Saturday, 28 April 2012

I Wish

I wish I could take every good memory of my entire 19 years on this earth and wear them like scent everyday. I wish I could only live on laughter and the birdsong. I have learnt, lost, kept, wondered, touched, seen, heard, felt and loved. Last year on the my 18th, I was given a dark sapphire ring and only on very rare days does it let me see the beautiful rays of sparkling blue inside it. It is like those I love, I know they are there but sometimes it is hard to see them. Sometimes I wonder if I can make it past the enemy's schemes and lies, but then I am saved.
Strife is a good thing, it teaches me many things. I haven't known much yet, but I have known love. No one can tell you, you made a mistake, you can only do that. And then you can change. I wish that life could be blissful even in the storm.

I hope to live on yet, learning and listening as I go. I know I am blessed to get this far, we all are, but I also know I have a purpose and that means more than anything else to me. I hope never to make the same mistakes. I know I will make more, but I don't care, it is worth it. When I am at my weakest, God is strongest! I am so thankful for my childhood and my loving parents. I adore my sisters and my little brother, I wish forever that we could stay just as we are now. I know we must all grow and fly away, but deep down I don't want it, I want to have my family now and forever. It is never the same after, no matter how hard you try. This is all I know so far. This is my whole world right now. I am waiting on the edge of my future, yet this second is my entire existence. I know my family and I are on the verge of dispersion at any minute like the slow and setting sun, so I must hold on to it. I also know that one of us has already gone, but I try not to think on that. This may be my last spring in England, perhaps. Spring, my favourite time of year. I want to sing with the birds. And I do. I do sing with them. And I pray to God that I will never stop.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Nineteen Springs of my Life


Tomorrow I will have completed the mark of living for nineteen springs of my life. I was born in the spring of 1993 in a small town in North Devonshire. My mother held me tightly and promised to never let me go, but I grew and with days and years I could walk and talk and leave her beautiful arms. If any child could ask: Why would you ever do that? I really don't know what I would say, perhaps all grown-ups are silly after all.

My childhood didn't seem any different to the other country girls and boys at my Primary school. It is only now I realise how blessed I really was!
The five Burgess children grew up on a farm. A beautiful wintry farm tucked away in the depths and hills of Devon. We had the space to run and run and if it pleased us, to never stop. We lived by the sound of the birds in the sky; when they went to bed so did we and when they awoke, we did too. Long summer days we would capture swallows in the spooky loft above the barn, or we would look for eggs left in the crooks of hidden places and then we would take them into our own rooms and hatch them, only I didn't realise one time that mine was green- it exploded and created a very rotten egg smell!
When we got home from school we would pull all the dressing-up out from the cupboard and get into costumes. I was always the man and my sisters were always the ladies, it was perfect. We made adventures out of anything: climbing on roofs, swimming in the lakes, singing, making tree-houses, dancing in the rain, anything we could think of. When the bluebells were out we would lead flour trails into the woods and lie down in the sweet-smelling bells, jingling in the breeze. When it snowed we played out till our feet and hands were numb, finding any objects as sledges. Of course the tame lambs that we fed and named in the spring and the smell of the hot smoke from the tractors funnel, the puppies, the pony, the Manor house next door! All of it was perfect.

I could go on and on about the wonders and stories that happened when I was younger growing up on our Nana's farm.  

I suppose that freedom kept us innocent for a little while longer than everyone else, and that naivety kept us so pure and childlike and therefore so free from worries and cares; we were just simply happy. When the teenage years took their toll on us, my older sister and I had the amazing opportunity of being home-schooled. Beke my sister, hated 'big' school and really couldn't handle it so she was brought home and when my time came and I had the choice- of course I wanted to do the same. I look back and remember the terrible situation of seeing my dear friends from primary school enter the big dungeon the next year-somehow changed just from the summer holiday. They had changed, they were like the older children that had been trapped in the granite building year after year, they were wearing make-up and no longer 'played' at break time. It was strange; it was the reality of peer pressure.

