Saturday, 30 June 2007

critical illness....

this week saw the passing of mr rigsby (peter) from ccuk a friend who i had once met and used to talk to both online and on the phone regularly until he was taken ill last year. he will be sadly missed and i am trusting that he is resting in peace, or more likely up in heaven tending to the horses on behalf of the lord! he was a true eccentric gent, who had a range of interests in music, art, british history, reenactments of battles (for which he would always get a bit overexcited and get himself banned from future ones!), horses - he absolutely loved horse riding and animals and nature in general...

i last spoke to him in hospital a couple of weeks ago whereupon i knew it wouldn't be long for him and he was in so much pain to stand up and talk to me i didn't call again. i hope he and i shall meet again someday in a better place and enjoy another good chat.....

right now i have two friends fighting liver failure.... christine has a brain tumour and has developed liver failure believed to be as a result of chemo. she had a near miss in the night where she lost lots of blood and her family were called in. we are keeping in touch via text/phone as i don't want to take any kiddy germs into her on the ward since the kids have colds. christine is a believer who has the most stunning faith - never feels sorry for herself and always trusts in god.... today she felt she had some words from him which are encouraging her onwards....

tamara also has liver failure due to alcohol abuse. her body is slowly but surely breaking down. she too is a lovely woman who couldn't handle the excrement life threw her way and took it all out on herself in a variety of self-harming mechanisms. she doesn't know god yet - although she is not the staunch atheist she once was.

i am praying for them both and hoping they will both pull through.... neither is more entitled to health than the other and ultimately noone is to blame for their health no matter if it is what you would term 'self-induced'...... all are illnesses of one shape or another.....

i am just hoping that these women will pull though and find their will to fight what's going on..... with god's support towards another chance.....

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

proud mother...

today ophy and santana had sports day at school and both won their running races.... ophy came away with 3 1sts and santana with 2 1sts.... hoorah!!!

it's amazing to see their little faces at these moments - so excited and proud. santana said 'i just believed in myself!'

i would like to take the credit for passing on their athletic genes, but unfortunately it had nothing to with me!! their father was a school champion runner (and i think later he had to run fast to get out of a number of tricky situations!!!!!)

there are celebrations galore tonight in our house and real senses of achievement in the little ones - well done santana and ophir!!!

and well done mummy - 3 hours standing in the freezing cold with terrible back pain - even with pain killers!!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007


i have worked so hard these last couple of years without much of a break that i have requested of our management committee that i might take off the whole of august.... so far it's looking quite positive that there will be agreement. i will be taking two weeks unpaid leave, which, when you take into consideration i won't be paying childcare for 4 weeks will partly cover my salary i will miss.... so it's a win win situation.

I want to fill this 4 weeks with holidays.... the children and I generally take a break to Weymouth which we love so we will slot this into the 4 weeks. They also have their annual camp they will be going on in Surrey which they thoroughly enjoy also (heaven only knows if I'm up to camping with my rheumatism..... i dug over a small plot in the garden this weekend and am still in agony - and i'm not the greatest fan of sleeping on the ground anyhow!!)

my children and i discussed places we might like to go over dinner last night and they drew up a list which has quite an array of destinations. Ophir wants to go to Disneyland... Santana has requested St Lucia, Turkey or Spain (in particular Madrid) and I have stuck France on.

I haven't taken a plane since 1994 and have not done so in particular for ecology reasons. One year's worth of household carbon emissions can be issued by 1 flight. However, since my father's passing and the kind amount of money he has left us he would have loved to see us take a nice holiday.

Now this is where it gets rather confusing..... there are so many sites selling holidays. It's a vast maze out there on the internet. I'm almost at a loss in terms of where to start. Some sites have particularly cheap holidays, but often these don't have a picture of the hotel you will be staying in which is somewhat dubious to me!! Also it's hard trying to pinpoint those holidays which have good children's entertainment.....

