About this traveller

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London, United Kingdom
Follower of Jesus. Husband. Father. Son. Poet. Writer. Preacher. Story-teller. Learner. Pilgrim.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Abuse: Broken Vessels

A friend of mine made something really amazing. He took some dust from the ground and began to create the most amazing work of art. He worked tirelessly, devoting both time and energy to his creation. The dust took form as the day passed and it wasn’t long before the creation was completed. It really was quite remarkable – the finest creation my friend had ever made. He was extremely proud of it. That creation was you!

You were created by God to be perfect in every way. Each of us has been made by God and he is very proud of us. When He made you he looked at the perfect finished product and he said “It is very good”. I’m sure that God smiled over you when you were born.

Each of us has been hurt by aspects of life. The abuse victim knows hurt at a very deep level. We come to God weak, with hearts full of hurt and tears. We come to him with our insecurities and with our shame. We wonder if he can ever make us whole again.

Here is the truth about God. The Bible teaches that God is loving and full of grace. He is slow to be angry and very quick to love you. He wants you to come to him with every hurt and pain, with every wrong ever done by you or to you, and he wants to make you like him once more. You were created in God’s image and that image can be restored again.

The Bible shows us that that God began a good work in you and that He will work in you until that work is complete. You can take hope in the fact that God will heal and restore you to be made whole from the hurts of abuse and life. It may take time and it may take a lot of work, but the possibility of a restored life makes it all worthwhile. There is hope after the storm. There is fullness of life after the experience of abuse when we invite God in to heal us. Shall we pray together?

Loving God, thank you for accepting us and restoring us to be all we are meant to be – made in your likeness. Heal our hurts. Show us the light of your love in dark situations, and help us to be like you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Abuse: Why?

Have you ever observed a young child enquiring about something that interests them? The conversation may go something like this:

Dad, what’s that?
It’s a hairdryer for Mum to have dry hair?
Why does Mum want dry hair?
She’ll catch a cold if it’s wet.
Because it’s cold outside.
Because it’s been raining.
Because it always rains in April.
It just does.

This can go on for hours until either Dad gets annoyed or child loses interest. Often it’s because Dad gets annoyed and then the child is left feeling like they’ve done something wrong. I’m sure you will agree that the child has done nothing wrong in this situation - He has just exercised his right to be inquisitive about something. Yet often when children ask ‘why?’ in this manner they are treated like they are in the wrong. Granted it can be annoying, but they are not wrong.

We are like the child sometimes. When things in life go wrong we look to heaven and ask why. We have seen this recently with the Tsunami. Many who have gone through abuse daily question “why?”
The abuse victim asks why they were abused, and why did God allow it to happen. A parent or guardian of an abused child may be asking why they were unable to see the signs of abuse as it occurred. In reality there are often no answers to these questions, but there is comfort in God who helps us through our hurts.

It is not wrong to ask “Why?” As God’s children we have the right to ask big questions. It is encouraging to remember that God has boundless amounts of love and patience for us, his children. He will not scold us for asking hard questions, but he will love us and carry us through when we cannot understand. As well as asking why we can also ask for help.

Let us turn to God for strength today.

Loving God, thank you that you never stop us from trying to find answers to lives hard questions. Thank you for accepting us just as we are. Help us to remember that one day everything will make sense and all pain will cease. Help us to keep looking to you for the strength, help, and the healing our lives need. Amen.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Abuse: Fear

Can you remember a time when you felt so afraid you were frozen to the spot? Perhaps you were waiting in the queue for a thrill ride. Perhaps you were about to make an important presentation or speech. Fear is no stranger to us and it is no respecter of people. At some point we all feel afraid.

For some people life is lived in fear. Those who have been abused know the reality of fear. Imagine living every day in fear of an individual who had hurt and tormented you. Even now, years later, the very mention of their name may strike fear into you. We wonder, ‘how can I ever escape these fears and these memories?’

Now imagine living a life without fear. It is a life where the memory of abuse does not haunt you and you are free to be what God created you to be. For many this life is never a reality, but there is hope through God’s grace.

My wife used to have nightmares frequently. She would awaken in the night screaming in fear. She was so afraid that she thought the object of her fears was in the room with her. Each time I would hold her and speak gently to calm her down. As she relaxed I would tell her ‘It’s okay I’m here and I love you.’

God can help us overcome fear in a similar way. Today, your heart may be heavy with various worries and fears about the future. God is saying “It’s okay, I’m here with you and I love you”. For others, your experience of abuse has meant that life has been one big experience in fear. God calls to your heart today to give you hope and peace. When you have gone through your struggles God has seen and he has wept with you. Today He opens his arms of love to you and says “It’s okay, I’m here and I love you”.

