Sunday, January 28, 2007

A good hair day?

Well, I finally did it! Trying to organise myself to get a hairdressing appointment sorted for a Saturday is not working and the box of hair colour was winking at me from the bathroom shelf.

I carefully read the instructions and decided that I was well capable of following them. I had watched what the hair dresser did on numerous occasions, and it was not beyond me! That said – she made it look a lot easier than it was! The front of the head was do-able, but the back of the head was plain guess-work. I was trying to cover the roots first, leave the colour to fix for a while, and then “refresh” the rest of the hair – see, I even know the right jargon!

Contrary to what most pupils think – teachers do not have eyes in the back of their heads – they would have been most useful! In the end I looked like the woman in the diagrams on the instruction sheet. I also felt like I usually feel in the hairdresser – things were going well.

I ruined a perfectly good jumper by not following the instruction of putting a towel over the shoulders. It said “non-drip cream”, but it did drip!

The end result is a head of rich auburn hair with no grey roots! It is much darker than I anticipated, much darker than it has been for years. My once natural shade was very dark brown, almost black with a kind of blue/blackness to it. This is kind of that dark but with a red hint to it. I keep catching glimpses of me in mirrors and doing a double take.

I am however rather impressed – that it is not orange, that the box did what it said it would do, that I have saved a LOT of money, that I have done something I consider quite courageous and that I can live with it for the next three months!.

My husband, Joe, gave me the once over and decided that, yes, it was very dark, perhaps a shade darker on the top than at the bottom – but like it is supposed to be like that, and not an unintentional effect. He also looked at his own hair greying at the temples and asked if I had used all the colour in the hair kit. Seeing as I haven’t made a mess of my own head, he thinks he might entrust his own into my enthusiastic but unskilled hands!

Incidentally my mother always used to cut my dad’s hair. In the early days of our marriage, I offered to cut Joe’s hair – thinking that it was what wives did to their husbands. Joe looked horrified! He made it quite clear that the day I take a pair of scissors to his head is the day we divorce.

Incidentally, he also has bushy eyebrows. His sister took me to task one day for not “tidying them up”. She is the kind of woman that would tie him to a chair, firmly tell him not to be a baby and sit still while she snipped away! I am not made of such stern stuff!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Impossible?

Impossible that by Your word
The universe was made
That in the stars, the moon, the earth
Your splendour is displayed

Impossible that with Your hands
From clay You fashioned man
Your breath released brought forth his birth
And so new life began

Impossible that You would choose
To be his closest friend
To walk with him through pastures green
Until his journey’s end

Impossible that he did turn
To tread his wayward track
Rebellious heart, and soiled soul
On You he turned his back

Impossible that You could know
The wicked heart of man
And still because Your love compels
Conceive redemption’s plan

Impossible that You were born
Into this fragile world
And whipped and crucified by man
Salvation was unfurled

Impossible You gladly bore
The sins of all mankind
That at the cross the debt is paid
Abundant grace we find

Impossible that you could gift
Forgiveness full, complete
That when the prodigal comes home
You kiss and gladly greet

Impossible that man’s wild heart
Is tamed beneath his breast
And humbly bowed before Your throne
He finds eternal rest

Impossible? To You? Not so
The One enthroned on high
I join with angels in their praise
“My Lord, My God,” I cry

© Melanie Kerr Jan 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

Three threesomes

I think that it is a debating technique to repeat things three times for emphasis. I can remember Tony Blair in one of his speeches talking about their manifesto – the policies they hoped to implement once they were in power – “Education, Education, Education”. I am not sure that he has done anything other than just repeat the word!

Just lately I have been finding these threesomes as I read the Bible and other books. I was reading an interview with Os Guinness. I am currently reading one of his books and thought I would find out a little bit more about the man. He doesn’t have a holy huddle mentality and is not afraid to explore not just why he is a Christian, but also why he is not a Muslim or a Hindu. In the interview, he mentioned that he had spent a lot of time with another theologian and was asked what he had learned from the man. He said that he admired the man for his passion for God, his passion for people and his passion for truth. I like that threesome. I like the word passion. I like the way that it is balanced – God, people and truth.

Another threesome I read was in the end chapters of Jeremiah. A remnant of Israelites who had not been taken off to Babylon with the rest of the nation had ran to Egypt thinking they would get away from the war and the poverty, rather than trusting in God. Jeremiah told them clearly that their actions meant that God no longer considered them His people. They hadn’t shown humility, they had failed to give God reverence and they had not obeyed His word. If failing to do these things takes us away from God, the opposite must also be true – God will draw us near to Himself if we are humble, if we revere Him and if we seek to obey His commands. Working out the practicalities of that threesome has got to be very challenging.

The threesome I read this morning was in the opening verses of the book of Revelation. Things are written there which Jesus wants us to know that we might be more effective witnesses. The more we know about Jesus and his intentions, the more we can work with Him. The instruction here was to read the words, to hear it and to take to heart what is written. Sometimes we stop at the reading bit of it, and do not give our hearts a chance to hear the words in our hearts as the Holy Spirit ignites it. Until the Spirit ignites the words, they seldom get taken to heart in a life changing way.