What am I looking for in this holiday ? Well, I'm looking for a fortnight somewhere warm and new where me and the children can explore, but equally where they have good children's entertainment/facilities so that they can have fun whilst i chill and where we can equally go and explore together and have fun together. I'm finding it quite hard to locate places on the internet that fit this bill. I'm probably typing in the wrong search criteria....

I think I may just sort out our passports then randomly turn up at a travel agents 1 week before we want to go or go on or other similar site! it's too confusing!!!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

back pain

an eventful last few days.... the day after i wrote the post below i went into st pauls to buy some chicken and rice and peas for myself and fellow colleagues..... and after someone tried chatting me up i went into my car and turned it round only to come face to face the woman referred to in the post who had not only had sex with my ex husband in my bed but also had a child for him and in the early stages of our marriage had kept by his side constantly, pretending to be having a relationship with his friend...... well initially i smiled, to be greeted with a scowl.... and then i took a proper look and this woman is how the jamaicans would call 'mash up'. she looked a complete and total mess.... and it's not like me but i just had to laugh....... she used to be really quite pretty but she has turned into a real mess.... i also discovered that her husband is now out and about dancing intimately with another woman whilst she's at home pregnant......... i just had to think to myself - what goes around comes around......she stood in the street shouting verbal abuse at me that i couldn't hear cos i had music on in the car and just looked back and smiled, which the guy that was chatting me up thought was directed at him...... even though i'd said to him 'if i let go of my jamaican husband, why on earth would i want to take up another ?!!' i think he just took that as a challenge...!

i thrust myself into some digging in my garden on friday before the rain came down and spent 10 minutes energetically digging over some hard soil that the workmen had been walking over for the last few months...... i keep forgetting that i have certain limitations and the rheumatism in my back was excruciating yesterday. there is always a 24 hour delayed reaction with both m.e. and my rheumatism..... i am also paying the cost for staying up too late. even my 6 year old son gave me a lecture at 00.30 the other night about staying up too late.... 'mum', he said having woken up, 'we had a little chat in the car didn't we about you staying up too late... if you continue to stay up late mum you are going to get tired.' i do actually love being corrected by my children sometimes, cos they have such an innocence in their delivery..... what i didn't realise was that for the last few days my m.e. symptoms would be so bad. spent friday on the sofa falling asleep to the film 'the constant gardener'... eventually i managed to piece together the sense of the film! v. good in fact. i like any media that highlights the corruption that goes on in africa....

yesterday my back was in agony and the whole world was a fuzz.. i spent most of the day in bed whilst my children entertained themselves making books, drawing, doing homework, watching tv and coming in every now and then to cover my face with kisses... it's times like this it's so useful to have a flat, cos literally i'm just in the next room....

well, i shall heed in as much as i will get some early nights - so i may not be around as much.... am going to purchase a little lamp today and spend some evenings in bed with a good book...

even though my back is killing me and tablets aren't touching the pain.... i will be out in my garden today planting stuff in the patch i had dug over! i have cucumber plants, one surviving courgette plant that the slugs didn't get, a cardoon, some chives, some hot pokers, daisies, little cute purple flowers to all plant up in this section amongst some sunflowers i will transpose. but i must promise to myself i won't overdo it!.... and there are the window boxes i want to plant up on my kitchen windows with lettuce and some butternut squash seeds i want to plant... and.... and.... and...... i find it hard to sit still!

i have decided... i need a man to come into my life and do the heavy duty digging work. this is my plan for any future relationship. he does the hard work..... i come along and make it look pretty.... that's fair enough isn't it ?! i mean.... marriage is all about gardening isn't it?! lol

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

single parentdom....

a lot of people have recently been asking me how i ended up as a single parent..... and it's not the easiest thing to talk about face to face or online..... as the following potted history shows... i have been parenting alone since 2002 - since my daughter was born. 5 years.... but i'll take you back a little while. make sure you have the stomach for this.... sometimes it's easier not to ask....

