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Posts Tagged ‘the image of God’

I never cease to be amazed at the neat things God does in my life. Just when I least expect it, I am surprised yet again with some kind act or some special insight that leaves me gobsmacked.

This past weekend, I found myself trying to round off that final chapter of my current work in progress—a non-fiction book, entitled Coming Home to Myself. Should be simple, right? Hmm—wrong! Instead, I found myself writing several paragraphs, then deleting them—over and over again. I swapped them around. I shortened them. I split them up. But nothing seemed to flow well.

As you might imagine, I became somewhat frustrated. I have struck difficult patches in my writing before, but this time, it all seemed particularly confusing. Eventually, I stood up and declared out loud, in a firm voice, ‘This is enough!’ I then prayed, still out loud, asking God to show me the way forward. Almost immediately, the thought came to go to our china cabinet and get out my set of five wooden Russian ‘babushka’ dolls I bought at a market stall in London years ago, simply because I loved them. I had always envisaged these dolls featuring on the cover of my book. In fact, I mention them in my introduction, since, to me, they depict my own journey over the years, as God has gently removed various self-protective layers from my life and enabled me to become who I believe I was created to be. But I had never thought of mentioning them again, to conclude my book.

P1030938I took them back to my desk and lined them up. The words began to flow, almost carrying me along with them. Then, as I wrote, out of the blue, I remembered how I had once dropped the smallest doll of the set and how I had been unable to find it for years. Then one day when we moved the whole china cabinet, there it was, right at the back underneath it. I had forgotten that whole experience, but saw immediately how it fitted in so well with the theme of my final two paragraphs, which stresses the importance of not losing sight of who we are at the very centre of our being—that person made in the image of God, created to show something of God to the world in our own unique way.

I almost laughed with joy as I wrote. How freeing it was, as those words flowed out! I could feel the lightness in my spirit and such a sense of the fullness of God in me. Surely God had prompted me to stand firm against that overwhelming confusion, to get out those Russian dolls and to remember, as I did, my experience of losing—and finding—that littlest doll all those years ago. Again, I knew I had been privileged to experience another touch of God’s amazing love and grace in my life, just when I least expected it and in a way I could never have envisaged.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9

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We have just returned from a road trip to Queensland, our home state. We have driven there many, many times over the years since moving south, sometimes travelling the inland route, sometimes the coast road and sometimes a combination of the two. Each time, we seem to discover some new vista along the way, as well as enjoy familiar ones we love. And this time was no exception. On top of that, an added bonus was a guided tour around the beautiful beaches of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, courtesy of some good friends. I was refreshed in spirit by it all, despite our busy schedule. And I think that’s because I saw again two key things about God that still blow my mind.

Firstly, God is amazingly, amazingly creative. Who could possibly stand looking out over those beautiful beaches and not be in awe of a God who has created something so vast as our blue ocean and so breathtaking as those shimmering expanses of sandy foreshore? Who could not marvel at the variety in nature to be seen at every twist and turn of the road? As I observed all this beauty, it occurred to me again that, as God’s children created in his image, we have something of that very same creativity within us. It is God-given—so any creativity I might display in my writing is not something I have produced all by myself. As a result, I need to be so thankful for the creative gifts I have and handle them with great care and humility. God is the Creator par excellence—and, by God’s grace, I have the privilege of reflecting just a teensy bit of God’s creative heart to the world.

Secondly, God is amazingly, amazingly faithful. On our way up and back this time, we drove through a particular spot just west of Byron Bay in the Northern Rivers area that holds special significance for me. From this spot, high on the crest of a hill, there is a breathtaking view of the whole hinterland area, with its green paddocks and rich soil, as it rolls on towards the beautiful coastline and the blue ocean beyond. Almost fifteen years ago, having completed my theology degree, I stopped at this very spot on my way up to Brisbane. I could not have done otherwise. I was simply overcome with the goodness of God in enabling me to complete my studies at that stage of my life. It had been a hard road, but God was there for me all the way along.

But now as I gazed at that same scene in 2012, I realised how utterly faithful God has continued to be to me. In those intervening fifteen years, I completed a very fulfilling ministry in a local church. God then called me out of that ministry into another one—that of writing and speaking. Now I have five published novels and one work of non-fiction—plus another novel due for release next year. I have also spoken many, many times in a great variety of places. And I know all this has come from the hand of my gracious, faithful and loving God.

So right now, as I look to the launch of my sixth book this week, I am so humbled and grateful. We have such a beautiful country. But we have such an incredibly beautiful, bountiful God.

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits … Psalm 103:1-2

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