incessant whispers of subtle enticements that seek to destroy me and lure my soul into its murky depths, I have to guard the cracks of my mind and heart and regularly sure them up. I have to make sure I am listening to the right voice and seeing with eyes that have been opened to the Light. I do this by keeping Jesus, my Light and Salvation (Psalm 27:1), intentionally before me. I listen, I watch and hold fast to His promises in the midst of darkness. His Word is the light to my path and helps me to navigate my way home in the dark of the night as I take each step forward (Psalm 119:105).

Yes, I desperately need to know how to live life right now in this dark place and I want to share with you this one little thing that has become a habit each New Year and helped me, and may help you too.

Word-of-the-Year…

On New Year’s Day I ask God for a personal word-of-the-year. I need a simple truth I can hold onto, grow into and allow to transform me in the darkness. In 2015, God gave me the word HOPE and it has been extraordinary journey learning about what it means to have true hope in this dark world. So I am not surprised that for this year the word He has given me leads directly on. You guessed it – my word for this year is… LIGHT!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said. “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw the light was good…  (Genesis 1:2-4)

We have just celebrated Christmas together and I love these verses spoken out from the prophet Isaiah thousands of years ago…

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:2 & 6)

This prophecy was fulfilled as Jesus Christ came into the world. He came as light. True hope had awakened and the match was struck…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:1-5)

Not only has Jesus, the Light of the World, entered the world, but He has come into my world too and pierced through my darkness and despair. All I can see right now is a shard of light but I believe with my whole heart there is more. All I am is a candle alight with His love, but I believe one day I will be more. I believe that one day I will see His face and the full light of His glory and eternity spread out before me will dawn. What a day that will be!

So yes, darkness still overshadows me and tempts me at times and I feel it keenly. Darkness still swirls around me as I walk through this life with my feet planted on the earth, and it appears that my little candlelight flickers near point of extinction at times in the face of stormy winds. But you know what? Jesus’ life and light IN me is sealed and protected and makes all the difference!

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Friends, I hope that you too choose to follow Him this year and beyond. If we belong to Jesus Christ, we are now Children of the Day! The darkness may attempt to overtake us, threaten us, pull us in and scare us – BUT WE NO LONGER BELONG TO THE DARKNESS  (1Thessalonians 5:5).

So let us live out the rest of these God ordained days in the light of His grace. Let us BE the light. Let us grab our ‘light-sabers’ (His Word described as the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ in Ephesians 6:17) this year with the authority He has bestowed upon us as His royal children. Let us allow His light to illuminate in and through us in a way that will cut through darkness and create a magnetic light force that compels others into the light. Let us BE a lighthouse pointing the way to THE Lighthouse!

“God is light and in him is no darkness. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1John 1:5b-7)

You can be assured that this New Year is going to bring fresh battles and that the pull toward the dark side will be a strong whirlpool. But the LIGHT IN US is stronger! We need each other and as we band together , perhaps we can re-write the title of our epic battle to read…

‘REAL WARS – THE CHURCH AWAKENS!’

Have a blessed New Year in Jesus Christ. May you enjoy Him and walk in the light of His love more and more.  LET THERE BE LIGHT! I can’t wait to see you shine!

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Amen!

 

Week 52 – BE Glorified in Jesus Christ!

 

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

Well, we have arrived at the end of the journey – the point in the story where Beth’s life here on earth ended and her real life with Jesus began. On 5 March 2011 Bethany Joy was delivered from her mortal, diseased and broken body and set free to immortality in Christ!  This week is her earthly birthday week. 31 March 2014 marks 19 years since we were granted the great pleasure of bringing our Brown Eyed Beauty into the world! Oh what a joy she has brought us! What a gift to us all. We miss her intensely but are so grateful for such a treasure from the heart of God.

Our sincere thanks for being willing to go the hard miles with us throughout this year-long pilgrimage. Yes, it took us to dark places as we sojourned the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but we hope you have also seen glimpses of glorious light along the way, like we have.

I am going to miss writing these weekly blogs, but it is time to let Beth’s story go out into the big wide world and to release her testimony into God’s hands in a fresh way. Friends, the purpose of a Christian testimony is to encourage those of us still on the pilgrimage Home and to give God glory! The appropriate response of those who hear a faith-filled story and witness a life well lived in Christ is to bow and worship the living God, giving Him all the honor and thanks. (See Galatians 1:22-24.)