in 1999 i was sitting outside my flat every day reading books to help with my masters dissertation. i lived in what they call the 'ghetto' area of bristol. st pauls, a lovely place whose landscape was changing swiftly by an influx of yardies (men from jamaica of the gangsta variety). i had lovely neighbours, we laughed we talked, shared gardening tips, looked out for each other.... over the road from me was a lovely older woman called 'aunty'.... she was very friendly, always admiring my studying, decorating of my flat, described as a 'nice person'.... respected within the community as 'a nice person who didn't get involved in any mix up'. in the summer of that year her nephew came to visit.... i would politely say hello, we shared the odd chats and i didn't think very much else about it. he was softly spoken, had a lovely body, nice smile, but didn't resound with me as someone i would be interested in..... we got chatting more and more, he was shy, sweet, funny, a bit guarded, helpful....... we went out together a few times, got to know each other...... a few months later... one day he came over to see me, letter in hand, shy, hesitant...... he gave me the letter and asked me to read it.....

i can't remember everything that letter said now, but it was a little declaration of afffection, contained nice details about how he liked me, found me beautiful, wanted to be with me..... he started to tell me more about his life in jamaica and how he wanted to settle here. i wasn't really into the idea of marrying him. i had vowed to myself that i would never marry a yardie.... but he seemed different. seemed almost faithful, quiet, nothing dangerous.....

that night we entered into an intimate relationship and within a short while he moved in and we decided to marry. november 1999 in my gold dress, with beautiful red roses i stood alongside him and vowed to spend my life with him..... at the reception i craved some curried goat and knew i was pregnant, only just, since i had been a vegetarian and the craving for meat had been so profound....

the night of our wedding i practically carried him home drunk..... he became distant, indifferent. the day after our wedding still no intimacy.... we spent the day at his aunt's waiting for his cousin to write invitation letters for his two 'baby mothers' to come to England. He had two children..... or so he told me..... I hadn't really realised what was going on......

He started to stay out late..... his phone would call constantly with women's voices faintly heard.... he talked of friends.... talked of how jamaicans helped each other out.... lied incessantly.... he started to disappear for whole nights, lied, became aggressive, started to tell me i was imagining things, became distant when he chose, we enjoyed lots of intimacy.... it was confusing.

I don't remember the first time he punched me..... but I know I was in the early stages of pregnancy... he had a large gold ring and he punched me in my head for delving into why certain women were following him around a lot..... there was just blood everywhere... a friend took me to hospital out of the direct vicinity and i made up a tale of getting into a fight with some girl......

he lied to me constantly, weaved webs of deception.... punched me, held me up by my throat, threatened my life, then became tender, then told me i was mad, then held me close, then became distant, then disappeared, held me up by my throat pushed against a wall too many times to remember, then told me i didn't understand then told me he was sorry......

the worst punch was one new year's day...... it was our first new year's together... all these people were in our flat for the night, we got no time together and he spent the evening on the phone to donna, his baby mother, in jamaica - i had found a letter from her a few weeks previously - v. graphic almost pornographic......

we argued the next day and i took one punch to my face that made me have to go to hospital again (had already been with a couple of injuries before).... this punch was so hard a massive ball formed on my forhead immediately. i had to leave my 4 month old son with a friend whilst i spent new year's day in casualty having my head x-rayed.....

that punch left me indoors for 3 weeks whilst the bruising bled down my face..... my father came and saw me, friends came me and tried to persuade me to leave. the nurse at the hospital had tried to encourage me to leave but man i was frightened. i was married to a man who had guns at his disposal, moved with the toughtest, he literally was the toughest, the one noone would mess with....... i felt completely trapped. i wanted to think he could change...... after all, it was all my fault. i went to the shops one day within this 3 weeks and people just stopped in their tracks, jaws wide open, gobsmacked at what they were seeing - the state of my face......

by this time i had uncovered that his 2 children in jamaica were 5 and i knew everything, then it was 7 and i knew everything, then 9 and i knew everything...... last count i knew of it was 10 and two grandchildren and that was just in jamaica..... meanwhile in england twins were born two weeks after my son, two miscarriages by other women, another child, and another........

