Tuesday, 24 January 2023

A Time to Die

Yes, but it had seemed such a convenient time for  me to die. There I was already in hospital and likely to be in need of far more care than I already had.

But here I was, celebrating my nineties, with such thankfulness that God had not
answered my knocking so hard on heaven’s door.

When I was eighty I had carefully selected those who had been of special significance in my life, but now it was a different story. The facilities of The Rest were sadly no longer available, and my financial position was very different since God had wonderfully provided for me to have the nursing care I now needed.

Joel and I used to visit there to take a service, and after his death I was delighted when the ladies of Grace took over this ministry. And so now I have a loving caring family, and have taken on the self-appointed position of birthday poem writer.

Two days before I had been writing a birthday poem for a special twenty year old and then, realising no one was likely to write one  (I was wrong) that I needed to write one for me.

So with deep gratitude to all those who are giving me joy in living in so many ways, and very especially to our wonderful Hyelim who has given me the desire of my heart in letting me hear my favourite hymn sung before my funeral, and who knows but Jesus may have come to surprise us all.

 

NINETY AND STILL CLIMBING

Not yet, not yet to reach God’s mountain peak

Still heights to challenge on His chosen way

Not ours to choose our time for reaching home

So  let’s  cheer each other  in God’s  Pilgrim Way

 

He’s giving us fresh garments to put on

And songs of praise to sound our joy abroad

New strength when ours seems almost gone

Join with God’s church to welcome others home

 

Thank God for every birthday we have passed

And those who walk with us this Pilgrim  way

Reaching old age with all his promises

We’ll joyful know his blessings day by day

                        Pauline Lewis

 

 

Friday, 4 November 2022

WELCOME TO GOD’S TABLE

 I always have a blessing when I come to church, even though I often struggle to remember the message as I am no longer able to take notes to help me to recall what I have heard. I have to wait for Tuesday to arrive when we discuss Sunday’s message. Then it all comes back to me and I am hopefully able to join in the applying of it to our lives.

Not only do I have difficulty in taking notes, but I struggle to make good use of my hearing aid, so my heart leapt when I saw the child-sized table and chairs set out for a party. So - who was to be invited?. Our Laura excels at getting the children involved, and hopefully I too would understand.

We soon had a proud volunteer as the king, while his two equally confident little sisters followed as queen and princess. Then who else should be invited? The Prime minister? Some discussion here. Then, to my surprise, the very busy caring lady beside me rose suddenly, called to represent the people we can’t do without.

Only one more seat to go. Amid much hilarity, a long legged lecturer from the Bible college rose and squeezed himself onto the remaining chair. Failing to hear Laura’s application, I wondered whether it had been open to any of us? Obviously they would not have offered me the privilege. I couldn’t have clambered up the two steps  to the platform, and yet….there were plenty who would have helped me.

I don’t remember what Laura’s application was, but I know what God’s lesson is to me, and that is that none of us are excluded. We are all of us invited. So let’s not wait for someone more important than ourselves to pray or volunteer. No one can be more greatly loved than you are, because ‘He loves us all the best’.

Photo by Jordan Arnold on Unsplash


Thank you Laura, for that lesson for a very old lady as well as the very little ones too. So no more excuses. We are all chosen and special. Then let us run, or even limp to take our place at God’s table.            

 

Monday, 3 October 2022

Memories Wakened

 

Few of us in Grace knew Delora Morris in her prime. To us she was one of ‘the old originals’ who had been a members of Hope Chapel, but I am one of the few privileged to have known her in her prime.

Like myself she was married to a minister and when we first came to live in Porthcawl I became involved with Delora who was leading the Women’s World Day of  Prayer. Though she was a Welsh speaker herself, ‘Delora worked hard to get the Welsh to unite with us foreign English on that special day. I admired her for that.

I always knew where Delora lived because of the name of their home. It was ‘Cana’r
aderyn.’ (Sing like the birds)

It was one of her uncles I believe who wrote this beautiful Welsh hymn. When Joel and I were invited to preach in some of the many Welsh chapels now without ministers I would sing this as a solo, and they would lustily join in the chorus.

