Random Ramblings

Reflections on my walk with God


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Shoebox Prayers

Tomorrow we will start checking boxes in the Wirral Warehouse. These are some thoughts that I plan to share with the other volunteers followed by a brief time of prayer. Please take a little time today to pray for all of those who will be involved in the Operation Christmas Child campaign this year.

As we start checking boxes today I thought it would be lovely to share a poem that is more usually read out after Christmas.

The work of Christmas by Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among the people,

To make music in the heart.

Each box that is wrapped, packed, checked and eventually shipped, will be received by a child who may be lost, broken, hungry, or have parents or siblings who are prisoners.

They may live in a war-torn nation or a refugee camp.

They may have never experienced peace.

They may have forgotten the joy of music.

A shoe-box filled with gifts is not going to make all of the horrors in their live go away but for just a short time they will experience the pure joy of knowing that somewhere someone cares.

For perhaps the first time in their lives they will have “things” that belong to them alone.

For those of us who have been collecting, sewing, knitting, crafting and so many other good works all year it may seem that we never stop thinking of Christmas. But the next few weeks are probably the hardest work that many of us do all year!

This Poem reminds us that the work of Christmas is just beginning. Right now.

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The Woman at the Well

It is too hot to go to the well.

Day after day as I walk my memories haunt me.

I remember happy times when I joined the other women collecting water in the cool of the day.
Now I avoid them, and they avoid me. I see them looking sometimes when I have to go to the market; looking through me, or staring with distain, and some who want to smile but fear the consequences of mixing with a fallen woman..

The days were happy, my husband a young man not much older than me, well loved by all. Some of those who eye me with distain now were jealous then. His death was catastrophic, a widow before I was 30 and no hope of re-marrying. I had nothing and no one to help me.

I came from another place and could not go back. The people of Sychar thought that I had brought a curse on my husband; I had given him no son and he had died in the prime of life. To them I was to blame and must be shunned.

I did what I could, I was still young and attractive, I found a lover who gave me enough to keep body and soul together. When he left there were others…… Every day I hate myself for what I have become, but what else could I do?

There is a man at the well, this stops me in my tracks. Why is there a man at Jacob’s well at the 6th hour? As I draw nearer I am even more shocked, he is a stranger, a Jew.

Seeing me there alone in the heat of the day he must know that I am a disgraced woman but he speaks to me:
“Give Me a drink.”
“How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?”
( I have never heard of a Jew speaking to a Samaritan)

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

I am so confused, maybe he has been in the sun for too long, so I ask “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”

“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Either he is mad or a great prophet, I ask “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.”
“Go, call your husband and come here.”

For a moment I just stare at him. His eyes seem to look into my soul, I see mixture of judgement and mercy. He cannot be much older than me, but his face tells of experience and wisdom far beyond his years. Quickly dropping my gaze, I noticed his hands, they are not the soft hands of a Rabbi, they are hands that have worked. I am trying to understand what this means. The words “I have no husband” Spill out of my mouth and I am lost, the Jews always stone adulterers…..

He is speaking again “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”

How does he know? And if he knows, why did he even speak to me? Emboldened I say “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

The prophet continues “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

I am filled with awe, who IS this man? “I know that Messiah is coming; when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”
His answer stuns me “I who speak to you am He.”

A group of men are walking towards us, carrying food. They have come from the town – a Jewish prophet who sends his disciples into a Samaritan town? They are a rag tag bunch, most look more like they should be working the land or fishing, rather than following a prophet, but then I think He too was a working man. They are surprised to see him talking to me but none of them questioned me, one or two even smiled.

My waterpot forgotten, not even thinking of what will happen to me I go as quickly as I can to the city. The men are shocked to see me but before they can say a word I tell them, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” Curious they follow me back to the well. When we get there his disciples are urging Him to eat. But he seems to be waiting for us. I hear the disciples speaking amongst themselves, pointing at us as we near the well. They don’t look surprised, one of them is saying that Jesus always draws those who are thirsty for truth.