i only found this out after we had been married for two years and he got his indefinite leave to remain in the UK. All the apologies in the meantime, all the excuses, lies and deceit..... that was just all presented as a security for him to get the gold crown he was waiting for.....

it was all over the day he pinned me to the floor - kicked me in my back, punched me to the ground again, knocked me about, held my arms as in a wrench lock, tried to strangle me....... i somehow found the courage to stand up and fight back and insist he went. he immediately had a woman's house to take his stuff to..... and i was left alone...... with a baby, and another on the way........

these are just tasters of my life at that time. in january 2002 me, santana and bump moved to a different, calmer part of town to settle together. i kept believing he would want something to do with the children, but each weekend a new excuse would come.... he let them ddown constantly and gave us no support, or very very little and if he did he seemed to want something in return.... money, sex, cigarettes, anything..... it was all too costly....

ophir was born in may 2002 - as i writhed in the throw of labour he accompanied me into the labour room with his girlfriend (who he referred to as just a friend)..... and he sat yawning and asking how long this baby would take to be born..... eventually the midwife flipped..... when she was born his first words were 'this is my british passport.'

when i was in labour with santana i was left in hospital alone overnight whilst he shagged another woman in my own bed...... two weeks before santana was born he returned from jamaica where he had kicked his babymother so hard in the stomach after an argument that she died in the night.........

i came home from hospital 6 hours after having ophir, santana was 21 months old, i was stitched from here to eternity, left for the first night (not even 24 hours after having her) carrying santana from his bedroom into mine and looking after them alone......

i spent most of my children's early life being stoned out of my head..... i was an absolute and complete mess. he had told me repeatedly i wouldn't cope without him, i had been physically, mentally, emotionally incessantly abused........ it dulled the pain, it stopped the question, it put a bandage over the hurt....... i had my own rules, i wouldn't smoke until they were in bed, but when they were in bed, boy did i smoke........ he and i continued to argue over the children, it was still stressful when we spoke, any conversation would start with him telling me how i had thrown him out of a house he had helped to decorate and hardly lived in...... and that if i had wanted his help i wouldn't have thrown him out.....

along the way i set myself 3 little rules 1. don't ask for anything. 2. don't expect anything. 3. don't believe anything..... this was hard at first since my head was all a jumble, but along the way i was finding god back again...... i could not truly begin to believe the power of psalm 27 and psalm 91 until i left that man. the threats, the threats, the threats, were rendered powerless by my belief in the protection of God.

My children and I began to forge a life for ourselves. we attended church, my lovely lovely father bought me a car to develop some independence (god only knows how he looked on at what i went through)..... we got out and about and we discovered an amazing organisation called Single Parent Action Network who had a study centre in Bristol. My friend encouraged me to go and do a creative writing course.... i stared going when Ophy was 6 weeks old. this was the only 2 hours a week i had to myself, the rest was tied up entirely with v. young children....... it gave me a little space to think, to not be isolated and for people to remark on my writing abilities (that i have never, not even now, truly believed in)

i was still unsure at this time about filing for divorce..... still confused. still thought somehow he loved me..... domestic violence is a fucked up business...... messes with your head like nothing else ever can......

This study centre was amazing... i got to meet loads of single parents, some in similar situations and a lot of them seeming like they were coping........ one day in a storytelling course the tutor asked me 'what are your dreams, what are your hopes ?' and i left the room in tears cos i didn't have any. i was in survival mode..... had no belief in myself, dressed like i was a nobody, walked like i was a nobody, looked like i had had the stuffing kicked out of me........

i walked into a woman called annie who sat and talked with me about her domestic violence situation...... she didn't advise me, she just reflected back to me what i was saying..... listened, let me cry - let me know i could make it alone.......Something happened that day. I don't know quite what, but something shifted.

she would continue to have input with me, when i was there, make the odd comments about work, about this, about. she was a bit of a role model for me....

