Time to Breathe Again

Oh, hi, remember me? I thought I’d check in here as I’m in a season of ‘all things new’ that includes my words. My friend Jake went home to heaven this week; Jake was a constant encourager of my words, so with his gentle words in mind, I will ‘keep writing.’ 

This week I read an article about ’email apnea.’ I know, so interesting! Described as “temporary cessation of breath when we’re in front of a screen, especially when texting or doing email. This chronic breath-holding puts us in a state of fight or flight, affecting emotions, physiology, and attention.’ 

My attention was drawn to the description of chronic breath-holding, and I realized that the past few pandemic-filled years have forced an apnea of sorts, not because of emails, but the ever-changing external circumstances that the pandemic brought, causing the described adrenaline-filled response.  

The new Spring season emerging has helped me realize this. It’s the hummingbirds with their darting and swooping, the hum of their wings, the journey of thousands of miles – to my backyard – mine! We moved house a few months ago, and being in a new place for Spring is a wonder. It’s the clearing of weeds, green shoots and fresh blooms—the sensory feast of new flowers, fragrances, textures, and towering trees. It’s the moving stream, that runs through our yard, that God heard Phil for decades ago, th stream is where I sit with Arran. There’s no rush when watching ‘our’ ducks and throwing tiny sticks. 

I’m grateful for the new breath that nature is bringing me in this season, and I’m drawn to the first breaths of the first book. ‘And the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.’ The Hebrew word for “Spirit” is the word Ruach, which can also mean “Breath” or “Wind.” This opening scene depicts God breathing over the formless chaos. 

Thank you, Lord, that you continue to breathe over our chaos. 

Thank you, Lord, that your breath brings new life, 

that you breathe over our lifeless bones and resurrect our being. 

Thank you that our hearts beat with yours, as we catch your breath and our bodies settle. 

Thank you, Lord, that your breath helps our crick in the neck, 

our tight muscles, and tangled thoughts. 

Thank you, Lord, that you appeared to your disciples after your resurrection and breathed on them and said to them, 

‘Receive the Holy Spirit’

and you offer us the same today. 

Thank you, Lord, that your breath changes everything. 


Fourth-century Anthony of the Desert told a visiting philosopher who had commented on his lack of reading material, “My book, O philosopher, is the nature of created things, and any time I wish to read the words of God, the book is before me.”

As we look up and out to the changing season before us, let’s be conscious of our breathing, acknowledging His presence, and as we do, we will know a fresh infilling of God’s presence, love and assurance. 

What new thing are you experiencing in your walk with God this season? 

Know that you are loved! 

Michelle x

The Lord surrounds his People

‘Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.’ This verse stood out to me from the fourth session of Phil’s anxiety talks on the Fill In, was verse one of Psalm 125. Link to the course here.

The Psalm desclares, ‘those who trust in the Lord are as unshakeable, as immovable as mighty Mount Zion! Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord’s wrap-around presence surrounds his people, protecting them now and forever.’ 

Psalm 125 is part of the collection of Psalms known as ‘a song of ascents.’ Songs sung by pilgrims as they made their way to Jerusalem during festival times. Imagine yourself as the pilgrim heading up to Jerusalem, Mount Zion ahead, the place where the temple stands. Your mind wanders to the many victories that have taken place there. Mount Zion, while the centre, it wasn’t the highest. I love this, that as the pilgrim saw the immovable, solid Zion, he also saw the surrounding mountains as God’s presence – His wrap-around presence. 

Imagine our world of thoughts as a weather system surrounding Mount Zion, dark clouds, swirling, foreboding, storming – your anxious thoughts and struggles written in the dark. 

Back to this verse, you are like the mountain. You are not the weather. Be still, and take your place on Mount Zion and see beyond the storm to the higher mountains surrounding you. You can be secure in your soul with this promise.   

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8 

There’s a great story in the bible about the prophet Elisha who woke one morning and found that the enemy surrounded the city. Elisha told the servant, ‘don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’  I’m sure the servant was a little confused at Elisha’s counting. The whole army versus two does not equal victory. 


“Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17) The all-around in this verse is the same meaning as surrounds in Psalm 125:2. And in Psalm 34:7: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7)

I love the practice of Lectio Divina, or Holy Reading – feasting on the word. 