Three threesomes:-

Passion for God
Passion for people
Passion for the truth

Being humble
Being reverent
Being obedient

The word read
The word heard
The word taken to heart

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Built up and planted

“He (Jeremiah) said to them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your petition, says: 'If you stay in this land, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you, for I am grieved over the disaster I have inflicted on you. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you now fear. Do not be afraid of him, declares the LORD, for I am with you and will save you and deliver you from his hands. I will show you compassion so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your land.'” Jeremiah 42:9-12

I was really encouraged reading these words this morning. Over the last few weeks or so I have been thinking about moving issues, wondering whether I am in the place where God has placed me in – church wise and job wise. Sometimes when things get difficult you begin to think that you must be in the wrong place precisely because things are so difficult! If you really were where God had placed you then things would progress much more smoothly. Things would just fall into place.

Maybe things get so difficult because the enemy would like to see you anywhere other then where God wants you to be.

Built up and planted are very deliberate actions. You don’t build a wall or plant a garden by accident. God’s actions towards me are not accidental either. They don’t happen just by-the-way.

God is appealing for an act of trust – He will do the building and the planting – if we allow him to. Sometimes we are too quick to build things and plant things that are not on God’s heart for us. When He builds something, He builds it properly and there is no need to tear it down. When He plants it is exactly where he wants it to be, so there is no need to uproot it at a later date.

God building and planting in my life are conditional on the basis that I stay – in His presence, in His purposes, in His Covenant, in Him.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Journey

I have been reading a book called “The Call” by Os Guinness. I bought the book ages ago, and rediscovered it while having a cleaning session just before Christmas. For many religious festivals, cleaning the house seems to be an important part. I don’t think for a moment that Santa is going to pass us by if there is a inch thick coating of dust everywhere, but a clean up for me is also something that cheers me up too.

I digress! The book has an interesting chapter on life being like a journey. When Jesus said to Peter and Andrew, and later James and John, and later still Matthew, “Follow me!” it was an invitation to join him on a journey. In this life we never reach a place where we have arrived, and all of us are somewhere along the route. Life is not static and settled, although we often live like is. We are not wanderers because we know where we are heading and we have the company of the Holy Spirit to guide us there. Not everyone has the same milestones that we have on their journey. They have the same destination but might not be walking at the same pace, or taking notice of the same landscapes.

I can remember, during my time in Cyprus, every year the school held a sponsored walk. It was not a five mile stroll, but a really difficult hike. The route was twenty five miles and began high in the Troodos mountains, and ended a few miles west of the city of Limmasol. It took in forests and vineyards, old monasteries and almond tree orchards. There were bits of it that followed a tarmac road uphill for two or three miles, while another section of the walk was following a goat trail along the top of a hill. It was a picturesque route, but very challenging!

The route remained pretty much the same year in year out, but the company changed as old students left and new ones arrived. You began the walk with member from one class, for them to decide to race on ahead somewhere further down the line. You caught up with another group, perhaps as they stopped to catch their breath at the top of the hill.

This is what Christian life is like – different people along the route. Sometimes they walk a few miles with you, sometimes it may be just a few hundred yards. Maybe they just wave as they overtake!

I was thinking about the people I had walked with for a while. I say people, but I mean just one person – my friend, Shona. I missed her company and decided to seek her out, just to find out how she was doing. She has stopped along the route, she is spiritually sitting down by the side of the road, perhaps catching her breathe, perhaps hoping for a sympathetic driver to come along and offer her a lift!

We invited herself and Patrick and Shannon to lunch on New Year’s Day. Joe entertained the kids – they were showing him the wonderful tricks is new mobile phone could do. Shona and I sat in the kitchen and chatted. I didn’t particularly avoid any talk of God. She admits to feeling a little adrift right now, but not cast aside or cut off from God.

It was nice to drop back a little and walk beside her again for a few hundred yards – simply to remind her that she was in my thoughts.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Make it happen

I am one for slogans and mottos and things. They catch my eye and ignite my imagination. I guess I must have a really short attention span or something!

I was standing in line waiting for my turn at the hole-in-the-wall cash machine and a poster in the bank window caught my eye. The slogan at the bottom of the poster was “Make it happen”. It was about taking out a bank loan or something, but for me is was just the active tense of the whole thing – Make it happen!

Ages ago, long before I met Joe, I thought I was in love with another man. I was one among many women who thought themselves in love with him. He had this particular idea of falling in love. For him it wasn’t the slow process of getting to know someone, going out on a few dates and over time coming to the realisation that they are the one. He was looking for the “love at first sight” kind of falling in love. A definite spark that was more than just general interest – that look across a crowded room moment. Needless to say, none of the “harem” that thought they loved him provided the spark, so he didn’t get romantically involved with anyone. He didn’t “Make it happen” because he didn’t see his spark.

His approach to love seemed to me to be rather passive. If it happens, it happens seems to me to be too casual. However, you can go to the other extreme of putting so much effort and energy into something and make it happen, when perhaps it wasn’t supposed to happen. Your own energy made give life to something, and it’s something you have created, not necessarily something God birthed inside of you.

When does “Make it happen” become my work and cease to be God’s work? “Make it happen” remains God’s when I whole heartedly engage with God’s purpose for my life and when His passions become mine.

I want to “Make it Happen” this year – wholeheartedly engage with God’s purpose for my life and allow His passions to become my own.

If that sounds a bit vague, it is a least a starting point.