God continued to work on my healing and within 6-9 months I had a job as a Community Development Worker in Community Education, walked with my head held high, was awaiting for my final divorce decree and was making a way forward for me and the kids..... little steps, little steps, little steps......

i found such confidence at work, realised i did have something to offer the world...... found a passion for adult education and creatively went about my work.... the family became more settled as we created more and more distance from him......

i gave up smoking weed in 2004 - i am now 3 years without. and noone could even pay me to smoke it again, i am also cigarette free.....

in october 2004 i went round to a friend's to watch the passion of the christ.... it had such a profound impact on me that i prayed this most amazing prayer - that i could not deny the Lord anything after the suffering He had gone though for me and I would do anything He asked of me just to make it really clear to me. The next day I came back from a meeting to find a note from the Director of Single Parent Action Network. I called her back. She basically was headhunting me for the role of Study Centre Development Manager at the place where I had found so much personal development input as a single parent........ So I thought to myself, well Lord, you've certainly answered, and a lot quicker than I thought you would!!

End of November 2004 I started work as their Development Manager..... and took the study centre from a place of zero activity into a thriving learning centre. Have designed a holistic learning package for single parents..... brought in nearly £1m worth of funding - if you imagine where I was in 2002 - a complete mess to where I am today.... it's really astounding..... I am Ms Independent, self-resourceful, survivor, broken vessel made into a minister..... Someone once said to me along the way 'you know this may be really tough what you are going through right now but God will use you to help others in time...' I now help and support 70-100 single parents a term, several of whom who have experienced what I have. 1 in 3 single parents have escaped domestically violent relationships..... 1 in 4 families are single parent families.....

yesterday i spent the day at work with two groups of single parents in their courses and saw for myself the impact of our work on their lives..... it's amazing that someone who didn't even feel worthy to walk in the building is now calling the shots..... my work as been recognised at a European Union level as a model of good practice and my work constantly calls on God's creativity to see me through, find ways, help me write funding bids, see into what people need and provide the relevant services. He is completely amazing....

Annie, the woman who helped me, is now one of my closest friends and a great colleague - we are so motivated to help people who have experienced the same as us. I am not embarrassed to be a survivor of domestic violence....... I am proud of my achievements and my children - they are absolutely beautiful creations.....

And most strangely and miraculously I have found forgiveness for their father..... the average life expectancy for males in jamaica is 32, most would sell their own grandmothers to escape the poverty and risk for their lives..... but i don't like the way people are used as a means to an end and not given the right to make informed choices based on all information being given up front and freely....... and i absolutely abhor domestic violence, hate it....

so what does the future hold for me ? i am hoping to set up my own consultancy around fundraising and business planning.... and only within the last year have i been turned onto the idea of meeting someone again and even having more children....... i am a work in progress....... i have a future, dreams and hopes..... but for now find contentment with my circumstances, by beautiful and intelligent and funny, lovely children - who make my life so worthwhile and valuable and the lover of my soul who sticks ever close to me......

Thursday, 7 June 2007

My Take on Song of Songs 5...

I think there are 3 key messages in this chapter:

1. A call to maturity
2. A call to intimacy
3. A call to surrender

The call to maturity, to me, is indicated when the lover is in the garden of the beloved. The symbolism of the milk, to me, indicates immaturity. And although the beloved has grown in so many ways (as symbolised by her garden) there are a variety of ways in which she has to mature. And the same goes for us. We can have a lover/beloved mature relationship with the Lord. I think once we can open some of the keys to Song of Songs, we start to be able to access that kind of relationship. It is a fantastic mature love that we can experience with Him.

I think the repetition of symbolism of myrrh is very poignant. For me it is symbolic of surrender, death to self, focus on Christ.
At the end of the chapter when we are applauding the features of Christ we read:

13 His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.

For me the lips symbolise worship. The Hebrew word for worship means to kiss. From this I read that Christ's worship is pure and self-sacrificing.

We know from His life that his 'bread' was to do the will of God. In John 17 it is his desire that God be glorified and that through His surrender and suffering love we are united with God. It also shows that His worship is pure (lilies) - we are called to imitate Christ's sufferings and to imitate His life. And in John 15 we are called to abide in Him. That is a mature walk.

