Painting the fence

Sometimes our prayers seem unanswered


This week  I was painting our garden fence.  As I did so I was reflecting on the people I had prayed for on Sunday (I am part of the prayer team at our church) . I was thinking about how each week  as I pray for people I long to see miracles in their lives.

As I painted with upward and downward strokes I was reminded of the film The Karate Kid. Danny LaRusso asks Mr Miyagi to help him learn to fight.  Mr Miyagi tells him to paint the fence. Another time he tells him to polish the car with circular motions, “Wax on, Wax off”.

Danny is naturally disappointed and frustrated because he can’t see what the point is. He feels like a slave to Mr Miyagi. He came to him asking for something and he wasn’t giving it to him. Instead he was making him do menial tasks. He couldn’t have been further from the truth. The day comes when he enters the karate competition. As he fights we can see the up and down motion and the circular motion come into play. He has built up muscle memory.

Sometimes our prayers seem unanswered, sometimes we get an answer we weren’t looking for -“Trust me”, “Keep going”, “Not yet.” We know that God can help us and that He can work miracles through us. Indeed He has said “Greater works than these shall you do.” but perhaps we still aren’t seeing the answers to those prayers. Sometimes we may feel that we are just going through the motions, up and down, up and down. Does God even hear me? Does He care about me? Disappointment can take a grip on our lives.

I am encouraged  that each time I pray I am exercising those faith muscles. Each time I pray I am expressing my  trust in God. Each time I pray I am submitting to the Lordship and sovereignty of God. Each time I pray I am talking to the One who knows best for me, who loves me and those I pray for. Each time I pray I am photo-1437603568260-1950d3ca6eabconnecting with the One who has the power to  answer and has promised to hear my prayers. Each time I pray I am being obedient to God. Each time I pray I am opening myself up to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. Each time I pray I am co-labouring with the Holy Spirit. Each time I pray I take the focus off myself and onto God. I am strengthened as I consider Him. There is so much that I don’t see when I pray because it is not tangible and physical; I can’t see what God is building into my life and the lives of those I pray for.

I can choose not to be disappointed and frustrated and in the meantime keep looking to the One who is able to do far more abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.

Now I can imagine a lot of things I can imagine the joy of seeing someone healed, seeing the lame walk and the blind see,  seeing cancers healed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see God do even more than this? So I am going to keep on praying because  I will only see a miracle by continuing to pray in impossible situations. Mark Batterson* says that “100 percent of the prayers I don’t pray won’t get answered. ”

I have decided I will keep painting that fence, I will keep praying.


*Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears




Walking through

My Father God loved me yesterday, He loves me today and He will always love me


Last year I was treated for Breast Cancer. I had always thought that I could cope with most things but I wasn’t too sure about cancer. It is something I suppose that most of us dread. When it actually came to it I found God to be an “ever present help in time of need”. Ps 46:1 

 After being recalled to the clinic following a mammogram I had more  scans; the doctor told me that there was a lump which, if  cancerous, would be treatable. A nurse explained to us that we would see a consultant for the diagnosis following the results of a biopsy;  she also said that if it was cancerous it would be treatable.

 Rob and I walked back home through the park, hand in hand,wondering if this was what she said to everyone and if she was preparing us for what she already knew was a diagnosis of cancer. I remember us saying that cancer doesn’t change anything – my Father God loved me yesterday, He loves me today and He will always love me. Cancer is only a word. I can choose not to give it power over

Following the biopsy I was recalled earlier than expected, so I felt that it was not going to be good news. I wasn’t frightened I just had a sense that I would have to walk through this. The day before the appointment I was in a prayer meeting when a friend of mine prophesied over me. Part of the prophetic word was that I would walk through having breast cancer. It was so brave to bring a word like this when others had been praying for healing but I knew it was God speaking.

As Rob and I were given the diagnosis the next day we were both very calm, we had been prepared by our Father. It wasn’t a surprise to us. Both the Doctor and the nurse who were with us questioned whether we understood the diagnosis, I think because we didn’t react with any sort of shock or surprise. Actually we already knew.

There is a tremendous blessing and power in prophetic words. Of course they must always be weighed carefully. This word was in line with what God had already been speaking to us.

It not only prepared us for bad news but it also sustained us. We were encouraged that I would walk through this, I was not going to die, it was going to be ok. We have frequently reminded ourselves of  this . Walking through became the motif for all I went through with my goodness bag in hand. As I underwent difficult procedures, through the operation and recovery period, radiotherapy and even the latest mammogram (all clear) I felt that all I had to do was to keep walking. I was very conscious that if God had said that I would walk through this then I could do just that. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me “(Phil 4:13) I also meditated on the fact that the Lord is with me everywhere I go whether it is the operating theatre or the valley of the shadow of death. (Ps 23)

This word also encouraged us that God knew about us, He was in this with us. It helped us when we prayed every day for healing from cancer. We found it very helpful to pray through scriptures about healing. (A helpful book is Healed of Cancer by Dodie Osteen).