So there we were my sister and I still at home, soaking in the country side with every minute. But the most important thing that made us so different from then and now is due to our parents. My wonderful mother who loved her children more than any woman could ever have loved a human being. She gave and gives every single minute of her life to us and that is why my heart cries, when I think that one day all her chicks will have to flee the nest. My father worked harder than any man has worked on the land, because he loved it, it is in his blood and it always will be despite what he says or does. He worked hard without encouragement and managed to live in difficult situations, which affected all of us in the end and we had to leave. But it was the wonderful blessing of being nurtured in a Christian family that takes the prime place in my life. We were taught to love one another, to share, to be creative, to do what we love, to care for every age, to appreciate God's creation, to make the most of every minute, and to love God with all our hearts. We were sheltered from the world as long as possible. We didn't have a television until I was about 15, before that we would watch videos over and over of funny things in them that we could laugh at for hours. I was 13 years old when we finally got a computer and compared to those around us that was quite a long time. People at school used to ask if I had seen something on T.V and I would reply, 'we don't have one' and their reaction was always mouth open, eyes wide- 'You don't have a T.V? Why??' We didn't have time to waste. We were fed on fresh air. Of course for my younger brother and sister it was obviously a lot younger for them and as a result I have seen about 5 or maybe even 7 years of their childhood being snatched away in the technology of today, because they can't share in the memories that us older three had.

My sister and I often talk about the first cd we bought which was 'Sclub 7' and we were begging mum and dad to let us buy it. They said you will have to sing us the songs so we can hear what the words are! Can you imagine that? I think it was wonderful-perhaps at the time I didn't but now I certainly do. I also remember when my eldest sister turned 12 and mum asked her if she wanted to watch 'Titanic' with her for a treat on her Birthday. So they stayed up late watching it and Beke and I couldn't sleep, we crept up to the door and rested our ears against the wood. Everything about what we could hear was so exciting, we just wished we could be on the inside of that room with them, but we couldn't we weren't twelve. Standards drop I suppose, but I don't think they have to. You are never too old to be protected by your parents!
You may say that all of it combined makes us what we are today, but back then it was our life. That was how we were raised and it is only now we know how blessed we were and are because of it.        

Every family has its own troubles, its own issues and struggles. We were no different. But it is the strength and the courage to continue and be sure of the future hope, that kept us together through-out. We have always believed that together as a family we are God's army. We can be powerful, we can be a blessing and many times Satan has had his turn at trying to break us. But he hasn't achieved! Even if we grow our separate ways which we one day will, I am sure it will not change, we shall be even stronger, our army growing bigger. But nothing can stay perfect forever, as soon as a child knows right from wrong their entire life has a new meaning, a new quality. Each time I have to go back to the farm, my heart burns. It hurts to see strangers having a 'holiday' in the house that we once lived in. It hurts to see trees cut down that we had once named.
And now when I wander about this world and come across sheep in a meadow or smell fresh silage, it brings back beautiful memories. And it is most poignant in the springtime, I then realise how much I miss the lambing season. It has only been four years since I left. I was 15 years old and already it feels like a lifetime ago. Then we travelled to a new land 10,000 miles away and that is a story in its self and I also know that in those quick 8 months God changed me drastically. And with everyday that passes I know I am changing for the better.  But those chapters are over now and right now I am living in a different kind of chapter, I am learning right now through waiting and patience. It feels like all that was in another life and that makes me so sad, BUT things can't last forever else we will never know how good things really are.
I would like to leave you with this quote-

'What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen. - Cynthia Ozick

Today is just as precious as yesterday was, but don't wait until tomorrow to see that! God Bless every single family today, whatever you are going through I hope you know you that you are never alone.

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children. - Psalm 103:17














Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. - Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Trials, Questions, Suffering 2012

                                                       
Goals/Transformations

1- ‘I am in control of my own body!’ ‘It is my slave- not- I am its slave.’