The Bible has much to say about love and God. Perhaps the most important things we can hear today are that ‘perfect love casts out fear’ and that ‘God is love’. God will never force his way into our lives - He’s the perfect gentleman who waits for an invite. As the presence of God’s Spirit fills our hearts we can be transformed by his love. As we pray today why not invite God to reveal his love afresh to you.

We now pray,

‘Lord, we thank you that you want our hearts to be free from fear and filled with your love. Help us to know and live in this perfect love through the indwelling power and voice of your Holy Spirit bringing perfect peace. Amen.’

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Abuse: Secrets

Have you ever had to keep a secret? If you are anything like me you probably want to tell the world. A secret can be a lot of fun – like a surprise birthday party. How do we handle secrets that are not nice? Bad secrets are the ones that we really want to tell someone, but for some reason we find we cannot. Robert is 37 and he has a secret.

Robert was at his grandparent’s house for the weekend. His family also were there and he had got bored with the adults talking so he began to explore the house. He looked in every room. He looked at every picture. He looked in every corner. After a few hours he found himself at the entrance to the attic room. He entered and began to rummage around. A few minutes later he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Robert hid behind a wooden box. His grandfather entered the room and closed the door. Robert sheepishly came out from behind the box, while apologising quietly for being there. His Grandfather reassured him that it was okay and that he wouldn’t tell Robert’s parents, but Robert would need to do something in return. Ten minutes later Robert was in the garden. Tears flooded his eyes as he tried to forget the secret. Robert had a secret and he would never tell.

It has been estimated that one in every four girls and one in every ten boys are sexually abused before the age of eighteen. There are many adults today who have carried childhood secrets about abuse into adult life. Often we feel ashamed or guilty about what we have experienced. Often we think no-one will understand, or even believe us. Secrets like Robert’s ought to be broken. It took me a very long time to tell my parents what I’d been through, but I remember the relief I felt when I’d told my secret. It was my first step towards healing and restoration.

If you have a secret like Robert’s that is causing you pain and stealing your enjoyment of life please talk to someone today. Chat with a friend or phone your Church leader and arrange to discus it. You could call the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service for a confidential chat. Whatever you do, let the secret out.

Please allow me to pray with you now.

Loving God, please help all of us to openly talk about the things that have happened in secret. Thank you that nothing is hidden from your eyes and you understand everything perfectly. Help us to take whatever steps we need to take to walk in freedom. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Abuse: The Storm

A few years ago I wrote some devotions on the subject of abuse. I thought I'd post them here this week.

The rain lashed down as I sat at the window gazing out into the storm that surrounded the house. I curled up tight as I blankly looked out into the night. Would this storm ever cease? Would the sun ever rise? At ten years old I could see only storms.

Every day I feared what would happen after school. We’d go to our friend’s house till Mum got home. For four years I was subjected to various forms of physical and emotional abuse in that house. Although I managed to smile on the outside, on the inside I had already died.

Now I am eighteen. Recently, God touched my heart with his love. It was amazing – Imagine walking around in the dark for many years and then one day someone came along and turned the light on. That’s exactly what God did for me. I went to Church and a Pastor prayed for me. As he prayed God just flooded my heart with pure divine love. The hardness I’d built up and my resistance to love was broken down as God swept through me in the most gentle and loving way possible.

That night the storm began to disappear. I devoted my life to God that night and change began to happen. As I read my Bible and spent time with God in prayer I was quickly touched by God about letting go of the past and looking forward to the future. At that time it was like standing at the edge of a cliff and being told to jump off. I was terrified of moving forward, yet because I trusted God, I decided to take a step of faith and face up to the pain of my past. So I jumped.

Now I am thirty. As I sit at the computer writing this devotional my heart is overwhelmed by how much God has done for me. Having taken a step of faith to face up to the abuse I endured I can say today that my life is filled with hope and joy as God has brought healing to my wounded soul.

What is your step of faith? Some of us may need to begin by putting our trust in God. For some, we may need to talk to someone about our experiences. For others it may be the step of releasing forgiveness. Whatever steps you need to take we can ask God to guide us through the storm. Let us pray together.

Loving God, whatever storms of life we face help us face them with you. Where our lives feel dark, turn on the lights and reveal the path we must walk towards healing and hope. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The next 5 days

Over the next 5 days I will be posting some devotions on the subject of abuse. These may raise questions or concerns in your mind, or even cause painful past memories to surface. If so, please speak tov someone about them. You can email me via my profile, or you may wish to speak to your Church leader.

