(Sunset over the Ailsa Craig, Jan 2008)

Sometimes things don't quite turn out how we'd planned.

Sometimes you start a year full of determination and dreams and find yourself mostly confined to the house for sixteen weeks.
Sometimes you take yourself away for a three day retreat - seeking sanctuary in castles and sunsets and tea with old friends - and find yourself trapped in a hotel room by a bug in your tummy that won't let you stand except to be sick.

Sometimes you'll find yourself surprised by the blessings that multiply in time with the germs: when water - the simplest of miracles - becomes the one you appreciate most; when finally waking without cramp feels like the most magnificent relief; when opening the blinds and letting in some light feels suddenly like life's greatest gift; when scores of people reach out and try to take the sickness away with their gestures and their words; or when a minister and his wife, who you haven't seen for seven months, invite you to treat their home like your own, showering you with space and medicine and tea and dry toast, and reminding you that you are deeply cared for and valued by people who don't have to love you, but who just simply do.

And sometimes you realise that life is just like that: that when the tables are thrown upside down and the lights have all been turned out, there are still blessings to be found; that our plans are not always God's plans and His timing is certainly not our own; and that in the midst of it all, when we doubt Him the very most, He works and weaves His tapestry and crafts out the promise of an abundant future and an eternal hope.

"The dark is just a canvas for your grace and brightness.."

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  1. This is such a beautiful post. I am inspired, grateful and hopeful for the future.
    Olive Needs Popeye

  2. So true. I don't think God wants any of us to be ill, but certainly His ways are beyond our understanding. My daughter finds Corrie Ten Boom's example of the wrong side of the tapestry very comforting. (God sees the right side, we just see the messy underneath. There is a beautiful pattern.) As Madeleine L'Engle wrote, "The pattern is closely-woven."