It is no good if you leave us now with just admiration for an inspiration girl. No! That was not what Beth’s life and suffering was about. Remember her desire that her life would be all about Jesus and point others to Him – giving God MUCH glory? Please bear with me for a moment longer as I leave just a few more things with you that I hope will encourage you to keep moving forward into ALL God’s promises and purposes for you and your family, no matter what your circumstance…

Around 18 months after Beth’s passing into glory, the Lord gave me the gift of a retreat where He did some deep healing in my life. There, Jesus gave me an image of the way He walked so closely with Beth throughout her ordeal. His gaze was fixed on her, just as her eyes were fixed on Him. They actually laughed together and they were totally enamored with each other. At the diagnosis He held out His hand and said, “Come with Me beloved and let’s show others how to do this journey well! You’ve said you will follow Me wherever I will lead so let’s go!  I’ve already paved the way for you and I will be with you every single step of the way like no one else can.” And so she took His hand and trusted Him like never before. When she could walk no longer, He held her and carried her Home.

I came home from the retreat with fresh faith to believe that while on the surface it looks like Beth’s life was robbed and stolen, in fact her life was given, not taken. Bethany was called by Jesus to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with Him and thus paving the way for others to follow behind. Her story shows us that even in the direst circumstances, when we are in Christ, there is nothing to fear.

In the same kind of spirit as John the Baptist, God is using Bethany Joy to ‘preparing the way of the Lord’ in the hearts of those following close behind. We used to live in Papua New Guinea and several times have had to cut through dense jungle. I was always so grateful for the guide who with machete in hand, slashed through the thick tangle of vines and grass that impeded our progress. It was hot and hard work. On a shared spiritual journey, it seems that some are given the arduous task of paving the way in a similar fashion. The first one guiding the rest takes on responsibility, carries an extra load and experiences added pain in order to alleviate some of the burden for others following their footsteps. Jesus Christ has ultimately paved the way Home for us but the path can be pretty rocky, unclear and difficult to follow at times. Thankfully, He has raised up other tangible examples for us to follow – Beth being one of them! Beth followed Jesus with abandon and if we follow her example of faith along the path she has forged, it will lead to life! The first one through gains the extra reward of arriving Home first! Battered and weary but gloriously Home! Please follow her Home friends and BE Glorified in Jesus!

So here is how this story ends – or begins! Will you choose with us in your time of loss and suffering to…

BE BELIEVERS – not doubters?

BE WORSHIPPERS– not worriers?

BE FRUITFUL – not barren?

BE BETTER– not bitter?

BE INHERITORS of ALL of God’s promises – or miss out?

BE FULL OF LIFE – not death?

BE BRIMMING WITH– not hopelessness?

BE OVERFLOWING WITH JOY – not despair?

BE BLESSINGS to others and glorify God in absolutely everything?

BE GLORIFIED with and in and through Jesus Christ – the One who will make ALL things new – forever!

AMEN– let it be so!

Songs to Encourage You:

Would You Dare to Believe by Josh Wilson

You’re Already There by Casting Crowns

Blessed Assurance Fanny Crosby*

It is Well with my Soul by Horatio Spafford*

* Check out the stories of these amazing people who have also been used by God to pave the way Home for us!

Books to build you up:

This week’s Bible passage gives us a wonderful description of Heaven and helps to get us excited about our new eternal Home! Both David and I took delight in reading several books about Heaven to Beth during the last stages of her illness. Here are some of the ones we discovered that greatly blessed us and increased our longing to BE Glorified in Jesus

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Lyn Vincent

Poetry and Images to Inspire: Akiane Kramarik

Week 51 – BE Held!

 

This week’s chapter in Heartbreakingly Beautiful came from a place deep within me that I had no desire to share. I still feel very raw about this particular period of the journey and it all feels intensely personal. I am trusting God to use this vulnerability to help at least one more soul going through the same kind of torture.

This was the day in my life when sheer darkness enveloped my soul and only by the grace of God did I come through it. I could hold onto God no longer, and for a time didn’t even want to. But I know now that He was still holding onto me and as I accepted His loving embrace, oh the rays of light He has shed to reveal what was really going on during this time!