This chapter further deepens that definition of maturity. Although her worship is sweet and she has developed fruits of the spirit (as symbolised by the spices/fruit) she is unable to heed His call to intimacy. She has an immature response to Him. It is like that of a child, not that of a lover. Her inability to open the door immediately and with delight is a very telling sign of her need to enlarge the place of her heart. Or often for us, to unlock the secret of that intimate love we can experience with Him. The bible is full of bride/bridegroom symbolism and metaphor. He longs for an intimate relationship with us. We can open ourselves to experience this with Him. We can invite Him in. We can heed the call/the knock...

This chapter is all about missing the moment. Her 'heart is awake' but it is not enlarged enough for this kind of intimacy. The Lord is knocking to come into her most intimate place (her chambers). She has invited Him fully and openly into her garden (where the fruits are produced). But she is unable to willingly and quickly respond to His call to come into the most intimate place with her - to be able to live in a lover/beloved relationship with Him is a place of maturity. Missing the moment is to be her lament. Much as with Mary and Martha - Martha was overwhelmed with physical concerns. Mary chose the right place to sit at His feet and listen to Him. At his feet is a place of submission - it is the place of a servant. Abandoning one's self, heeding His call and being in a place of intimacy is a place of maturity. We are called to abide in Him and He in us at all times and in all places (John 15). Until we heed the call to sit at His feet, not to miss those moments of intimacy we cannot learn how to abide in Him at all times. We first learn His voice at His feet.... then we know it in all places.

The call is to surrender to Him in this chapter. To heed. To listen. To submit. To surrender ourselves to intimacy with Him over and above the physical cares and concerns we experience in this world. To die to ourselves and to live for Him. Myrrh - it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. To allow Him into our hearts in a mature way. And for our walk with Him to demonstrate a maturity. When we are bruised (as the beloved is) to respond in a mature way - imitating Christ's sufferings. To take up our crosses and follow Him.

I absolutely adore the Song of Songs. It has been, for me, for many years the key in unlocking a mature, intimate relationship with the Lord. It is, at times, almost overwhelming the intensity of the intimacy. It makes us queens and brides and moves us on from the Father/child relationship into a new intimacy.

When we are truly surrendered - our lives in His hands, our time and attention for Him.... when we keep alert and listening with a surrendered heart we won't miss the moment. We will willingly heed the call.

There is real treasure in this chapter. And for me, in particular, I love the focus at the end where our Lord, our Lover, the lover of our souls is painted in such a majestic way. Of course she is faint with love - He is divinely beautiful - how can our hearts not respond ?

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Bible Study....

I have been preparing this this evening. After being sent home from work as I started crying when my boss asked me how I was.... and I told her how much I was missing my dad and the intensity of the grief today.....

I am doing it with a women's homegroup on Friday so thought I should pick myself up and get on with it...... Don't know if it will make much sense to you since these are my outline notes and this will be opened into discussion within the group.... but here goes anyway.

Outline of Bible Study on Song of Songs 5
8th June 2007

‘Responses to God’

1 I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers.
2 I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking: "Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night."
3 I have taken off my robe— must I put it on again? I have washed my feet— must I soil them again?
4 My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening; my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my lover, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the lock.
6 I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. [a] I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer.
7 The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls!
8 O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you— if you find my lover, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love.
9 How is your beloved better than others, most beautiful of women? How is your beloved better than others, that you charge us so?
10 My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
11 His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite. His body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires. [b]
15 His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
This chapter denotes a place of intimacy between the beloved (church/individual) and the lover (Jesus). As outlined by Dave in the last session – the lover/beloved relationship is one of a mature relationship with the Lord – where the believer has moved beyond a father/child relationship with God. The Song of Songs is a representation of intimacy and mature relationship.

Verse 1: the lover refers to her as his bride. In the previous chapter the beloved has entreated the Lord to come into her garden: Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.(ss 4:16).

What are the fruits that she is inviting him to taste ?

