Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Month: June 2013

Rock of Refuge

Life is not the easiest right now; a battle inside me is going on. A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of all my despair and doubt, I glanced out of the living room window. My eyes were drawn to a flowering rockery plant (that has somehow avoided being hoiked up like everything else that is green in our gravel-covered garden). I sensed the Holy Spirit wanted to teach me a valuable lesson using this delicate white flower.

‘What Lord?’ I moaned as I stared at the flower with a heavy heart, a large grey cloud of gloom above my head.

He showed me that although it looks fragile, it is firmly rooted on the rock.

‘That’s nice, but how does this relate to me…?’ I wondered miserably.

He showed me that it hadn’t done anything to deserve being in my garden. Thanks to its (and my) creator, it could enjoy being what it is without worrying about earning its right to have the sun shining on it or the rain watering it. That little white flower does exactly what it’s designed to do, and by doing so brings glory to God.

White Rockery Flower

Every time I read Psalm 31 over the next few days (I’m trying to memorise it…. what a long psalm!), whenever I came across the words ‘be a rock of refuge for me’ and ‘you are my rock’, I kept thinking about that rockery flower. It seemed to me that we had some things in common. Jesus is my rock of refuge; because I am in Christ I don’t need to try to earn His love. I already have it. I am more precious and loved than I can take in right now. But I am beginning to believe it.

Yesterday we had rain and hail and even a bit of thunder. It looked like the heavens had become one huge power shower! But when I checked on my little white rockery plant, it was still there, secure on the rock. Sure, it looked a bit battered and had possibly lost a petal or two, but there was no real damage. And I know that no matter what the enemy may throw at me in the days to come, because my rock of refuge is Christ, I won’t get hurt. He can’t do any real damage to me. Because Jesus has got me safe.

How Not To Write Poetry

Adrian and I are going through old paperwork at the moment, looking through cards and letters we’ve sent each other as well those other people have sent to us, trying to decide what has true sentimental value and needs to be kept and what should be recycled.

More than ten years ago, I went on holiday to the Isle of Wight with my family, acting as chauffeur for my parents because my dad broke his ankle a few days beforehand. I missed Adrian and decided to write him a poem which I sent him on a postcard (see picture). With the benefit of hindsight, the postcard was a great idea. The poem maybe not quite so much.

Here I am on the Isle of Wight,
But you are out of my sight.
It’s a nice place to be –
All surrounded by sea.
Although I’m sitting in a nice bay,
My thoughts are far away.
I’m thinking of Bilbo and Jack*;
Can’t wait to come back.
But even more, I miss my man,
So I’ll come back when I’ve got a tan.

Once I recovered from hysterics over my awful attempt at poetry, I wasn’t sure which disturbed me more: the fact that I composed it in the first place or that I wrote it on a card for the postman to see!

*Bilbo and Jack were my pet guinea pig and rabbit at the time.

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