2- I will not be dependent on emotion. I will be hard to tempt, Satan will not have his way.

3- I will not be so sensitive to ‘feelings’ that will can suddenly sweep through my body and scare me or upset me or change me. I know who I am, I will not be swayed but will stand firm in the assurance that I am perfectly made; God’s daughter.

4- God will deliver me. And only through him will I ever conquer, rather than through some theory or definition. I will trust in God because he cares for me and only wants the best for me.

5- I will not let Satan deceive me! He loves it when I am afraid, unsure, and only when I give in and act upon those spirits of fear, have I been deceived.

6- God’s plan for my life will not be easy, so that is why he will give me faith, endurance, hope and power to achieve his will. The minute I think over Satan’s plans and his ideas of an ‘easy life because that is all I could ever manage’ I have let him get a foot-hold in my mind.

7- I will resist Satan and then he shall flee from me! I have been given authority and power from Heaven!  ‘The Devil… the proud spirit… cannot endure to be mocked.’- Thomas More

8- ‘The best way to drive out the Devil if he will not yield to texts of scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.’ – Luther

For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’- Ephesians 6:12

So therefore we must tease Satan by doing the right thing. We must make it our aim to do absolutely everything that he hates but that God adores. The only time it is acceptable to be spiteful and cruel and hate with all your heart is when it is aimed directly in the face of our enemy- Satan. But we must surrender all to God-the loving father, because at the end it will be his final judgement that will banish Satan from this earth and all realms forever. Amen?

We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ.  It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.’- 2 Corinthians 3:5

What are trials? Some see them as lessons, others reasons, others don’t understand them at all. I don’t think we will ever fully understand but we can at least try in some way or other if it increases our faith, but it is the faith without seeing that is best as then we are fully trusting God despite what some people may see as ‘unreasonable’ ideas . ‘The Screwtape Letters’ By C.S Lewis is one of the best most intelligent books I have ever come across. I was deeply changed and challenged by it, I would encourage every single person to read it, whether Christian or Atheist, it will reveal your own choices plainly, and will define your own beliefs. Here is a passage from it about suffering, (two devils are talking about Christians), ‘God’s human partisans have all been plainly told that suffering is an essential part of what he calls ‘redemption’; so that a faith which is destroyed by a war or a pestilence cannot really have been worth the trouble of destroying.’ If our faith is destroyed, it was not strong enough, but the faith that endures is worth everything, this determines our souls.

For some, the hardest part of being a Christian is the first few weeks after the excitement has died down and the hard journey of starting to live like Jesus and ‘breaking away from the crowd’, comes to take its turn. It is then that some new Christians have claimed to be ‘dropped’ by God, and feel as if God’s spirit has died away inside of them. I think God doesn’t leave them, but I think he does give them some time on their own with their own will and decisions. This is when God knows if you have the faith and trust to keep going. This is where your genuine motives come into play. Some people may have only become a Christian in the first place to please someone else or perhaps they may have been taken away with the loud music and saw others doing it and they got excited and thought ‘why not?’ Well it is then, after the first few weeks that the truth will suffice. ‘He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take his hand away; and if only the will to walk is really there he is pleased even with their stumbles.’- Screwtape Letters.
Persevere; God is on your side!

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.’ - “ Corinthians 4: 16-18

Another question that lingers to some degree at the back or front of the human mind is the fact of death in young age. We have been taught and expected to think that death at a young age is wrong, but is that only because people now see this life as ‘all we have, so you must make the most of it?’ And if it is ‘all we have’ surely it is unfair that a child should be taken when that was the only chance she got? This doesn’t seem right, there must be another realm, a better realm an eternal realm, where everything isn’t all about life and time and years and age because it endures forever? To Christians this earth and this life is only a training ground where what we do with our time will ultimately determine the next- eternal- life. 