But as you read through this week’s devotional, please know that at the time, I did not feel God holding me. In fact, I felt utterly cold and abandoned that horrible day. I had a great need to BE Held, but just sat in the corner pushing every form of physical, emotional and spiritual comfort away.

There are times in your life when nothing else will do but a great big hug! Psychologists tell us that we actually need hugs to survive and thrive in life. When the pain is so intense and words do not suffice, our human being (made up of body, soul and spirit) has a desperate craving to BE Held. We may have the blessing of people in our lives who can hold us for a while, protecting like a father or comforting like a mother as we weep, rock and moan in our suffering. But much more than this, our very spirits need to BE Held and there is only One who has the right to hold and can actually fulfill this need properly. The Word of God clearly tells us that God, our Creator, is holding us as Father, Mother, Brother, Rescuer and Friend throughout all our trials. Here is just one gem and perhaps you can find some more…

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!” Deut 33:27

Thank you Lord that in spite of, and through all my dark feelings, you were with us – You are with us!  Your hold is tender, firm, secure and never-ending!

There is a great difference between someone carrying a sack of potatoes and carrying a precious child. I am so grateful that our Father not only carries us, but that He also holds us close to His heart. When we think of being carried by the Father or being carried Home by Jesus, we need to imagine ourselves being held very close to His chest, not at arms length. Babies and children who trust their parents will nestle in, relax in the carrying and allow the whole embrace and presence of the parent to envelop them.

This week, yet another family connected to ours has had to say ‘goodbye for now’ to a precious loved one. While they have full assurance that Mum is with God now and that her suffering is over, they are hurting bad – as you may be too. Yes, they too are being held and carried by Jesus through this dark valley, just as we were. But it is often very hard to have a sense of His arms around us when the pain is so intense. My prayer for them is that they will be aware that they are held in His love and grace. May they choose to nestle into His strong arms and cry on His broad shoulders through their days of sorrow.

At the end of the road, there is One who desires and is able to carry us through. His loving arms are open.  Receive His embrace, hop on His lap and BE Held dear ones, just BE Held.

Songs to encourage you:

Be Held by Casting Crowns

Held by Natalie Grant

He Will Carry Me by Mark Schultz

I Was Carried by Roma Waterman

 

Footprints in the Sand:

One night I had a dream…

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
 across the sky flashed scenes from my life. 
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; 
 One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. 
When the last scene of my life flashed before us, 
 I looked back at the footprints in the sand. 
 I noticed that many times along the path of my life, 
 there was only one set of footprints. 
 I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life. 
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, 
 You would walk with me all the way; 
 but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, 
 there is only one set of footprints. 
 I don’t understand why in times when I
 needed you the most, you should leave me.”
 The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
 child. I love you, and I would never, 
 never leave you during your times of 
trial and suffering. 
 When you saw only one set of footprints, 
 it was then that I carried you.” Author unknown

Week 50 – BE a Pure, Radiant and Joyful Bride!

“I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

This week’s chapter in Heartbreakingly Beautiful belongs to Beth’s Daddy. He was able to lead her to the threshold of her Eternal Home and take her down the aisle to hand her to her Bridegroom Jesus.

Our wonderful son is recently engaged to be married and so weddings are on my mind quite a bit at the moment. Oh how our Beth dreamed of being a bride one day! I grieve that I will not see the fulfillment of this dream here on earth. But the Lord has comforted my heart through His Word, yet again, in this matter too. Our Beth is not going to miss out on being a bride – no way! Bible teacher Beth Moore teaches us more about what it means to be the Bride of Christ in her powerful Bible Study, Breaking Free. She comments that every little girl has at least four dreams and I tend to agree with her because they are the same dreams I had as a little girl, and they are the same dreams that Beth and my other girls share:

(1) To be a bride; (2) To be beautiful; (3) To be fruitful (which we usually define as having children); (4) To live happily ever after. Pretty basic hey! (The dreams little boys have tend to be more along the lines of being warriors and saving the princesses – but you get the picture J)

If we capture the truth in our imaginations that we are eternally youthful, beautiful, fresh, fruitful brides in Christ’s eyes, everything changes! This is the very thing the enemy of our souls does not want us to understand. If we grasp this fact, then we will live life differently. We will live our lives with great expectation and spend it in preparing ourselves to be ready to meet the One our hearts truly long for: Jesus Christ face-to-face, embrace-to-embrace.