Jesus and His disciples are being invited to stayed in Sychar. The whole town will hear him and will believe. The men are saying to me, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Saviour of the world.”

Walking back to the town behind the men, I am met by the women who used to be my friends; the men do not stop them. They have heard the news, they ply me with questions. These women whom I love and thought I would never speak with again are holding my hands, tears of joy are falling from my eyes as I tell them all that Jesus said to me.

I know that from this time forward my life will be different. I have met the Messiah, my sins have been forgiven, my life renewed.

A story based on John 4:4-42 (quoted text from NASB)


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Today we are praying for OCC, and so I thought I’d share how I became involved in this amazing, live-changing charity

In June 2005 I went to church for the first time in over 20 years to ask for prayer for my brother who had been in coma for 13 days. I knew nothing about the particular church other than my good friend Heather went there. She had spoken to the pastor – the church prayed, John opened his eyes the next day – prayer answered! John was and remains paralyzed from the waist down – but he is alive.

I was hooked and continued to attend church. In October of that year, one of the church ladies asked for volunteers at the shoebox warehouse – I readily agreed thinking that I could afford 3-4 weeks per year. No-one warned me about shoebox addiction ;).

By the end of the campaign I had signed up to do schools talks but thought nothing more about it until I was invited to go to some presenter training, that required becoming a registered volunteer – I filled in the form and sent that off. Did the training and that year I gave some presentations and volunteered at the warehouse. But God had much bigger plans for me.

As a registered volunteer I received an invitation to the SPI/OCC conference. I had a 7 year old daughter, did not think that my partner would be happy for me to leave them and so did not ask … but I didn’t throw away the conference leaflet. It “floated” up and down in the piles on our dining table eventually being picked up by said partner who simply asked “Are you going to this?” Of course I said yes. The thought of getting away on my own for the weekend was, I confes, a big factor!

For several months before the conference I had felt like I was walking along a path at the edge of a cliff, I knew that I had to stop and somehow step off the cliff.  The cliff was my old, safe, known, life – I needed to step out in faith and allow God to catch me.  I “knew” that God would not let me fall – but I couldn’t let go, it meant not being in control; not knowing what would happen next; not knowing whether my life would change and whether I’d have to let go of things and people who were precious to me.

I went to the conference praying that God would help me to take the step but acknowledging that all things are in His time not mine.  Friday night passed with praise and good fellowship among the delegates – I had found another few hundred family members…….

On Saturday morning we sang “Lord I lift Your Name up high” and as I sang the lines “…from the Earth to the cross, my debts to pay” I was struck by the awesome meaning of those simple lines – Jesus had died for ME, it was my sin which had nailed Him to the cross, He lived and died to save me.

God had reached out and without me knowing it; He gently helped me to step off the cliff. At that moment Jesus became as real to me as the people around me. I was completely overwhelmed by a feeling of closeness to God and a need to repent and be forgiven.  I went back to my room and wept…….

The rest of the day was a rollercoaster of emotions – I attended workshops and seminars on Biblical topics and Samaritan’s Purse projects.  Through it all I kept coming back to the awesome knowledge that Christ had died for me.  From the despair that I felt when I realised how unworthy I was, came the amazing understanding and freedom that God had forgiven me, and that I must now honour His gift to me by giving my life to Him.

I went to the conference unsaved and came back reborn.  A few weeks later I was baptised and later that year I finally persuaded my partner of many years to become my husband.

In 2005 I found out the power of a simple shoebox – it has transformed my life.


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Christmas List

A Christmas list with difference, not things I want but things I would love to give away.

This is not all my own work but has been collated over the last 9 years of my shoebox obsession. My sources are SPI/OCC – websites and FB pages, fellow volunteers, and also the many boxes that I have checked with joy. It is really such a privilege to share the joy of these boxes filled with love and to know that each one will make a difference to a child who may have never received a gift or even love.

Enjoy and happy shoeboxing.

Love,
Tricia ♥

What should go in a shoe-box?

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