Let’s feast on this verse in Psalm 125 word today,  

‘Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.’

  • Read the verse out loud, listen to the verse, hear God is speaking to you. 
  • Pick a word or phrase from the verse that stands out to you and meditate on it. For me, it was trust (again…) 
  • Pray about what you’ve just read, ‘why am I focusing on trust Lord, what do you want to show me?’ In my current world, where clouds threaten to shift the weather pattern away from the promise of peace. His word asks me to trust him. He has me surrounded. 
  • Ask the Lord how He wants you to respond to this verse, how will I change, how will the word transform me? How will I live differently? 

From this final response, it is useful to respond with a written prayer or write out some steps to transformation. Or, simply rest, sit still and repeat the word or phrase, for example, ‘’you surround me, Lord,’ 

Love, Michelle 


It seems to me that prayer and scripture are essential for keeping your mind on truth, and I would frequently cry out in prayer and turn to the bible for answers in my darkest moments. But if I’m honest, it wasn’t easy. I was so sick with anxiety that opening my bible felt somewhat like walking into a hospital. I knew that I needed to be there and that there was healing to be found, but it was almost easier not to touch the wounds. My anxiety would increase just because I was addressing my anxiety. And prayer, well God definitely didn’t answer my prayers in the timing I asked Him to. I think the best thing that I did regarding prayer was to ask others to be in prayer for me. Now that my anxiety is more under control, it is my goal to be in daily devotions and to keep giving everything over to God through prayer. It’s better for my life, and it’s better for my mind.


Scripture tells us we can have God’s peace guard our hearts and minds. I’ve dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember, so this idea of peace always seemed elusive to me.

I would read Scriptures like Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you,” and I would get frustrated that I didn’t have this perfect peace.

It was when I realized that those wasn’t a passive thing, but something I had to choose, that I started to understand how to have peace guard my mind instead of anxiety. It’s about choosing to trust and keep our minds on God. In 1 Peter 5:7, we’re told to “Cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for [us].” That says we have to do something.

When anxiety comes, I have to choose to give it to God, and then I need to declare my trust in Him. I declare the truth of what scripture says about God and who He says I am. Often I do this out loud, so I can hear it.

To do this in the moment when anxiety comes, I have to be daily in scripture, filling my mind with the truth. That is when I’m able to declare it when anxiety comes.

From a practical perspective, I’ve actually created a list in my phone of Scripture I can read when anxiety comes. It helps me to more quickly turn my mind back to God.

Mediate and Memorise

‘When I said, ‘My foot is slipping, your love, O LORD, supported me. When my anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.’ Psalm 94:18-19

Listen: House on a Hill, Amanda Cook 

Playing and Praying



Phil’s (our) sabbatical drew to a close with long days in Maui, where we valued a time of stopping our work to contemplate His.

We returned to the thoughts of Eugene Peterson who writes well on the Sabbath.

“…it’s the evening when God begins, without our help, his creative day and the morning is when God calls us to enjoy and share and develop the work he initiated – to participate. So we sleep to get out of the way for a while and join in the rhythm of salvation. We wake into a world we didn’t make, into a salvation we didn’t earn” He also adds, “the Deuteronomy reason for Sabbath-keeping is that our ancestors in Egypt went four hundred years without a vacation (Deut 5:15). Never a day off. The consequence: they were no longer considered persons but slaves”

…a familiar story?

As I think of the next 7 years of ministry, the goal is to both pray and play well – to enjoy the art of living and lighten up, even scripture is advising me ‘not to take myself seriously, but take God seriously (Micah 6:8 MSG)





Eugene wraps his thoughts with Psalm 92, of gratitude, prayer and the metaphors of music, animals and nature to learn from. Praying and playing share this quality: they develop and mature with age, they don’t go into decline…they are life-enhancing.

We were looking through our gazillions of pics this morning – of Zebras in the Serengeti, Grizzly bears along the highway to Banff, a Rattlesnake poised on my daily walk around the orchards. And from last week as the dawn chorus took on a tropical twist and the ocean was still, the clan took their snorkels down to the salty water and while playing the reef…


Playing and Praying

From Psalm 92. //What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks,  to sing an anthem to you, the High God! To announce your love each daybreak, sing your faithful presence all through the night, Accompanied by dulcimer and harp, the full-bodied music of strings. You made me so happy, God. I saw your work and I shouted for joy. How magnificent your work, God! How profound your thoughts!….My ears are filled with the sounds of promise: Good people will prosper like palm trees, Grow tall like Lebanon cedars; transplanted to God’s courtyard, They’ll grow tall in the presence of God, lithe and green, virile still in old age. Such witnesses to upright God!//


I will announce your faithfulness and love.