The screwtape Letters, (the devils are again talking about humans): ‘How valuable time to us may be gauged by the fact that God allows us so little of it. The majority of the human race dies in infancy; of the survivors, a good many die in youth. Apparently He wants some—but only a very few- of the humans with which He is peopling to heaven to have the experience of resisting us (devils) through an earthly life of 60 or 70 years.’ Perhaps not so many humans now die in infancy as they have done in past decades, but the fact remains the same; our time on earth is dangerous, as the longer we are living the longer the Devil has to tempt us to join his side. We may fall off God’s path through our ‘experience’ of life. And just think of those who carry on and on until they are in old people’s homes, do you know how much the devil loves that? Just think of how long he has had with those dear people. He hungers for time, as much time as he can get and steal from you, and steal all the blessings and salvation that God once gave you and gives you still. He yearns for time to try your whole life to snatch you from God’s hand. But we mustn’t then worry like mad!

God says in John 10:38, ‘I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.’ Then why have I said all that before about the Devil taking you and always pressing down on you? Well here is the significant point that can answer a lot of questions: The devil cannot snatch you out of God’s loving hand BUT, you can choose to walk out of it. And there is the difference. I know people who once gave their lives to the Lord and have slowly, with time have back-sliden. The choices that they made and the things they submitted themselves to eventually caught up with them and Satan slyly took them back! But the most exceptional, the most important thing you can have in your life is Jesus Christ- so please Don’t EVER Give Him Up!

So perhaps those that leave this life early are being spared the trials and tribulations of what this life could have thrown at them. Perhaps something terrible might have happened later on and God was just saving them from that pain and grief. Remember God has the best planned for you, and through him everything happens for a reason even reasons we cannot see.

At the end of the day it is not whether we have read a novel or the Bible or whether we have prayed 4 times or haven’t at all, God has ways of drawing us closer to him even by things like singing a tune (Christian or not) or by watching a sunrise or by spending time with a person. What actually matters is the given state of mind, in given circumstances which could move us to act in a certain way at a certain moment that will either draw us nearer to God or nearer to Satan. The worst part of this spiritual battle is that so often we are not aware that the feelings over-taking us or the thoughts or ideas are being slyly threaded into us by the Devil, and he loves it when we blame ourselves, but he loves it even more when we are not even aware of his deceit within us. We must be aware and prepared for this battle that we must fight and face each and every day of our lives no matter how long.   

But we mustn’t worry because God’s side is far more superior and far more powerful than Satan’s side! He loves you dearly and can’t wait to meet up with you in eternity.  All the best to you children of God! Through God we can do all things! Never forget- it is us the Children of God and all the Heavenly host that win in the end- not Satan and his spirits!  

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’- 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10
 

Monday, 2 April 2012

Psalm XL of David

I waited patiently for the LORD; 
   he turned to me and heard my cry.
 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
   out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
   and gave me a firm place to stand.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
   a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.
 Blessed is the one
   who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
   to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, LORD my God,
   are the wonders you have done,
   the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
   were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
   they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
   but my ears you have opened[c]
   burnt offerings and sin offerings[d] you did not require.
 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
   it is written about me in the scroll.[e]
 I desire to do your will, my God;
   your law is within my heart.”

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
   I do not seal my lips, LORD,
   as you know.
 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
   I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
   from the great assembly.

Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD;
   may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
 For troubles without number surround me;
   my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
   and my heart fails within me.
 Be pleased to save me, LORD;
   come quickly, LORD, to help me.

 May all who want to take my life
   be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
   be turned back in disgrace.
 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
   be appalled at their own shame.
 But may all who seek you
   rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
   “The LORD is great!”

But as for me, I am poor and needy;
   may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
   you are my God, do not delay.

- David

Glorious and Excellent Things


"God wants you in the end, to be so free from any bias in your own favour that you can rejoice in your own talents as frankly and gratefully as in your neighbour's talents- or in a sunrise, an elephant or a waterfall. He wants each man and woman, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as as glorious and excellent things."
- C.S Lewis