Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Ruby Christmas

I’m part of an exciting Christmas story – A Ruby Christmas – that is being released one chapter per day. Catch up on this heart warming story here. If you want to get the whole novella, pop over to Amazon where it will be free from Friday to Monday.

The release of A Ruby Christmas includes a contest on Pinterest organised by Write Integrity Press. A new photo is posted each day and ties in with the chapter being posted on their blog. My chapter is being released today and the contest image is below. Pop  over to the Ruby Christmas Pinterest Contest Board to see more.

Hope you enjoy the story!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Lost Child

I’ve discovered that when I go on holiday, God goes with me. In November 2012, Kevin and I and the children flew to Sydney for a family wedding. There were ten of us from New Zealand and we met up with extended family over there.

During the course of the weekend, a group of us were at the Westfield Mall in Bondi waiting for my son to come out of Target. As we leaned against the rails, I watched the shop entrance while the others chatted. Soon after a lady dashed out of the doors looking distressed and I wondered if she was feeling sick.

She disappeared and then reappeared, even more distraught, looking in every direction. “You’ve lost a child,” I thought and started to pray silently as she went back into the store.

The third time she came out she was frantic, tears streaming, running up to strangers, showing them how tall the child was with her hand. She had lost part of herself, her own flesh and blood. At that stage I poked Kevin and told him what was going on. He gathered the family around and we prayed the mother would find her child.

That moment has lingered with me and God used it to show me a number of things:

1)    When you lose something you love, a part of you, it hurts, it’s very distressing and you go looking for it.

2)    The woman’s pain was so great that she reached the place where she had to ask others for help.

3)    In spite of all her activity and apparent distress, I was the only one in my family who noticed her pain. People are busy and self absorbed and often don’t notice your need for help.

Life is hard and we all get bumped and bruised along the way and sometimes we lose part of ourselves on the journey. It could be one particular thing or maybe several:

·        Ability to trust

·        Sense of self worth

·        Hope for the future

·        Joy

·        Peace

·        Vision

·        Confidence

·        Ability to love and forgive

·        Faith in God
I’ve been on that journey and I understand what it is to lose part of yourself. I also know that sometimes you have to ask for help to find what you’ve lost. God is the restorer, the healer, the one who makes all things new but sometimes we need each other to remind us of this.

You’re probably wondering if that mother found her child. The answer is she did. She appeared shortly after we prayed, child in her arms, overjoyed, weeping, embracing him like she’d never let go. There was no anger, no blame, just love.

If you’ve lost a part of yourself, it’s not too late to go looking for what’s missing. God wants to do a work of restoration for you today and you can know the same joy the mother did when reunited with her child. It was pure, straight from her heart and absolutely unforgettable. I wish the same for you.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Reluctant Pianist

What do a Steinway grand piano and an old home in Dunedin, New Zealand have to do with God?

Kevin and I spent a day in Dunedin at the end of February and had a lovely time visiting the Albatross Colony, driving around the Otago Peninsula and visiting Larnach Castle. A friend had suggested we visit Olveston which is an old home that was bequeathed to the City of Dunedin in the 1960’s on the condition that it was preserved as it was with its contents. We had a spare hour before heading to the airport so decided to go and find the house.

It was perfect timing as a tour had just started and we slipped into the dining room with the rest of the group. It was a large two storey home and fascinating to see the old appliances and furnishings. All went well until we entered the drawing room and the tour guide pointed out the full size Steinway grand piano near the window. Then she turned to the group and asked, “Does anyone here play the piano?”

I suddenly found the pattern on the carpet very interesting. I’m just a little church pianist … I can’t play a Steinway grand piano … I wouldn’t know what to play

Then I heard Kevin’s voice from the other side of the room. “She does!”

I wanted to wring his neck as all eyes turned in my direction. “Please will you play for us?” the tour guide asked.

I made my way under the rope barrier and sat down at the piano. What could I possibly play for this diverse bunch of people?  What would they be familiar with? Then it came to me -   Amazing Grace. Breathing a prayer for help, I placed my hands on the keys and began to play. The notes were pure and clear and by the time I’d finished, I could feel God’s presence all around me. It was a holy moment.
Amazingly, the tour group seemed to feel it too. Instead of a polite thank you, there was a collective sigh and then people started thanking me, saying it was beautiful and had touched them. I realised then how small-minded I’d been. “I’m sorry God,” I prayed silently as we moved through the rest of the house. “I’m sorry for not seizing opportunities, for doubting my ability, for being unwilling to use the gift you’ve given me to bless others.”

My brief concert turned out to be the highlight of the trip for me – and a powerful lesson in always being prepared, always ready to take the opportunities God places before me. I hope I will never be seen as a reluctant pianist again.