Evening and Morning.  

Sanctifying my days. Applying His ways.

The sacred rhythms of praying and playing.

Emptying from the clamor of me. Making Him room.

Being. Doing. Repeat.

And in the sabbath sounds I hear a whisper,

‘don’t forget I AM Good News. I AM joy. I AM life.’

The good news is a person: Jesus, who walked on this earth to offer an alternative to a humanity devoid of real hope, who died on a cross in order to redeem humanity, who came “to bring good news to the poor … to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free. Let’s not forget that truth.

With a sabbath softened heart. We continue…

Love, Michelle xo


**There have been a number of reading inspirations in the last few weeks. I have been nervous to finish Pete Greig’s book – Dirty Glory – thoughts on that in 6 months or so…**


Remembrance Day.

michelle's musings

Day 10. Poppies on the Somme

Many of us hold memories of family members involved in war. Stories of loss, pain, stories in the eyes of loved ones that were never told, then for us in more recent years, a lovely friend.

My Great Grandad Bert died from wounds in Flanders, Great Grandad Charlie, I remember him as the gentlest soul, held medals of bravery from WW1. Great Uncle Cyril, a remarkable character as any of my friends who met him will remember…he was in Italy. My Grandad Bill was posted in the Sahara on tank recovery, I miss my Grandad.

IMG_3517Grandad Bill.

IMG_3519His recovery truck.

And in Upton on Severn my Great Uncle John Herman is remembered.


The red-flowered corn poppy became the symbol of wartime remembrance for the First World War – being immortalised by John McCrae, the Canadian Surgeon and Soldier, in his famous poem of 1915  “In Flanders Fields”.


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Spring it on.


For friends and family and those in between otherwise known as framily. For those who we have failed to communicate with lately, let’s have a quick catch up on all things Collins.

Josiah is looking forward to the being outside as much as possible as the nights get lighter although he will miss his Dr. Who nights with Phil.

He is also looking forward to joining a new Parkour class this spring. Of course, you already know that Parkour is ‘the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing’.

Bella took to the stage this week in the school play Pinocchio. She enjoyed every moment! She is still dancing and of course smiling.


Jessica and Emily are heading down to LA today to take part in various outreach activities on Skid Row, Venice Beach and with Metro Kidz. Pray for 120 of our youth as they drive down to LA. That they will know travelling mercies and be a God given blessing to those they meet. Love their heart to serve.


Phil is loving leading church and preaching up a storm whilst dreaming of hiking enduring paths on various continents.

You probably know we applied for Permanent Residence last year. Not the best timing as they overhauled the system in January and we have to go through a number of steps to be ‘invited to apply’. These are all underway. One of the steps is for me to sit a 3-hour English test at the end of March (Phil already sat his) and also re-advertising Phil’s job to adhere to the new requirements. Many have said ‘but you’ve been here for 5 years – surely that counts for something’. True! But the new system requires us to prove that the Englishman is the right one for the job. We confirmed this with our MP who attends our church who just happened to be sitting with the Immigration Minister in Parliament. We like to get the facts from the top.

And me…

I have just started a new module for my writing course. The last module took far too long over the last year, 2014 a distant memory. Kinda…I am so excited about this module as it is my favourite writing subject ‘Life Writing’ so be prepared for my non-fiction to take on new a new level of creativity.

I am walking everyday, clocking up those 10,000 steps on the fitbit. Phil and I take every Monday to find a new mountain to climb or trail to run. Much ground is covered in every way miles and miles of praying…walking…talking. A healthy time for us in marriage, for our family and ministry. A friend commented on how fortunate we are to have that time together. It’s true, and like everybody else, we have a huge to do list. (Especially in our home – goodness). But at the top is the list is this intentional time.

And I get to snap great pics.




And I got new trail runners 😉


As the twins head off to LA, the remaining Collins 4 are going on a road trip down the Oregon Coast for Spring Break. Cannon Beach first then we see where the wind blows…

That’s all for now, thanks for reading and staying in touch.

