Categories
Alignment heart

Heart of Stone/Heart of Flesh

Stone pillar, Isle of Lewis. Taken by myself May 2018

My husband and I were discussing the whole thing of the heart of stone which God changes to a heart of flesh and I got to thinking. We have always either been taught, or picked up, in our churches that a heart of stone is something that is hard, feels negative emotions, etc, but that a heart of flesh is joyous, happy and only feels positive emotions – which sort of takes us back to the good box/bad box idea which I looked at a bit in Two Trees. But I don’t think that’s right. See I don’t think following God should be all happy clappy everything is wonderful. I think if we feel that way than we still have that heart of stone.

A heart of flesh is vulnerable, feels things, notices things, is flexible, is free to experience things not encased in boundaries. It is free to be flexible and go with the flow. A heart of flesh will feel hurt and pain, will feel sorrow and anger. It will of course also feel joy and love, carefreeness and happiness. It will feel all these things to a much deeper level that the heart of stone will. But it does not mean it will be pain free. In fact it is the heart of stone which will be more pain free because it is encased in something solid and safe.

I often wonder when we first get to know God and try to follow Jesus that we get confused when we get angry, get hurt, feel sadness, feel pain. I wonder if we try and fight our way of out it. There is a Bethel song that says “sing a little louder” and of singing in the middle of the storm, etc. But what if the pain is too deep? What is you don’t want to sing? What if you just want to curl up on God’s lap and lie there? What if God just wants us to curl up on their lap? What if God doesn’t want us to sing a little louder but to quietly walk through the valley of the shadow of death?

Your heart of flesh is going to let you know what to do and when to do it. I’m not saying it is wrong to sing loudly when things are tough but I think to only do that if your heart of flesh is wanting to. But if it is hardening of heart around what is really going on then that isn’t accepting the heart of flesh God wants you to have.

A dog walking friend was moaning about how at her young niece’s funeral the pastor said that God taken this young girl because he wanted her to live with him. My friend was so hurt that her heart has been hardened away from God. But I do wonder if the pastor was hardened too. If the pastor did not want to weep and bemoan the loss of someone so young. Sometimes it is ok to be angry with God, to shout at them for allowing something one doesn’t like to happen.

Life isn’t all great and plain sailing and with a heart of flesh it will actually be harder. Your heart of stone can protect you whereas your heart of flesh can let you feel. Your heart of flesh can let you full experience what is going on around you, let you be honest and open with yourself and with others, and with God. The heart of stone will keep you safe and closed and maybe not that much help to others.

The heart of flesh will feel the so called negative emotions as much as it feels the so called positive emotions, whereas the heart of stone will keep you safe. The question is – what would you prefer?

Categories
family Menopause

My Sister

Photograph of my sister doing what she loved best, being with horses, probably over 30 years ago!

Today is the 10th anniversary of my sister’s death. She was working as groom at an event, went to the bar that night, had a few drinks, took the wrong exit from the bar. It was pitch dark and she feel into a drainage ditch. Why she went out the wrong way and why no one stopped her going that way are questions I know I have often asked.

But my sister was no saint. She wasn’t one of those people who with all honesty we could say, as you see on too many headlines, was the “salt of the earth”, “made everyone happy” and those other sugary headlines. My sister was hard work. I have memories of her telling me off for rolling cigarettes in a pub on the edge of Virginia Water. I was in a grunge phase at that time. She would tell me I was bring my children up wrong.

When she died she was going through a very public and acrimonious divorce which she was conducting on Facebook accusing her husband of many things. True or not true we will never know. She would also phone me up and scream at me down the phone telling me what an awful wife I was being. She was hard work.

I think observing other women who hit menopause and go suddenly really strange that she was going through some major hormonal imbalance due to menopause which no one ever picked up. Or if they did she never told us. I have other friends, who are no longer friends, who just changed personality in their 40s, totally altered their belief systems and way of living, accused their partners and others close to them of the strangest of things. Something odd goes on.

Again I do believe that with a lot of “women’s issues” that they are dismissed, not looked into closely, or like many things that involved our minds and emotions, are feared and not looked at as they should be.

I do believe we need to start looking at the menopause and the change women go through at this time in more details. There needs to be real help available and we need to talk about it. Though as I know from my daughter it is only now that we really talk about periods and the changes that go on in adolescence.

So we need to get this conversation out in the open. We need stop hiding behind what appears to be some medieval superstition about menstrual blood. These are major changes that go on not just with a woman’s body but with her mind and emotions too. Let’s get this out in the open. And I’m afraid ladies that is going to be up to us to be more open, honest and real about the s**t we go through.

Categories
honest Praise

Life Isn’t Fair

plants struggling to break through the shingle on a beach somewhere taken by Diane Woodrow
Scottish beach – Sept 2019 – taken by myself

I’ve just written an email to some people in my writing group about another member of our group telling them how ill she is and how fast she has deteriorated. It has been therapeutic to me to put all that in words to them but has left me going “life isn’t fair”. Here is a lady who was intelligent, articulate, neat, tidy, organised, independent, one of those women one wants to be when one gets to late 70s/early 80s. Yet over the last few months she has lost weight, lost confidence, lost her independence, now needs her daughter living with her, is refusing to wear clean clothes and even has lost power in her voice. The medical profession doesn’t know if it is physical or mental – my thoughts are probably both – but all they are doing is throwing pills at her because they really do not know what else to do.

What do we do when life isn’t fair? Where do we go? In Joel News they are sharing about Ukrainians praying for peace and praising God though all that is going on, of Yuriy Kulakevych, a national leader in the Pentecostal church in Ukraine sharing about amazing events and miracles There is so much in this email that I would love to share it all but I won’t.. These people are being amazing at focusing on praising God and not bemoaning their circumstances.

I shared the email with a friend and this is what she said –

I think the first thing is positioning ourselves before God with honesty and gratitude then change follows….I remember praising God very intensely a couple of years ago when I was depressed, and became closer to Him/Her than ever before.

Response from a friend that I shared the email with

So my thoughts are when I feel life isn’t fair I need to move into being open and honest with God and then being grateful for God, for the things within the situation, then just praising God for being God not for what is going on, then waiting on God/the Universe to wrap me up and hold me through it all.

Stories about these Ukrainians are not unique. In most places where there are really awful things going on – war, persecution, hunger, poverty, sickness – many, many Christians turn to praising and being honest with God and then they themselves change within that situation.

All I can say is that if they can in their situations then I can in mine – with my friend, with my fears, with everything – I am going to praise God