Our husbands were both theologians and enjoyed many a discussion.’ He became affectionately known by fellow Christians as ‘Rightly dividing the word of truth.’ We became widows around the same time and did our best to support each other, but while Delora had her house crowded out with bardic chairs won by her grandfather, and other members of her family, God was helping me to declutter and leading me into new ministries. Several years her senior, Delora was talking about retirement homes long before I thought of such a thing and even now, believe I am here on a mission. But our hearts were in the same place and our treasure hid in heaven.

I am so sorry that I was unable to attend the funeral of this special lady, and my friend. She had taken me to visit her mother shortly before she died. She was finding it so hard to cope with the thought of parting with this lovely woman who previously would had been such a strength in her life and when I heard so many tributes of the godly life she had lived I longed to bring my own thanksgiving for this, another godly woman who, together with her husband had dedicated her life to live for God, and after going through Bible college together went straight into the ministry.

I remember her reminiscing with Laura, our busy Pastor’s wife of her days as a young pastor’s wife.

A programme I enjoy is ‘Homes under the Hammer.’ Like many others I think her house, cluttered with memories will have to be stripped bare but I do   hope the  inspiration of its name will remain.

 

May we, like Delora, ‘sing for the glory of heaven

                                    Like a sunbeam has swept over my heart;'

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Healing by the sea

One of the blessings of moving into a care home was to be living within reach of a walk by the sea. Convalescing after a cataract operation, I seemed to have lost my ability to hear God’s voice. Had I lost my ability to commune with him?

I thought of how Jesus had walked the shores of Galilee and how I too as a young woman had shared the joy of his first disciples who had answered his call to follow him. But now after years of joyful discipleship I felt I had nothing to offer him.

Then, wonderfully, melting in our unusual heat wave, I was advised to rise before breakfast to come for my walk by the sea. There, resting on a bench I was aware of Jesus’ sitting beside me, demanding nothing, just enjoying my presence, and happy that I had come to meet with him.

Credits to Frank McKenna at Unsplash

‘Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art. I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.’ My time of the desert was over!

I have longed to put into verse my own wonderful blessing of sitting beside my Saviour in my weakness on the shore, not of Galilee, but of Porthcawl.

I hope this may bring assurance to each of us who may also have times when they need God’s own personal ministry.

 Oh Christ who walked by Galilee

 Have come to walk this shore with me

 And you who called those young and brave

 Call us afresh though old and frail

 Lord, though oftimes I fail to hear

 And know that you are always near

 You never leave us or forsake

And you who called me when so young

Like those you called by Galilee

Are with me here , another shore –

Porthcawl indeed, not Galilee

But near and dear, yes all we need

Come, rest with us each beside the sea.’


I am struggling to share this, to me, very special experience, but pray we may all know his love afresh, whatever our circumstances.


Monday, 27 June 2022

Mephibosheth

 If you were to choose a Bible story to illustrate the Gospel to someone brought up a devout worshipper in our local Golden Temple, I doubt if you would have chosen the story of Mephibosheth, yet I had a strong urge that God wanted me to somehow share the blessing I had received from the sermon we had heard.

But how could I? When I tried to repeat this wonderful story I was struggling even to pronounce the name of this young prince who, as grandson of King Saul, instead of being heir apparent was suddenly the enemy of the throne.

The more I wrestled with such a task the more impossible it seemed. It was not until my heart  was stirred in love for this lovely, devout and gifted Indian lady who was one of the team of carers who was one of the team who are now assigned to care for me that I realised the necessity of Jesus’ words, ‘No man comes to the Father, but by Me.’

Doesn’t the angel declare?

‘Call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’

Here in this little known story of this unfortunate prince, rescued by the grace of God through David was the poem God wanted me to write.

  

MEPHIBOSHETH

Mephibosheth! Mephibosheth! You’re summonsed by the king.

