Just A Word - Saved By Grace

Inspiration Words By Sis. Marvet Simpson

What inspired me to begin to blog was a conversation with a Sister and friend, who basically told me that God is preparing another platform for me to share His Word, and do His will. She challenged me to write, and expressed how inspired she was by my use of language. I was humbly appreciative, and unknowingly she added the final note to the music that so many have been playing on me for so long; to write. I have so much to say, to share, and I love to encourage. People communicate electronically these days, and the verbal face to face dialogue has become less and less over the years. Young people have become more insular, and struggle to express or even be honest with themselves. If I am not able to be a listening ear, I would like to be there at the other end of a click, and so hence my reason for blogging. It's not all about me, but to the Glory of God, I write inspired, not out of daily duty, so I trust that whoever reads, will be encouraged, and if questions are to be asked, I will endeavour to give answers. Blessings in abundance.

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"They are new every morning"

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Three events happened recently  that challenged my continuing reflective thoughts, I want to share them with you.
Event 1:
I sat with my  friend J in the grounds of a little village cafĂ©.  The sun was beaming down on our table, and we waited patiently for our lunch order.  As we watched passers by, and listened to the noisy traffic (village life isn't so quiet these days); we talked and mused over the beautiful surroundings  punctuated by hanging baskets, and village aesthetics.  The waitress emerged with our food, which looked scrumptious.  She asked us if we would like any sauces; of course mayonnaise and chips go beautifully together, and so that was my request.  My gentle, quiet friend, began to tuck in.  I hesitated, picked up my cutlery, and paused.  The food looked lovely, it was hot, and I was hungry, but I was waiting; as she ate, I decided to begin, but really and truly I wanted my mayonnaise.  After what seemed like a decade, (grossly exaggerated) I said to my friend, 'I think she has forgotten our mayonnaise', she calmly replied, as she put a morsel of food in her mouth, 'No, she knows we're out here, she'll bring it in a bit', within seconds she arrived, with a pot of mayonnaise, with the usual enquiry of 'is everything okay with your meal'?
My friend was well away, enjoying her meal, I paused for a moment to thank the waitress, and continued with my meal.
Event 2:
We bumped into Tim, my self and hubby, as we walked in a local  shopping area, in the early afternoon sun.  Tim, according to my hubby, looked better than he had done for a long time. In short he was homeless, had no job, and no family, but today, he was in a better place, because he had, cleaned himself up, acquired his cash benefits, and expressed gratitude for the input my husband had given to acquire his birth certificate.  He repaid the debt. He was clean, sober, and shared an optimistic view of wanting to turn his life around.  He was with his  friend Jerry.  This friend was completely incoherent of our presence. Deeply intoxicated, and swaggering along the pavement edge in a precariously dangerous stroll.  He was heading for the common alcoholics bench. As we watched, Tim looked at him, the state this once wealthy, controlling person had become; he talked in brief of his days that others had suffered under the hand of this man.  As we looked at his friend, he faltered slightly at the pavement's edge, and near fell into the road. In anxious tones Tim said, 'I better get him some chips, to soak up the alcohol'.
Event 3:
CPD is very important to enhancing my counselling practice.  I'm always looking out and listening for new developments in the world of therapy.  I tuned into a you tube video, the title attracted me, and I listened keenly to the Introduction of a Psychotherapist who was unfamiliar to me.  She sounded great, knowledgeable, wise, and well learned.  I was keen to hear what she had to say. When her introduction had been completed, I turned up the volume slightly. Today I would learn something new, not heard before, and add it to my CPD. As she spoke, I recognised the familiar paths I had taken to building relationships with my clients.  She did not use any words, I could not understand, and she explained herself slowly, methodically, and with passion.  Her emphasis was the importance of a good relationship, how the empathic, congruent relationship would enable the client to tell their story.  She wisely said that application  of human interaction, exceeded all the knowledge of theory, as with them, and no application of human interaction, it would disable depth in the therapeutic alliance. (not exactly her words, but that's what I understood).
My learning, my reflection, my conclusion.
My friend J is a Quaker, she is a peaceful, gentle, person. When I speak with her, she listens intently, looking at me, and waiting until I finish to give her response. When we talk I know she hears me, as her responses are always relevant to my comments. We write each other often, and our letters are filled with depth and meaning. I felt rebuked when I whittled over the arrival of our sauce. She taught me something; the art of gentle, patient waiting, not to worry, not to fret, take your time, enjoy the moment, trust that what you ask for is coming, be at peace.  John 14:27
I was proud of Tim, but also very humbled by his concern for Jerry.  He, who had very little to give himself, yet in that moment gave a huge amount to his friend, I saw care, I saw compassion, and I saw human kindness. I saw the teachings of Jesus, Matthew 25:40. It didn't matter that Jerry was drunk, dirty, 'mashed' and possibly very smelly, Tim, cared, and he taught us something.  As we parted, and drove past him a little later, there he was gently handing and feeding Jerry his chips.
So what was I really looking for from this new Psychotherapist?, something great?, something never spoken before about relationships?.   Lamentations 3:22-23, tells me that "The steadfast Love of the Lord never ceases.....His mercies never come to an end...they are New every morning". It isn't about doing something new, with each client, it is about building a relationship, and that not just with clients but with others too, it is about talking and listening, practicing and demonstrating daily what I know to be good and right in the treatment of others.  It's about knowing that people are more important than things, and places, and also listening to God's voice, about being at peace, being humble, being caring.  None of the above events are amazingly spectacular, it is what I received from them, in my moment of reflection.
If we go through each day, and never stop to take stock, think and reflect on what we sometimes scoff at; waiting for the sauce, ignoring the Alcoholics, switching off and saying I've heard it before, if we never stop and think what can I learn from my experiences? then to us, they are not new every morning. We remain stagnant, unrefreshed and dead.
What will you notice this week, in the next few weeks.  What will you reflect on? 