Love and Prayers,

Michelle xo

This one is for you

Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us. Ephesians 3:20

Can you imagine living this?

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them…Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:4

Loving our God-Created-Selves


Hi all,

It’s snowing!!


I was chatting with my friend across the pond about how easy it is to care for others, our neighbour, those around our world – yet so often we fail to love ourselves.

Which got me thinking.

One of the reasons of our burn out is lack of self-care. In my last post I wrote about the way that God wants to restore our soul. Many of you were encouraged by this saying  ‘yes – I want restoration too!’ We know that God wants to restore – but how?

Psalm 37:37 encourages us to ‘Keep your eye on the healthy soul, scrutinize the straight life; There’s a future in strenuous wholeness’

Keep our eye on the soul. Care for its health. Wholeness is not a given.

It’s an effort, a daily choice…




If you Google self-care there are lists upon lists of suggestions on how to care for yourself. Obvious and not so… here’s a few (some are mine ;))

Walk in the rain/Feel the sunshine on your face/Dance in the kitchen/Send someone an encouraging message/Find beauty in the ‘hood/Journal toxic thoughts/Bubble bath/Write a poem/Light candles/Talk to a loved one with phones off/Take a nap/Get a pedicure/Go on a road trip/Look through old pictures/Begin a gratitude list/Listen to Jazz/Go to bed early/Appreciate the sunrise and sunset/Stop and look at clouds/Listen to an audiobook/Go on a thrift shop tour/Declutter/Let kids go into school late/Screen calls/Be silent/Weekly date with your love/Be.

Now this list is all very lovely and I’m sure I’ll just go ahead a check them off anyway. But there is so much more to this, and as I spend time with those for whom the list appears to be a lifetime away. Where the only self-care on their list is to eat daily, and to find warmth and shelter – I need to go deeper.

Back to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’

As yourself. Ouch.

But there are so many neighbours we need to care for. There are family we need to invest every minute into. Then there are homeless and they’re hungry. Then there’s…. You have your own stories.

So often in all of our caring we fail to care for ourselves, ultimately depriving the very people we are pouring into. Our limits are reached and we hit.that.wall.

Self-care is not selfish.

Self-compassion is not self-indulgence.

How is it we treat others with ultimate compassion yet fail to treat ourselves the same way?

Lets back track on the verse.

Before ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ Jesus says ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matt. 22:37-38

We are made in His image. When we love God with all of our heart, soul and mind we begin to see the His image in us. In giving us this command, Jesus assumed that if we love God with our all – loving ourselves would not be an issue.

So in answer to the question ‘How can we find soul restoration? How can we care for your soul?

Let us see a new love for ourselves as we see the image of our Creator in us – when caring for ourselves becomes normal.

‘Self-care flows from loving our God-created-selves

which flows from loving God with our whole being’



Lord, you make truth clear and so often we complicate it,

I pray that all reading this will know a revelation of your love,

We all need a revelation of your love.

Heal our heart, mind, body, soul.

Help us to see your image in us,

Help us to love and care for ourselves.

And in doing so

We will love others well.



Psalm 103

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal

With all that is in me—body, emotions, mind, and will—every part of who I am—

Praise His holy name.

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal;

sing a song from a grateful heart;

sing and never forget all the good He has done.

Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you.

More than any doctor, He heals your diseases.

He reaches deep into the pit to deliver you from death.

He crowns you with unfailing love and compassion like a king.

When your soul is famished and withering,

He fills you with good and beautiful things, satisfying you as long as you live.

He makes you strong like an eagle, restoring your youth.

 Love, Michelle xo


SerMonday: Stormy thoughts.


SerMonday: My take on the weekend message at WillowParkChurch.

From our new series #DiscoverJESUS.

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.  And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,  but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.” Matthew 14:22-24

Jesus is seeking time alone with God, sending disciples ahead of him and dismissing the crowd so that he can be alone and pray.  Jesus dismissed them, ‘sent them away’. He is preparing himself for the increasing intensity of the ministry to come.

Meanwhile, the disciples are having their faith challenged in Christ’s absence.

The word used of the disciples beaten, ‘buffeted’ by the storm is the same word used in these two verses, a word that can refer to torment and demonic hostility.