Fruits of the Spirit ? fruits/spices in song of songs 4 direct relationship to fruits of the spirit:

13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard,
14 nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices.

Galatians 5:
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Pomegranate love
Henna joy
Nard peace
Saffron patience
Calamus gentleness
Cinnamon goodness
Frankincense faithfulness
Myrrh meekness (death to self ‘it is no longer I who live but
Christ who lives in me’).
Aloes self-control

What is the symbolism of myrrh, spice, honeycomb, honey, wine and milk?

Myrrh – suffering love, meekness, death to self
Spice – fruits of the spirit
Honeycomb – sweetness of lips (as per ch 4) – praise? Hebrew word for worship = to kiss
Honey – as above
Wine – new wine represents the Holy Spirit in NT
Milk – nourishment??

Myrrh is the spice that is most repeated in this chapter and therefore contains a symbolic significance for the message being delivered through the symbolic narrative. Hannah Hurnard describes meekness as the willingness to be emptied and humbled. The willingness to accept humiliation unresentfully like Christ. Self-giving expecting nothing in return. Death to self – not my will but yours be done.

Verses 2-3:

2 I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking: "Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one. My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night."
3 I have taken off my robe— must I put it on again? I have washed my feet— must I soil them again?

Verse 2 has direct correlation to Revelations 3:20 ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock…’ And again resounds the bridegroom arriving at night in Matt 25:1-13.

In chapter 2 the beloved was portrayed as waiting for her beloved on her bed and getting up and going about the city to look for him and dragging him home. This verse 3 resonates of apathy.

Yet this resonates deeper than apathy. She is focused entirely on her self. And within Christianity today there are two gospels being preached: a self-centered gospel and one that is self-sacrificing towards God.
She is asleep, yet seemingly with her heart awake. Cross reference to the virgins and lamps in Matthew 25 – and in both passages some roused immediately at the bridegroom’s arrival and the others were not prepared – those who had oil were ready, obedient, self-sacrificing.

Those who were not ready, vigilant, and prepared missed the moment. The door was shut.

In verse 4 it is shown that the handle is on the inside.

Much as in Revelation 3:20. Where the response is demanded of the believer to open. He cannot force His way in in either situation.

Just a few verses before she had entreated him vigorously to come into her garden….. why now the change of heart ?

Because she had fallen asleep ?
Because a response was required ?

It states that her heart pounded….. but did it ? Does she need to open her heart further ? What are the implications for us ? What would our response be to an instruction from Him ? Would our worldly cares hinder our response to Him ?

Verse 5 Eventually a response to open to Him after the selfish wrestlings of the previous verses. Her hands are dripping with myrrh. What does this symbolise ? A death to self ? Suffering love ? Meekness ?

Jesus holds meekness in high esteem ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’

What does this quality define in our spiritual walk ? what is meekness ?

Verse 6 The delay in response and its consequences. Times when God becomes silent. Why ?

Verse 7 Being wounded. Experience of sharing in Christ’s suffering. How do we respond to situations in which we are bruised in a way that imitates Christ ?

Verse 8 She is sick with love….. she has missed the moment. She has failed to respond. How can we avoid this ?

In what way can we avoid the call, the knock, the entreaty, the instruction ?

What is our ideal response ?
How do we want to respond to Him ?
Is this a wake up call to us ?

Ideal responses to God

Romans 12 v 1 – offering our bodies as living sacrifices
v.2 – do not conform to the patterns of this world. Do not be self-centered. Be transformed….

Consecration of ourselves to God

Jeremiah 4:3-4 – circumcised heart
Song of Songs 8:6-7 – the Lord placed as a seal over our hearts
Jeremiah 30:21-22 - ‘who will devote themselves to be close to me’

Consecration of our lives to God
Circumcision of the heart
Devotion of self to be close to Him

Verses 9 onwards in S of S Chapter 5 – The Lord becomes the core focus. Focus has been removed from self into an attitude of praise for the lover, his attributes, his perfect features. The characteristics he has that we are called to imitate.

