Linking up with Tania Vaughan's new blog series, to proactively take Sunday into the rest of the week. Sundays are suddenly different. Not better not worse - just different. After 33 years, my husband is no longer a full time priest; nor am  I on a church staff any more. I am just - JUST!  - a normal pew filler. Well, chair occupier. And it's different from the back row than the front one.

Especially where we are now going to 'church.' I say church advisedly - we meet in Komedia, "Bath's award-winning venue for comedy, music, cabaret and club nights " as it describes itself. So yesterday the floor was sticky - noisily sticky. It's a dark theatre with no windows. And we sit on theatre-type red plush velvet chairs.

Its not Anglican. We are even having a sabbatical from that.

Two baskets are passed around after the worship. One is to contribute financially if one feels prompted to do so - we are told there is no pressure and certainly not for visitors; the other is - oh joy!  - full of sweets! Help yourself to something to chew/suck/delight in during the talk. Red love hearts of dark chocolate. Miniature tubes of parma violets and love hearts. Lollipops.

Yesterday, I took 2 red shiny papered chocolate hearts. Smoothed the empty papers and folded and refolded as I tried to listen.

But MY heart was full of something else.

Something we had sung.

"And I - I surrender

All to you, All to you ..."

It wasn't the 'normal' surrender - me, my life, my desires, my possessions ....

It was the pain of the previous week.

Surrendering even that. Letting go of my right to the pain.

It was all I had to offer up. I opened palms up, imagined the pain leaning on them.

Here it is, Lord. It's all I have right now to give You.

* * *

Monday morning. Awakening to the memory of the pain.

And the memory of the offering. Offered once, now offered again.

The reality of Sunday's offering needed in the reality of the light of Monday morning.

* * *

And again, a certain relief in the offering. Remembering how it felt the first time. Needing to feel that again - 'seeing' Him on the Cross metaphorically leaning down to take my pain and add it to what is already carried in His body.

Died He for me - who caused His pain?


And for those pains of mine and for those who caused them.

Amazing Grace.

I surrender all to You - even my pain.

And in surrendering, know His grace.

I will need it again tomorrow - and tomorrow - for I forget and the vision leaks.

* * *

Monday is the test of Sunday's reality. To God be the glory. All is gift.


For that hardest of hard days

  They said that Monday was the worst day of the year. But they didn’t know of her darkest, deepest, hardest days. Those black days, each in their own way so terrible she thought she might not survive, might go mad.

January days are short and dark and cold. Days of pain are long and pain comes back – or maybe never goes. What to do, what to do? Where and how to alleviate the pain, to know that spring will come again?

Into the pain come words of hope and there is gratitude for friends who pray, not even asking for what they pray but who support and comfort and are simply THERE.  Often people want to know what they are praying for – and it’s a ruse for prurient curiousity and Christian gossip. Good friends simply pray not necessarily knowing the what and where and how and why.

So she writes of ways to alleviate those January blues. Walks the beach and tries to pray.

Sings harder and louder (where no-one can hear) of grace and mercy and love and peace.

“Lord I come before your throne of grace… Lord of mercy, You have heard my cry; Through the storm You're the beacon, My song in the night...." (R + C Critchley, (c) Kingsway music)

Knows the truth of the Messiah who comes into impossible messes and makes miracles happen.

Gives her broken heart to the One who does real heart transplants and gives her His.  (Ezekial 11:19)

Proves that joy happens when she opens herself to be enveloped by God’s Presence. (Zechariah 8:8)

Needs a month of festival – from sorrow into gladness and mourning into a holiday: Purim, looking forward to a February of fruit and fasting in order to fall back into festival for Easter.

Reads blogs and posts and books and articles that are positive and encouraging.

Learns to skip and jump EVEN when it’s a bad day, when a friend takes her by the hand and skips her down the beach, arms swinging. Says, Smile – even through the tears.

Hears a friend say: God can make something beautiful out of our mess if we hand it over to Him to transform.

Remembers that ALL IS GIFT – even in the brokenness of broken hopes and broken dreams, broken hearts and broken days, the God of all comforts goes on giving and giving. Mending and healing. Transplanting and transforming.

ALL IS GRACE, amazing grace – through Christ alone who translates sorrow into joy, transfigures pain into healing.





(David Adams)

What has helped you most, on those difficultest of days?

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