“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Matt 8:

“They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. ” Revelation 9:5

Two story lines are merging; While Christ is praying on the hill tops the disciples are being tormented by the storm.

We all know what happens next? Jesus came to the disciples walking on the water. How have you imagined that stormy water.

What did Jesus say to the terrified disciples? ‘Take heart, or take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid’

Matthew 14:28-31 “And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  And those in the boat worshiped him,  saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

My thoughts from this familiar story.

Jesus dismissed the crowd. Seriously, if Jesus had to do it. So do we. Our crowd is not the same, of course, but there’s so much that crowds our life and distracts us from spending time with God. This isn’t an encouragement to switch off the TV or unplug social media – not that alone.

Are we frequently finding and protecting time to be with God?

Jesus did.

The image of the storm representing torment, or the sting of scorpion. This was powerful. I sit with church family who are right in the middle of the storm. I don’t have to list these storms. You know your own.

Jesus says today ‘Take courage. It is I, do not be afraid’. 

Storms are a part of life, I’m not going to say that by having faith and inviting Jesus into our storm that we always experience an immediate, physical still. I do believe when you invite Jesus, who is Peace, into your storm, that He gives you an indescribable inner peace and gives you the courage to face it.

And one day. It will stop.

My final thought. In August we went to Green Bay where Phil spoke at family camp for a week. We were invited to join a group on a ‘romantic, scenic’ boat trip around Kelowna. Taking in the sights and watching the sunset. About 10 minutes into the experience, the weather turned and we watched a grey, menacing storm roll in over Rutland.

Soon enough our romantic evening changed as Okanagan lake waves made their way to my romantically inspired hair and non waterproof make up.

We watched the storm unfold over our city and knew lives would be affected.

As it settled, I saw this from the boat…


Often, when we are in the midst of it, we can’t see a way out, desperate to believe the promises, to hear God, we are thrown around, struggling to find a glimpse of hope.

It is then, that we need our community, our church family to step in and to see the promise for us. I have seen this repeatedly over the years of church life.

Life storms are often unbearable. Find yourself some rainbow chasers if you’re in one.

Love, Michelle xoxo

Groovy kind of Life.


“It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.” C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity

A few years ago on our church weekend in Lenchwood,  I decided to show off my percussionist skills. For some reason I decided to play drums during worship.

I can’t play drums.

In particular I went for the clashing, crashing cymbal at key moments during the song.

Actually they were my key moments. Not the key moments of the song.

My friend Tim (a real drummer) gracefully encouraged step away from the kit, he took over from me – and the congregation breathed a sigh of relief.

No one mentioned that moment. Thank you church.

My rhythm was right off. My rhythm declared ‘focus on me’.

Musically when we force the rhythm, it becomes out of sync and loses it’s character, its beauty.

But when you find that rhythm…

It’s what known as – being in the groove. When you find it you feel obligated to stay in it.

Now I might not be a drummer, but I am a runner, I ran 10km last week. It took me a while to find my running groove but when I did, I stayed in it.

The unforced rhythms of grace. The groove. A place we are called to live.

Our high wired life is a starting point for rhythm robbing. I read an interesting article here: He writes ‘With the onslaught of communications we all receive every day, we sometimes have to work hard to make some more spaces in our lives — and for good reason. Staying “wired in” too much increases allostatic load, a reading of stress hormones and other threat responses. We are ready with our fight or flight response — great in the past for running away from tigers, but today it creates an artificial sense of constant crisis. So we are locked in continual partial attention. Or continual partial inattention….

….So breakout! Breathe deeply. Float in the pool. Beat a drum. (I’ll stick to bongos) Fold laundry (that’ll make a change) As the 12-steppers put it, “Let go and let God.” Find those unforced rhythms of grace. Countless possibilities emerge, but the key is to do something completely different. Then the stress function is relieved and creativity emerges.’


Josiah seems to have his summer rhythm.

I chatted with a friend today who finds herself in a place of chaos this week. Peace robbed. Joy stolen. Circumstances and life have become that cymbal crashing in her ear. Drowning out the peace she has fought for.

A familiar story those noisy cymbals.

Jesus loves to break through the din, with this…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

I pray for your days:

of holidays and graduations.

of feeling overwhelmed.

of uncertainty and unrest.

of high wired intensity.

of floods and loss.

of your identity passing you by in a torrent.