How do we translate this symbolism ?

Although her attentions have turned towards Him, she still has not found Him, not as in chapter 2 where she brought Him to her chamber (entered into an intimate place with Him). She is left still searching Him….

How has this chapter spoken to you ?

What responses would you like to make to God ?

Prayer Ministry/Invitation to Respond


you grabbed me by the throat today as i drove.... taking me to my destination in tears, emotionally naked whilst faced with business as usual.... i miss him... as grief once more pulls on my insides into a vacuum of the place he has left in my fulfilment.... tears rolling.... confusion and vaguety.... unhappiness.... fuzziness.... lack of concentration.... yet delivering training and focusing as a manager whilst focused internally and intently on my grief... other peoples' problems...... i have my own shit going on..... where is my comforting shoulder ?..... where is it ?..... i cannot right now help you...... you see my tears and you still want my input..... i cannot help you in your problems right now..... i got a few of my own..... yeah i'm that reliable soul in a crisis.... i am fed up of drying my tears whilst i help someone else out...... i ain't no codependent soul...... i don't have to help you to feel good....... but you can help me out by leaving me alone for a while.... treading a little sensitively about my path..... thinking about others except you for a moment..... i am hurting..... literally hurting.... a pain in my heart..... screaming on the inside my loss..... wanting to see him and missing him so badly...

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

bad mood....

i have been in a really bad mood since i went back to work yesterday....... even though a few nice things have happened in the meantime, i am feeling rather overwhelmed with going back to the madness of nearly full time working mother and young children.... i have had very little tolerance in the last 24 hours!

what rocks: my staff did loads of sorting out in my office at work in my absence, turning round my filing cabinet, putting in new filing mechanisms for me and sorting out my files. what sucks: i have to keep it tidy, rather than insult them...

what rocks: a very isolated single parent heard mine and colleague's radio broadcast on local radio and i spoke to her today - am meeting her next week. she said 'i'm so isolated... my best friend is the washing machine and my worst friend is the hoover...' what sucks: there's so many people like that - but glad we can help this one woman...

that's the kind of thing that makes all the hard work worthwhile..... and brought a ray of sunshine into my day.....

what rocked at work today: meeting a tight deadline, being able to wear my jeans with frayed bottoms to work with flipflops and noone batting an eyelid, bling bling jewellery - bangles and necklace, sitting in office in comfort listening to mark ronson 'god put a smile' on mp3 whilst working, pukka revitalising tea - made for me by a member of staff, having an office to myself, a mad lunch of lettuce, cucumber, smelly cheese, blueberries, olives and dressing, my mood lifting after talking to isolated lady and believing in my work... amazing laughter with colleagues, 'counselling' a well hippy artist over the phone who has given up smoking.... who said i should charge hundreds of pounds (i should do too - i'm a fantastic listener!)

what sucked at work today: people coming into my office and interrupting my solitude! a crying person with lots of problems (but will sort her out) - really felt for her - but helped her get to root of problems (i am ace at that, must take hippy artist's advice and do it professionally), constant interruptions, my bad mood, my messy desk, realising i need to find £100k and quick...!

what rocked at home: daughter's reading practice - helping her and helping her to progress so much tonight.
what sucked: stroppy son with attitude
what rocked: he fell asleep early, after apologising
what sucked: feeling tired again.....

Sunday, 3 June 2007


it came within the timespan of my holiday from work. bo, i and our kids went to park yesterday. bo and i were virtually asleep on the cricket pitch under glorious sunshine when we were roused by a man saying 'excuse me ladies..... thought you might like to know we are about to play a cricket match... we could play around you but you might like to move!!'

spent about 4 hours in the sunshine, then moved to the shade of a 'conker' tree and lay looking up into the span of leaves. by sunset parts of my body were the colour of a lobster and some remain so..... now i am keen that we have a few cool days whilst my sunburn calms down!!

i am really very tired now at the end of half term and cannot believe i've made it in one piece!! a few early nights are in order to rest myself properly. it's been a lovely week....