Monday, 12 August 2013

God's not done with me yet...

I was asked yesterday at church to share something about New Wine last week, so I scribbled down a few notes and afterwards decided to use them as a starting point for this blog post too – recycling – don’t you just love it?

As it happened I got up early Sunday morning, made myself a cup of tea, resisted the urge to switch on the computer to check Facebook and Twitter and I thought about what God had said to me over the last seven days. I actually wrote over four pages in my diary and I’m only up to day one! I didn’t think God had that much he needed to say to me!

Last year God spoke powerfully to me in the shower, this year he spoke to me everywhere, a few words here and there which apparently adds up to a lot. Similar themes came up again and again – well I never listen the first time! 

Much of it is personal, one particular speaker, Jo Saxton, seemed to have a hotline to my thoughts – some of her stories are so similar to mine its uncanny!

Leaving aside the personal stuff for Sunday morning’s impromptu testimony I started with the lyrics of my favourite New Wine song this year.
You Found Me by Ian Yates and Sam Blake

You found me
You’ve stolen my heart
You’ve stolen my heart
You found me
Awakened my heart
Awakened my heart

When all around is sinking sand
You’re the rock on which I stand
You’re the rock on which I stand 
And in the pain and suffering
You were stretching out your hand
You were stretching out your hand
To me

There was just something about this song that grabbed hold of me from the start. I have been surrounded by sinking sand over the past couple of year since Andrew died yet God has remained steadfast and faithful and reaching out to me at every step, never letting me fall.

Each time I sang these words I was reminded he will never leave me and that demands a response from me. One particular morning I just had to kneel down to sing, God's awesome presence was overwhelming and I am so thankful he has brought me this far and kept me close to him.

As you may have figured by now if you regularly read my blog I am a planner, a plotter, a daydreamer. I really do like to know where I am heading and how I am going to get there. I am all too fond of telling God the best path we should take but he is determined to take me on a mystery tour and travel the much longer scenic route.

my new journal...
God reminded me this week I need to surrender my own map book and atlas, give up my “secret” plans, which he knows all about anyway, all I need to do is follow him, one footstep at a time.
...with a verse I always cling to!

One of the lovely things about New Wine is the Art Venue called 3:16. It is run by a friend of mine and everyday a group of talented artists share their skills and lead some fantastic workshops. 

Last year I had a go at prayer weaving, it was incredibly peaceful, God spoke to me as I worked with recycled material, fabrics, wool, buttons and beads. The lady who ran that workshop this year did one called stitch a prayer.

I obviously had some notion in my head from the start of how my prayer would look but once I got my hands on the fabric my thoughts changed and I let God lead me in a different direction.

It started as a stormy sea then as I turned the fabric round I decided it should actually be a waterfall of tumbling thoughts made up of discarded plastic bags, net fabric and felt all stitched rather haphazardly. 

There’s a swirl of chain stitch as I try to make sense of things by myself. I try to get things in order but only end up stirring the mess with my own hands and going round and round in circles. Eventually the stitches dissolve into single chains reminiscent of tear drops. 

They lead down towards the cross and another pair of larger scarred hands.

Across the bottom of the material I stitched a colourful piece of fabric, this is all very neat and tidily enclosed by blanket stitch. There are two pairs of feet, the smaller ones following the larger footsteps.

It seemed to me even in my sewing God was saying, leave all the tangled mess behind and just follow me…

On my last evening at New Wine there wasn’t just one big talk but several smaller ones covering a variety of serious issues. Each person who spoke was incredibly brave, opening up and sharing some of their own stories.

The testimony that really spoke to me was a video shown on the screen. The woman who spoke had a huge infectious smile on her face as she told us how much she loved life. She appeared to be so jolly with not a care in the world.

Then she shared how last year she found a lump in her breast and she talked about having cancer. She fiddled about with her wig, finally discarding it and talking honestly about JOY. With God’s help she had chosen to be joyful, even through the toughest of times.

She was an inspiration and although my own story is completely different I decided I wanted to choose to be joyful in my own circumstances too.

None of this is going to be easy, surrendering my own plans, following Jesus and choosing joy. I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge in the coming weeks and months. OK a LOT of a challenge! Although in some ways it's pretty basic Christianity I just need to be reminded daily that this is the path I have decided to take.

However as it says in the song at the beginning God reaches out his hand to us and is always there to help.

I bought a new Tshirt at New Wine too.

It inspired today title and serves as a reminder that actually I am still a work in progress, on my own I would fail, spectacularly, but with God I just might be able to stand on the solid rock…


  1. I loved reading this. And love your stitching - very powerful and inspiring! I look forward to following your story as you choose joy. :-)

  2. Wow, Sarah: committment... NW sounds impressively challenging... hoping it all pans out ... keep us posted...

  3. I think I'd like to try free sewing...if that's what it could be called, I love the waterfall idea, and all your representation!