…when the noise is just too much.

I pray that whatever you are facing that will know Jesus close.

That you will learn to keep company with Him.

That you will learn the unforced rhythms of grace.



 Time to get your groove on.

You are so loved.

Michelle xoxo.

Five Minute Friday

Burning Heart


A heavy heart for many dear ones tonight. I’m weighed down by burdens.

Those who find themselves in a place of despair.

As chemical warfare parades a dark dance through the mind.

Vicious suffocation. Veiled isolation.

I cry for you in and out of your depth.

Wordless groans. Silent sighs.

Truth arrives quickly and turns this burdened heart to a burning heart.

And from this burning, incense can only rise upwards to heaven.

Reaching the golden bowls.

Swirling, filling, spilling.

A fragrant offering before God.

Those groans and sighs?

I know you experience them too.

They reach the golden bowls of heaven.

And as those bowls are filled.

After days, weeks, months, years of prayers. Of sighs. Of groans.

They finally tip, brimming.

Showering God.

That is the prayer from this burning heart tonight and tomorrow…and the next day.

For you.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. 

Romans 8:26. 

Each had a harp and each had a bowl, a gold bowl filled with incense, the prayers of God’s holy people. 

Revelation 5:8. 

Vulnerability on Facebook.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

I recently read a Facebook post from a friend (a teacher) who’s very calling and passion had been questioned and undermined. Who had taken a hit by a fiery dart which had left her hurt, confused, floored.

So, she put a shout out on Facebook asking for some encouragement…

The fleeting thought of judgment of asking such a thing disappeared as I drew on my current focus of living in vulnerability. I soon saw the power of it. Remembering: “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Brene Brown.

Here’s what she wrote for me:

‘I guess you could say that my post went viral in my own little world. I received 24 pages of encouraging comments from students, former students and parents of former and present students. Each one had a profound effect on me. They made me cry and smile. They brought back fond memories of every single student who responded. They strengthened me. Each word of encouragement was like an arrow shooting back at the enemy who was trying to discourage me. I was humbled again in a different way and somewhat embarrassed. My mother wasn’t. She said she was proud of me and the comments made her cry and smile too. She was the one who asked me to copy all the comments into a Word Document and send them to her so she could read them to my Dad who doesn’t like reading on the computer. That’s how I know there were 24 pages of encouraging comments. You know what else is significant about that number? This is my 24th year of teaching. Yes, Satan may win a few minor skirmishes, but my ultimate victory is secured in Jesus Christ! Let us never underestimate the power of encouragement!

….I greatly appreciated, and now cherish, the encouraging comments that were given to me last week. Without social media, I wouldn’t have been able to reach out in my need or received such an immediate response. There may be those who see only the “evils” in social media, but I for one have benefited in more ways than one from the positive use of social media. God can use ANYTHING for his purposes!’ Thanks Jo!

I’ve read all sorts of posts complimenting each other lately on being a round person in an edgy world. Raw edges? Shattered? Serrated?

How are you on encouragement? Being an encourager that is.

 ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up’                              1 Thessalonians 5:11

F.B Meyer said that if he had his life over he’d spend much more time in the ministry of encouragement.

Yes –  the ministry of encouragement. Is that you?

Healer of serration. Pouring oil on the raw.

Liar fighter. Celebrator. Defender.

Comforter. Hope giver. Creator.

You are real – you know hard stuff happens – in fact doesn’t just happen, its commonplace.

It’s not bumper sticker unreality or


Cotton candy fluff…

They’re THE Word pinning others down as they spin, holding them up as they fall.

“Words kill; words give life.” Proverbs 18:21

If I lived like that were true – that everything I say or write can give LIFE – I…we would be so much more intentional with words.

There is someone in your life, your family, and your circle that needs a word of encouragement today. It’s more than a positive word. Its more than a pick me up. Words give life. Ask ‘Who and how do you want me to encourage today Lord’?

It could be that only you are in the position to help those you come in contact with.

Become part of Gods plan for someone else’s day…who knows, it might be formative in someone’s life, or it might just get them through the next hour.

‘The generous will prosper;
 those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.’ Proverbs 11:25. 

Be (an) encourag(er)ed!

Love, Michelle xoxo