Now that a year has passed since the operation, I am reflecting that of course we are all called to walk through our lives whatever they may bring. Some days we can barely put one foot in front of another, other days we are full of energy and we could climb mountains. We do just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and entrusting ourselves to God. Wherever we find ourselves I am confident that there is one who walks beside us cheering us on as we keep walking.



I’m not like them

“Comparison is the thief of joy”.

You are not meant to be like anyone else because you are a unique creation. You are the person you are by design. You are the way God made you to be.

So often I have struggled because I didn’t think I was like other people; I didn’t have their gifting, I didn’t have their looks, I didn’t have their cleaning gene, I didn’t have friends, I didn’t have their godliness, I loved reading/they didn’t, I wasn’t married/they were, I loved studying/they didn’t – the list goes on and on.

Theodore Roosevelt said that comparison is the thief of joy. That’s so true.Comparison imprisons us and holds us back. It lies to us. It tells us that we are not this enough or that  enough – that we are not enough. Feelings of inadequacy cripple us, we can feel shame about our shortcomings. Comparison breeds insecurity.

When God had finished His creation He “saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good”(Gen 1:31) We are part of that beautiful creation with all its diversity. Ps 139 says that God knitted us together in our mother’s womb (v13). We are a unique creation each one different to another. Our uniqueness contributes to the multi-faceted, multi-coloured diversity that is the kingdom of God.


Each of us has a unique path that only we can walk. We all have so much to give but it will have different expressions. Our individual character and strengths will be invaluable in any team we are part of as there will not be anyone else quite like you. We are meant to complement one another not to be clones of each other.

I am part of a team of women who are all so very different. We have learned to appreciate one another’s unique contribution to the team and to actively encourage it. Some of us are articulate, some are introvert, some extrovert, some are incredibly creative, some have amazing spiritual insight, some have incredible faith to pray for the sick, some have great wisdom, some are able to take any opportunity to pray for people they meet and to share the gospel with them. We have learned to make room for one another because we need and value what each one has to bring to the team. In an environment of encouragement we have each grown in confidence to be the people that we truly are. We need each other.

We could spend our whole lives wishing we were “more like him” or had “a ministry like her” but our Father has already given us everything we need for life and godliness. We already have all that we need to prosper in God’s kingdom. It is a huge relief to finally realise that it is ok to be me with all my quirks and idiosyncrasies. Not only that, but to learn that I can be totally confident and at ease with myself and that’s ok. It is all because I have a Father who loves me. He is the one who validates who I am.




Photo Credit: Emu © Tonis Valing Dreamstime Stock Photos

Breaking the Jar

Making a costly sacrifice


Matthew 26:6-11 The woman with the alabaster jar.

In this passage the woman broke open her alabaster jar and anointed Jesus’ head with the ointment. What was it like for her to give away something so costly, something she had expected to hold on to? This woman chose not to hold onto her jar but to break it. She had counted the cost to herself but decided to give it as an offering to Jesus and she has been remembered ever since for her sacrifice. .

There are times when we may have to give up something that is precious to us in order to enjoy all that God has for us next. These are pivotal moments in our lives. Even good things can hold us back from what God has in store for us. It can be painful to let go of things that are precious to us – our ministry, the way I like things to be, the project I’ve been a part of for a long time, our beautiful home, a relationship etc. It can be difficult to navigate. We can feel powerless and adrift.

However we can take control – instead of reacting or retreating we can break the jar ourselves. We can release our hold on the thing that is precious to us.

As you do, do it for no one but Jesus. Not for those around you, not for your church leaders but just for Him. Make a pure offering to God as an act of worship. In the very act of breaking your jar, there is an incredible power released. There is freedom through the pain. There are new delights to discover.

Jesus said “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt.16:16 ESV) I have to ask myself, “Do I really believe that this is true” And more specifically “Is it true for me”. Whatever circumstance I am in, the fact is that the story of my life is part of a much bigger story.

During a difficult season in our lives my husband Rob and I struggled to understand what was happening to us. We talked out our pain with good friends, we asked God for his solution and entrusted ourselves to Him. It was a rocky ride but we weathered the storm. We gave our “jar” to God and broke it as an offering to Him.

It can be messy and painful but I know that God always has more for us, He is always good and He loves us. There is more to learn about Him, more to do for Him, more to experience of the Holy Spirit, in fact there’s more in every aspect of our lives. We may not see the bigger picture from where we are standing but our lives are caught up in an eternal story and one day we will see it from heaven’s perspective.