Friday, September 21, 2012

Celebrations in Style!

We have just got home after the most exhilarating  and wonderful trip to the Seychelles where we celebrated our Ruby Wedding Anniversary on the 9th September (40 years of marriage).  It was a triple celebration really.  One was of our relationship which feels more satisfying and fulfilling than it ever has.  We love each other more with every passing day. Two was of the miracle that I am well enough to be able to make this kind of trip after 15 years of incredible pain and illness.  Thank God for His mercy and for your prayers too! Three was the joy of seeing the believers in the Seychelles again after 23 years since we left them.  The growth and maturity that has come to the churches since we served there as missionaries in the 1980's is remarkable and it was a great joy to renew fellowship with the folk there.

On the day itself we went off to church in the morning and when we returned to our hotel room we found that the maids had covered our room with flowers, even decorating the bathroom!  They had created beautiful arrangements of hibiscus and lemon grass to wish us a happy anniversary and provided us with a lovely celebratory cake.

Every part of that day was special to us both and we feel so privileged to have been able to share it together.  Marriage is so much more than a wedding - even than a ruby wedding!  It is about learning to give your all to someone you love in the knowledge that they give their all to you.  As I often tell young couples preparing to wed - marriage is not give and take - it is all give!  You give your all and they give theirs and then both your needs are met!  That has been our experience through four decades and we are looking forward to the future that God has planned for us.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Living Without Limits

Joni Eareckson Tada is one of the world's heroes.  She may not be taking part in the Paralympics in London but she has run the race of life with passion, wisdom, determination and courage.  As a beautiful young woman in her mid teens she dived into water that was shallower than she realised and snapped her spine.  Joni has spent her life in a wheelchair since then and undergone countless indignities, overcoming huge obstacles just to live each day.  Her trust in God has been an example to millions and her books have spread the message of 'living without limits' around the globe.  Her example, together with those of the hundreds of so-called 'disabled' athletes taking part just now in London, speaks loudly to me.  Why focus on what I cannot do?  How come my mind defaults so quickly to my weaknesses or pain?  What about the possibilities that are open to me with the boundaries that God has set into my life?  Such is the attitude of the overcomer.  Joni is just one of those and there have been others in history.

Ludwig Von Beethoven, for instance, continued to write wonderful music after he had become completely deaf in his late twenties.

David Blunkett is one of Britain's best known politicians having served in the very highest offices of state - and he is totally blind.  His guide dogs have become familiar faces at Westminster and in government offices.

What each of these faces tells me is that life is meant to be lived with what we have got, not with what we have been denied.  It is also the case for me as a Christian, that the presence of Christ within is the source of strength hope and inspiration. As St. Paul said: "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength".