Today has been another milestone in our family. Evie our little grand daughter was dedicated at church this morning. In the Baptist church the Dedication Service replaces the Christening Service. It is a time when we give thanks to God for another precious life, and dedicate her to the Lord. It is also a time when we as a family and church promise to be there for her throughout her life. To care for her, pray for her.
As a proud grandfather it was a privilege to be asked to write a poem for the occasion, as it was for Zach's dedication. Below is the poem which I read today, and is written from the heart about a little girl who has a very big place in our hearts.
It is now over three years when I put pen to paper
And wrote of my love for Zach
We are here once again all gathered together
And so I thought we’d just look back,
To the time when I told you of the concern on my mind,
When I shared of my much guilt and shame.
That I didn’t do babies, not one tiny bit,
They really were not my game.
It’s surprising what happens over just a few years
How babies get under your skin.
I am finding so much of the time spent with them,
Make you giggle, laugh, and grin.
I wondered about things, and how would I feel
When grandchild number two came along
Would I love them as much as I had loved Zach?
Would the bond I have be as strong?
Then Evie was born, a little girl – O Blow!
I was used to having a boy,
She was so different, in so many ways,
Yet an undeniable joy.
She was quiet, and placid, always content
No trouble to look after at all,
And yet in a very special way,
I did in love with her fall.
All children are different; they are their own little selves.
With personality traits.
Are they like their mum, do they look like their dad?
Will they share the same pet hates?
There’s a lot about Evie yet to be revealed,
How will she grow up – we just don’t know.
But our prayer today is that from this young age
Into Jesus she’ll learn to grow.
The bond that she has with Zach is so strong,
You see it in the way that they play.
He is her big brother, her protector and friend,
I just know that so close they will stay.
We have evidence here before us in church,
What happens when God is involved.
A husband, a wife, with two children sweet,
The mystery of true love is solved.
God bless this dear family, as they grow as one.
May His presence be in all that they do?
Lord give them the grace to be there for each other,
May their love for you ever be true?
I have found these three years the most fulfilling yet,
And one thing I must admit –
I didn’t do babies, I was right about that.
But I do now ….. Just a bit!
Evie...God Bless you on your special day!
The word courage is often used these days to describe the actions of our troops in Afghanistan, or our police when facing rioters intent on harm. However, not meaning in any way to lessen our admiration and respect we have for our forces, I am struck daily by the sheer courage of some of my friends who demonstrate grit and determination in spite of their circumstances.
I have friends who suffer from bi~polar depression, who for many years suffer from extreme highs and lows, with no end in sight. They faithfully do all the right things, continue with the medication that comes with a myriad of side effects, endeavour to be a good wife, mother, daughter, and friend, with only the ability to get through the next hour or day. Times when even stepping out the door mean an immense effort, on their worse days, and maybe unable to even leave the bedroom. Yet they soldier on, picking themselves up when they are down, laughing out loud and crying inside. Being told by well meaning friends to pull themselves together.
I have friends who are suffering from aggressive cancer, who having taken on the illness with the arsenal available, are fighting infections, pain, weakness, isolation, and the fear that comes from not knowing what twist lies in the road ahead. They have to submit to nurses and doctors probing, testing, and generally endeavouring to make life as long and as comfortable as possible. They have to see their loved ones bearing the load, fighting exhaustion, carrying anxiety, and this happens every day without respite.
I have friends who are single parents, and have children with such complex needs to deal with I wouldn't know where to start. Where every day they face the struggle of endeavouring to get their child accepted. Where just getting them to go to school each day is a monumental effort. To run a home single handed, try and hold down a job, sacrifice what they would like for themselves for the sake of their child. No fancy foreign holidays, flash cars, or clothes. Yet the courage they demonstrate, uncomplaining, and often unnoticed, and definitively not thanked is unrecognised.
Yes, those on the battlefield get their courage sometimes rewarded with promotion, or a medal. Those who keep law and order often get commended by their peers, or recognised by the press. No one is there to witness the daily struggles of these friends of mine. You too have people who face similar daily battles. The unsung heroes who go about their business, not seeking recognition, or sympathy. Today I want to say well done for sticking it out. For the courage you summon up every day to rise and fight again....
You really are life's unsung heroes!
A young ensign had nearly completed his first overseas tour of duty when he was given the opportunity to prepare his ship to "set sail."
With a stream of crisp commands, he had the decks buzzing with sailors and soon the ship churned slowly out of the channel.
The ensign's efficiency was remarkable. In fact, the talk was that he had set a new record for getting the ship underway.
But his captain was not as pleased. A message delivered to the young officer read, "My personal congratulations upon completing your underway preparation exercise according to the book and with amazing speed. But next time, you might wait until your captain is aboard before setting off."
This got me thinking. If our lives are going to have direction, and purpose, then we need to be sure that we have the Captain on board ship. I have just been to BBC Radio Guernsey to record a series of Guidelines, (the local radio "Thought for the Day".) and the subject of peace of mind has been very much on my mind of late.
I recalled the time when Jesus was sailing across the Sea of Galilee with His disciples, when a storm came up. “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping". How could Jesus know such peace of mind in such a life threatening situation as this? It was because His confidence was not in the boat. It certainly wasn't in the crew. He had peace of mind because He knew the one who held His life in His hands.
We all go through storms, and some of them can be life threatening, yet the secret of peace of mind even in these situations is found in the book of Isaiah. " You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you".
I was reminded at the end of the year just how fragile our peace of mind can be. This was when I found my reminder to renew our house insurance, the same day as the insurance office had closed early till the New Year. So what you ask? Well my insurance expired on the 31st December, and the office didn’t reopen until the 3rd of January!
I don’t think I have ever checked doors, turned off Christmas lights, blown out candles as diligently as I did those three days. You see, my peace of mind was tied to a piece of paper that said simply “your house insured”. For those three days I did learn to trust more the One who has underwritten my entire life with His blood shed on the cross. We insure our houses, our cars, our health, even our pets, and think we have all angles covered. Someone once said peace is an absence of war, but it is far more than that.
Jesus said in John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Often the price of peace is surrender, and this is true with life. Not to a aggressive enemy who has overpowered us, and placed us with no other alternative, but to one who stretched out His arms on the cross at Calvary, and still today says," Come unto Me, all of you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest". This Captain has been steering my ship for 55 years now, and I simply wouldn't want anyone else determining what direction my life takes. Yes there have been times when I have snatched the wheel and gone my way. It didn't take long though, to realise that my life was in much safer hands when He was steering my ship. There have been storms, and at the time seemed life threatening, but here we are today still in one piece, and with peace of mind. The cost of this? Total surrender!