Understand another's journey,

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My profile suggests that I get to know myself a little more, by observing the behaviour of others.  It's quite an interesting statement because it almost implies that I spend time watching others, and picking out what's good, bad,  what I like, don't like, emulating others and rejecting others.  Not so, that's not what I mean, I guess I mean, I can be sympathetic to their journey.
Let me explain.  I have an enemy or two, maybe they are not my enemies, but they are definitely not my allies. Our interaction is poor, infact it's tooth wrenching painful, and I often leave their presence a little disturbed.  This is where the Forgiveness blog comes in... "Set Free".  I am not their enemy, in fact truth be known, I would like to be their allie, but right now, right at this point in our lives, their lives and mine, it is not happening.  Why? because as I have been on a journey, so are they!, and so I can 'see with them' as my mother used to say, 'si wid mi'.  Meaning I can understand their difficulty, I can understand the rocks and boulders they will climb, I can understand the valleys, and the rebellion, I can understand the pretense and the effort, I can understand the resistance and the denial.
I have arrived at my acceptance...or have I? so you see I can understand where they are at.  It enables me to be more sympathetic.
We are all on a journey, I began a specific journey in October 2016.  How the journey was going to take shape, and where exactly I was going to travel to, I wasn't sure, so I had to consult a lot with my Travel Advisor, sometimes I wasn't sure how I would feel, on a particular road, or the reaction of the passers by, but I had to trust God, my Travel Advisor that He would be with me. 
When I observe others where they are on their journey, I can say, 'Ahh, I recognise that road....hmmm that's a long one, a rough one, I hope they keep going, I hope that they listen to their Travel Advisor, because only He can take them through that particular road'.
However, some may not even have started that specific journey, but I can still be sympathetic, compassionate, and coupled with the lessons, I have picked up along the way, I can be patient, can I add painfully patient? because that is how it is at times. Painful to watch them, painful to experience them, but then I need also need to pray, for them, and for myself. 

I can also rebuke those, who criticise the travellers, or pre-contemplative travellers ( those who are not yet at the start of their journey), 'Remember what God did, for you, where He brought you from?', That is my response to the critics, ' allow them that time, be patient, painfully patient even', and pray.
Image result for A roadWhat's so great about the journey is that when you come through the other side, you'll know you've been on a journey, but even more importantly is anticipating the next leg.  Sometimes the journey can be lonely.  It was for me, and at points still is, that's when I have to go back to my Travel Advisor, sometimes He doesn't tell me where to go. He just reminds me that He is with me, keep going straight.  You see really and truly He is also like my Sat Nav.  Have I talked about this in a previous blog?, yes I'm sure I did. If I don't hear from Him for a moment, I just need to keep going.  He'll give me the next direction....as I'm sure He will others.
Allow them their journey... Whose to say we will end up in the same direction? Of course there is no guarantee of this, and doesn't matter.  What is more important is that they are on their journey, and I need to see that.



Tiny little spots

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Karen smiled as she unfolded her crumpled  clean white sheet she was hanging on the line; as she pegged the last corner of the freshly smelling sheet, she stood back.  There was something satisfying, she thought, about watching white sheets blow in the wind, and what may seem a daily chore to others, was a pleasure to Karen.  She picked up the basket and was about to walk away; one last glance at her clean white sheet, stopped her in her tracks.                .                                                   .
As she went closer and pulled the sheet to her, she noticed a tiny little spot; it was small, and somewhat insignificant but it was there.  Karen began to finger it, and as she did so, whatever it was smudged, but it was still very small.  From a distance it wasn't easily noticeable. 
She decided to walk away, she would wash it again soon.  She paused part way down the path, she sighed, she screwed her face, others may not see it, but I know that it's there.  She turned, unpegged the sheet, and dropped it in her basket.  
Songs of Solomon 2:15, talks about the little foxes that spoil the vine, they are only little, but they can do a lot of damage, they are like little spots...  A vine, is a creeping plant that can scale a wall, weave it's branches in and out fence panels, hanging on for dear life with long fingered tendrils, or can run along the ground covering a good deal of space. A good vine that has been well taken care of, will produce a good healthy crop of grapes. In this chapter, it talks about the relationship between a man and a woman, and how to watch out for the little foxes that can interfere with that relationship.  The foxes are like little spots, imagine, that they are being allowed to nibble at the vine, or begin to dig around the roots, and these 'spots', if ignored can cause a lot of damage, or become smudges, and smudges look unpleasant no matter how small they are.                              .
We can pretend they don't exist, we can even try to cover them up, but they are present, under the surface, behind the scenes.
In my experience and work as a counsellor, I find that many spots have been ignored, many little foxes have been allowed to nibble away at the vine, and that vine, can be anything; our relationship with a significant other, our mental health and well being, our physical health and well being, even our relationship with God, if you sit back and don't attend to them, do not be surprised if your vine, begins to deteriorate, or fail to produce a healthy crop.                                                                 .
Someone said to me of a problem I shared with them, 'just ignore it, leave it alone, it will go away, infact better still, pretend,' Whilst I might be able to pretend, it remains a constant niggle in the background. What do I do with that, deal with it or ignore it?  King Solomon was wise when he said those words, inspired by an even wiser Being, Our heavenly Father. I can only reiterate what has already been said, watch out for those foxes, address the spots!                           .

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