This week’s Bible passage in Revelation is one that shows us that all these bridal dreams will be met in Christ. And what amazing things our Bridegroom has in store for His beloved bride! He even comes to rescue us on a white horse! (See Revelation 19:11.) Hey, where do you think they get the raw material from for all those fairy tales if not from the resounding echo of the true story and the aching eternity in our hearts? Friends, it is planted deep within us – ALL of us long for ‘happily ever after’ and to live in the realm of great beauty and perfection – loved, cherished and fruitful forever! Yes, thank you Lord that all of Bethany Joy’s dreams, and mine, will be fulfilled in greater measure than we can currently see.

David and I have just celebrated 25 years of marriage and we are so grateful for the rich blessing of our union. We are fortunate to say that we have a ‘good’ marriage. Not perfect, but very good. But through all that has happened, even our very good marriage is not enough to satisfy and take away all the pain. I am not being ungrateful here. I am just saying that if you currently desire to be in a marriage relationship, or are living with a difficult one, it is easy to think that all of life’s problems will be solved through a good marriage. However, if you do venture down that path, then you are in for a disappointment.  Remember, all good marriages are a mere reflection of the real one – that between Christ and all who love Him.

So in the midst of all life situations, we would be wise to keep our hearts pure, waiting in wonder for the consummation of our eternal union with Jesus Christ. It is only by placing ourselves under His cleansing blood that all our filth can be covered. In Him, we can indeed BE Pure, Radiant and Joyful Brides – a reality we can live in right now, even while we wait.

To finish, here is a bit more biblical bridal imagery for you to ponder this week…

“The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace!” Psalm 45:13-15

The Parable of the Ten Virgins:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25

Songs to encourage you:

Come Away With Me by Jesus Culture

Coming To Take You Away by Kerrie Roberts

Beloved by Kari Jobe

Walking Her Home by Mark Schultz

As a young teenager, Bethany came to love the songs of Mark Schultz, a talented American songwriter. Mark’s songs weave poignant, inspirational stories that tend to bring a lump to the throat of even the bravest warrior!  Beth’s favorite song was called Walking Her Home.  It speaks of the beauty of an earthly marriage and much more. I realized that Beth understood the song’s significance when we were traveling in the car one day, just before she fell ill. I turned around to see her sitting in the back seat listening to this song with tears streaming down her face. Little did she know then that she would soon meet her beloved Jesus and need Daddy to walk her Home.

A book to build you up:

His Princess Bride by Sheri Rose Shepherd

A little more inspiration:

In the weeks after the Christmas of 2010, we read aloud to Beth from her ‘life journal’. This was a little notebook where I had recorded all of her significant life events, including lots of funny things she had said and done. I had intended to give her this keepsake on the day she left home to start her own family. Now instead, David and I read it to her to help prepare her for her real departing and Homecoming.  It was a painful experience, but the exercise also brought a lot of laughs as we remembered our funny, outgoing ‘Bethy to the Max’!

The other children were usually with us as we read and we are so grateful that we had the opportunity to remember the good times together in this way. After advice from the doctors that her hearing was not yet affected by the disease and by witnessing small responses from her, we were confident that Beth heard all the love we spoke into her life during this time.  She was loved and knew she was loved – what a gift! Maybe you could think about recording significant life events for you and your loved ones in some way. Journaling works well for me, but maybe music, photos, video or arts and crafts are your thing?  Ask the Lord to help you create records of special memories in ways that are not burdensome to you. It is important to be able to recall and enjoy all He has done while blessing others in the process!

Week 49 – BE Quenched with Living Water!

 

We are drawing to the end of our journey together in Heartbreakingly Beautiful. Over those last weeks of her life, Beth lost all ability to move any part of her body. So in order to change her clothing, we needed at least three people to roll her, hold her and care for her needs. As her mum, I could no longer bear changing her ‘nappies’ and hearing her painful moaning during the process. It was around that time that a couple of close friends came to my rescue and took over for me. David managed Beth’s personal care with the help of those treasured friends, and I am forever grateful for the care they gave my girl at a time when I no longer could. Those girlfriends who helped were deeply affected seeing Beth in her miserable plight, yet I know they cherished her and wanted to care for her while protecting me at the same time. Girls, the Lord saw all you did and your reward is great!

