proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity. She can laugh at the days to come.

Yeah!!

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broken bodies, resurrected buildings: beauty of a day unplanned

‘Our photographs capture the spirit of the in-between of the place as it rests between stages, neglected and keeping its secrets’

We find you under a bridge. ‘Amazon’ – utterly vulnerable despite your best efforts. Your discomfort with your vulnerability clashed hard with your desire to expose it. The exposure at once celebrated its perfect beauty and the the strength of your heart. The light bounces off the strongest ridge – that curved upside down V between your ribcage. Womanhood. It was irresistible and made me ache for you. Continue reading

a woman’s heartbeat

This week was International Womens Day.

 
Although its a simple thing really, just being a woman, its a good opportunity to think about just what this actually means from place to place. We are each handcrafted, dreamt up and imagined into being by a God of love, of compassion and of grace. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by creator-lover who is jealous and all-consuming. That has to be the starting point, always. 
 
And yet for some women, just being born means they have fought a battle -and won. In India, the number of foetuses aborted simply for being a girl is staggering. These somehow-human fingerprints of Abba himself fight for survival without even being taught how. They know nothing of feminism, nothing of the history of womankind, nothing of the politics. They even have no armour to defend themselves. No shield, sword or helmet. And yet they fight. Fight in the strength of the greatest advocate of all, the Saviour who knows them by name and has long counted every yet-to be imaged hair on their head. Jesus fights for them, with them – and the victory cry resounds as they appear in all mess, all noise with neither shame nor apology. Oxygen leaps into lung, voice cries out – I am here! Let my presence be known, not silenced, and celebrated!!
 
Glory day. And yet this victory is the precursor to many a fight yet to come. In Congo a girl woman is raped every minute. Rape.  A weapon of war which tears apart, which destroys and rips to shreds nurtured dreams, which sows enduring lies, as well as perhaps….new life? So much to fight against, to fight for. My courageous and vulnerable heaven-sisters.
 
And to juxtapose myself with this picture of struggle, devastation and suffering? My only daily sufferings and falls, wonderings wanderings and dreams…wondering if I’ll be able to fulfil all that seems to burst inside my heart for girls, for justice, for love, for Him. 
 
First and foremost You created our hearts. We had heartbeats before we knew how to argue, how to politicise, how to fight’ as the world knows how. That heartbeat was taught by You, and it is that beat which produces the fight. Help me to slow and quieten enough to hear my heartbeat, that I might then hear Yours. Only then will I know what is really worth the fight – and throw my hands up towards You to be armed accordingly.
 
 

a holy kiss

Image

Eyes cast down, heart-weary. Then – eyes lifted and heartbeat quicks

Red. The shame, the passion, the fire, the hate, the love all surface

To collide in this space.

It spills obscene, nothing untouched and eyes are burning, and can I turn from this?

Outrageous grace. Sky-fire to refine the day. I see it now, the Lord’s handcrafted gold for my delight.

Had you forgotten?

This is amazing grace. Blood poured out. Covers all, in all, through all – obscenely spilled.

Eyes cast down again. Now eyes open to blood on my hands – stained at birth. Rusty iron nails clenched within, fingers which bleed from the thorns woven into a crown.

Where to turn from this?

Eyes lift again. Blood red spills, covers all. Hands lift skywards and blood meets blood. The burning kiss of grace.

Hands are cleansed and all is whiter than snow.

Outrageous, inconvenient, redemptive beauty reminds that this is enough. It is finished.