Now grandson of his enemy, how dare he enter in?

No pride in his father’s loyalty, but banished, crippled, shamed!

Photo by Zane Persaud on Unsplash
Prostrate he lies at David’s feet – for mercy has no claim

But David, great in majesty, is great in mercy too,

‘Come! There’s room here at my table and in my heart a place for you.

For your father was my truest friend and our love was pledged for ever

Even as we rest in God’s great love, know naught from him can sever.

Not our desserts but Christ’s sacrifice has bound us safely to him

So rise with joy to join the throng who’ll worship God for ever.

                                                            Pauline Lewis+-

 

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

KITSUNGI HOPE

 It was my first trip out from my new abode in Pinehurst, a rest home in Porthcawl.

Such a treat for me to make my way independently, apart from the help, of course of  my reliable walker, to the end of our street to the Promenade, only to find not only that the Lord  was with me but had gone before me, for there on the pavement was a china effigy of  Snoopy.

But why was he special?

Why, there was something that immediately caught my attention, for this one seemed to be carefully adorned with numerous cracks, all high lighted in gold.

Photo by ali mousavi on Unsplash
I am told it is a delightful practice of the Japanese, not just to repair broken china so that
the damage is almost impossible to be noticed. It is called Kitsungi, where they enhance the breaks, not just  by repairing them so that they are almost impossible to discern, but by outlining the breakages in gold.

Snoopy here is gracefully covered in delicate gold tracery. I was aware of the story because of a programme on the Bible network where Patrick Regan and his wife are developing a ministry which they call Kitsungi Hope. On the programme I had happened upon he was interviewing a young man who has been greatly used by God in developing the work of Street Pastors, But what connection could this successful young man have with broken pottery?

Why should I have been surprised to hear of the pain that had been involved as he found himself broken and separated from the fellowship in which he had thought he was so secure but had eventually led to his leading a much wider ministry.

Much interest is aroused by this and many other Snoopies placed around Porthcawl, part of a treasure trail to raise money for a safe doggy path for our well- loved pooches, but as I  met a young woman, alone as I was, I felt I had to share the true meaning of Kitsungi and I know it meant more than just Kitsungi but Kitsungi Hope to someone who needed her pain to be turned to a ministry of beauty.

We thank God for Patrick Regan, Les Isaacs and the many others of us who have allowed God to turn the pain and brokenness of our lives into ministries of beauty. And those of us privileged as I am to enjoy the message Snoopy brings us, may we  day by day trust in the God who is able to turn the painful cracks into Kintsungi Hope.

Has God not promised us ‘beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning?’ Kitsungi Hope indeed.


Wednesday, 27 April 2022

A SPECIAL GOOD FRIDAY

Photo by Alicia Quan on Unsplash
Special? Of course. It is the day we remember the sacrificial death of our Saviour, for the
world, yes, but I am remembering his death for me. I am one of the sheep who has gone astray, and because my sins were laid on him, the spotless lamb, my life has been wonderfully transformed.

Yes, but special for another reason. On this Good Friday I had a bath for the first time for over 25 years. I had showered, of course, because I could get into but not out of a bath. Now in a Care Home they have a special facility where we are put into a seat then hoisted over and lowered into the lovely warm bubbly water. Oh, such a treat, yet rather humiliating to be raised naked, waiting to be covered.

In the wonderful atmosphere of worship before we shared the bread and wine the Lord gave me a beautiful picture. I was in that chair, washed but naked, longing for any old rags to cover my nakedness when down from heaven was lowered a garment made of the fleece of the Passover Lamb , a garment of glory and beauty. I was raised like a queen, my shame dealt with.

How wonderful. Jesus hung naked on the cross. He took my shame that I might be clothed with beauty.

It isn’t easy to give up my independent living, but I am lapping up the love and care and in many ways am being prepared for heaven.

           

            ‘All hail atoning blood, All hail redeeming grace

            All hail the gift of Christ my God, my strength and righteousness.’