While we were living through Beth’s horrendous ordeal, the concept of any kind of  ‘good’ coming from that miserable time seemed absolutely impossible!  However, in the time that has followed since her suffering and death, David & I have come to recognize that God is using aspects of Beth’s life as a kind of metaphor to teach other seeking people some eternal, Kingdom of Heaven principles.

For instance, this week’s lesson on what it means to spiritually thirst. Have you enjoyed the sea theme of the book? The theme is not just for visual affect. It has been our hope and prayer that going deeper into Beth’s story has made you thirsty for much more than this temporary life can offer. Many have prayed over Heartbreakingly Beautiful that it would be ‘salty’ and make people thirsty for the righteousness of God and the abundant life He offers. Beth’s life ‘tasted’ different. She did not follow the flavor of the world in the way she lived and died. Indeed, in and through all her imperfections and trials, she was the ‘salt and light’ Jesus asked her to be and because of her testimony, many are praising God. (See Matthew 5:13-16.)  Yes, many thirsty souls are learning what it means to BE Quenched with Living Water.

Jesus says this in Matthew 5:6… “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” What are you thirsty for at the moment? I have learned that not all of my thirst needs to be quenched in the way I think it does. Maybe what we think we are thirsty for is not really what we actually need. Jesus Christ, the Living Water of God, offers to quench our deep, inner thirst like nothing else can. He invites us to come and drink from His well of life that flows like a never-ending fountain!

But sadly, I still take visits to other wells, other places of temporary refreshment in order to try to quench my inner thirst. Going to the Living Water takes discipline and the route to get to the well of Jesus usually involves such work as forgiveness, repentance, swallowing pride and moving through the cloud of negative feelings, etc. So, sometimes I try to take short cuts and drink from the ‘stagnant pools’ and ‘dirty cups’ I find along the way. Sources of ‘dead water’ that are readily found without me doing the hard miles. I get lazy and tired. Oh Lord help me learn once and for all that there is only one true Fount that can satisfy and that You are worth crawling over the hot, dry, rocky dessert to get to. You Lord are worth every single, painstaking step to the Source at the top of the mountain – please help me!

It seems from scripture that God’s people have always had the tendency to try to take short cuts in the dessert. We seem to be born with the inclination to be drawn to lesser things to satisfy our thirst. The prophet Jeremiah addressed these matters of the heart…

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13

“Those who turn away from you LORD will be written in the dust because they have forsaken you, the spring of living water.” Jeremiah 17:13b

Why do we keep drinking in the wrong places? I believe the answer is not too far away but alludes many. Those of us who have by faith embraced Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour have received eternal life as a free gift – wow! But as Bible teacher Beth Moore puts it, “We freely receive salvation, but we have to seek satisfaction.” The gift of salvation in Christ does not mean that all our needs are automatically satisfied in Him. Yes, the salvation is totally free, but the working out of that salvation and finding true satisfaction in Christ will cost us absolutely everything!

The truth is, we want the satisfaction part for free too, but it does not work that way. Jesus Christ, the Living Water of God wants to come and fill every single crevice of our parched lives. He invites us to dive down deep into Him where we can be completely satisfied and have our thirst totally extinguished. But all of this does not just happen. There are daily choices to make here. There will be some work to do. In order to BE Quenched with Living Water, you and I are going to have to make some tough decisions. Choosing the high road to travel to the living well, the fountain of Jesus, takes a truckload of courage and some determined intentionality! Let’s lock arms and take the journey together – it will be so worth it!

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters… “ Isaiah 55:1

Are you not thirsty? said the Lion.

I am dying of thirst, said Jill.

Then drink, said the Lion.

I could but would you mind going away while I do? said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.

The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.

Will you promise not to do anything to me, if I do come? said Jill.

I make no promise, said the Lion.

Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.

Do you eat girls? she said.

I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms, said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

I dare not come and drink, said Jill

Then you will die of thirst, said the Lion.

Oh dear, said Jill, coming another step nearer. I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.

There is no other stream, said the Lion.

C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair

Songs to encourage you:

Come to The Well by Casting Crowns

Hurt and the Healer by MercyMe

A book to build you up:

Come Thirsty by Max Lucado