The devotions will be as follows:
1. The Storm
2. Secrets
3. Fear
4. Why?
5 Broken Vessels

May God bless and restore us as we read and pray

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Poem: My heart lies broken

My heart lies broken.
No one sees it.
No one hears its irregular beating.

My swollen heart beats.
Inflamed with love.
No one understands its way of feeling.

Love has blinded me.
I can see it.
I can feel the pain love causes me.

You cannot perceive.
You are unable to penetrate my heart
And see the undetectable beatings
my heart has taken for you;
my heart is broken for you.
O that you could enter into my heart;
be part of my soul!

Then you would comprehend my thoughts for you.
Then you would realize my love for you.
Then you would understand me.

I am my love for you my body was broken.

A homeless dream

I was out doing my shopping. I feel ill-dressed when out in Harrogate so I was a little surprised to see a homeless bloke on the pavement. Was he trying to sleep? Could he sleep and dream as I do?

Just sitting there with his sleeping-bag keeping his legs warm.

Just sitting. Not begging. Just sitting, staring into space. Maybe daydreaming.

What are his dreams? What does he want in life?

Perhaps just a warm place with simple home-made food - the type of food that's cooked with love.

He looked tired. I mean real tired. The bags on his eyes had bags on them.

I walked past him six or seven times and my heart...

...it just broke as I imagined that I was in his place.

How on earth do you dream of a brighter future when the world is walking past you, not even daring to make eye contact with you?

This question filled my head and spun around till I had to walk past again just so I could give the man a friendly smile.

So I walked. And I smiled. In return I saw the purest smile in the whole town.

I began to dream that this guy would find God's love - That he would find it in our smiles and in our generosity. That he would find it in our actions and our attitude as we stop to say 'what can I do for you?'

God had dreams for me and they are my reality now - some of them anyway. I want to follow God's example to see His dreams come true for all of us who sometimes find it hard to dream because life gives us hard knocks - today's hard knock may lead to opportunity knocking tomorrow.

May you be blessed by dreaming for those who cannot dream.

Book: You see bones, I see an army (Floyd McClung)

Floyd McClung is a total dude! If you haven'y read anything of his then read "The father heart of God"

If you've read that then get your mind stuck into "You see bones". Floyd calls us to imagine chuirch in a new way - simple, organic and rising up! What he says is also being written about by many others, but what makes this a great book is it's passion, simplicity and Floyd's ministry experiences that inform his writing and his ecclesiology.

A great bonus in this book id Floyd's understanding of apastolic ministry. the role of 'apostle' has long been shrouded, clouded and ousted - Floyd shows us a proper place of apostolic ministry for the 21st century.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Book: God On Mute (Pete Grieg)

I thought it was about time I started recommended some books - so here's the first:

I'm a huge fan of all the 24-7 prayer stuff, and this book is a warmly welcomed addition to their writings on the subject of prayer. It's refreshing to read a book with wit, warmth, honesty, vulnerability and sound theology within it's pages. Grieg manages to encourage us about the hard aspects of prayer, drawing on the example of Jesus' praying, as well as from personal testimony to ground it in today's reality.

I've read a few books on prayer and I'd rate it as one of the best.

Missional Distinctives

The following are five biblical distinctives form the foundation of a missional perspective:[6]

1. The Church is sent by Jesus Christ (John 17:18; 20:21, Luke 9:2; Matt 28: 19–20;Acts 1:8)
2. The Church is sent with the Cross (1 Cor 1:18, Eph 2:16, Col 2:14, 1 Pet2:24, 2 Cor 5:17–24)
3. The Church is sent in Community (Acts 2:42–47; 5:42; John 13:34–35; 1 John 3:16–17)
4. The Church is sent to every Culture (John 1:14; Matt 20:28; Acts 17:22–34; Luke 5:29)
5. The Church is sent for the King and His Kingdom (Matt 10:7; 25:34; Luke 4:43; Rev 11:15–17; Jer 10:7; John 18:36)

(Cited from: Dave DeVries, Missional Transformation: Fueling Missionary Movements that Transform America, Bakke Graduate University, 2007, 8-12)


It's 2am. My kids are asleep and my wife has gone to Soul Survivor festival for the week. I can't sleep. Maybe I've been married long enough to need Jenna here with me all the time. i miss her.

It's strange how we can feel lonely when living in a community - London has about 12 million people in it (I think!) yet here I am feeling lonely after only 2 days!! I lie here and imagine how the lost, the least and the last must feel almost 24/7!! I realise that I am fortunate to feel lonely like this only once in a blue moon.

So to all those of you who feel lonely, may God bless you with authentic community, friends and The Divine Presence of God.