Christian Writer, Connected to God, Dealing with Fear, Faith, God's faithfulness, God's protection, prayer, The Word of God


Dog v Rabbit

We have a dog. Sometimes having a dog is hard work, especially when they are old and hairy, and smelly and noisy. But they can also be oh so entertaining. A few days ago we witnessed something that made us laugh out loud.

We have wall to ceiling windows in our new extension, and the garden is just the other side of the glass. Dog takes up position on his chair (Yes, he has his own armchair. Don’t judge me!) from where he has a good view of all the goings on outside. This particular day a large wild rabbit appeared in the garden. Now dog is a terrier, and rabbits are for chasing, and so of course he went mad. Barking, running up and down, generally being a big fierce scary little terrier. The rabbit for its part just sat down. Less that six feet from the window. Completely unmoved by all the commotion the other side of the glass, it just sat. For over an hour. In the end dog just had to give up, and collapsed panting and sighing onto his chair. Never once did he take his eyes off the garden invader, but he was not able to get anywhere close to chasing it away.

Wild rabbit sitting on a pile of garden soil
Small black and white dog sitting on a chair gazing out of a window, his chin on his paws

What the glass wall represents

Now as a Christian writer I could take all sorts of things from this and use it as an illustration applicable to our every day lives. For example

  • The glass represents God, the barking dog is the enemy and the rabbit us. The enemy can make a big noise but he can’t get at us, if God is our protection. His bark is worse than his bite.

Or perhaps

  • Like the rabbit we should be unmoved by what people (dog) say about us, and stand firm under persecution, holding on to the truth of the word of God – what God says, that is the glass by which we should see things.

Our prayers, the glass wall

Now both of those are great truths and perhaps they are an encouragement to you. I really do hope that they are. But I am especially aware today of millions of people who are right in the frontline of attack and persecution. Not least our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine. It doesn’t necessarily feel like they are being shielded from the enemy, and they are truly vulnerable to persecution and suffering, however strong their faith in God is at this time.

So for them perhaps a better metaphor might be that the glass represents our prayers for them. We might not be able to prevent the bark becoming a bite, but we can stand in the gap for them. We can claim God’s promises on their behalf, we can call on Him for His protection of them, we can declare their victory in Him. We can ask for their needs to be provided for, their faith to be strengthened, their hope to rise and God’s peace and joy to sustain them. We can pray. And our prayers work. There are stories of miracles and hope, love and kindness pouring out of the areas of conflict.

Image of a stone wall with a  glassless window overlooking a field of sunflowers and the text of Ezekiel 22 v 30

The power of prayer

My dog is not evil, it is his natural instinct to want to taste a bit of rabbit. The rabbit is not all good. In fact it really looked like that bunny knew how much of a tease it was being. And wild rabbits can desecrate a garden.

Perhaps then, rather than painting one side all wrong and the other side all right, our prayers should extend to those on both sides of the conflict. No-one is outside of God’s mercy and grace. Our dog and that rabbit will never be friends, but the power of God’s love and mercy can reconcile the fiercest of human enemies.  History proves it to be true.

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, will be published by Instant Apostle in July 2022

More information on Joy and her writing, and links to purchase her books can be found here

Books, CHOOSING HOPE, Christian Writer, Dealing with Fear, Faith, God in control, God's faithfulness, House renovations, Lessons from life, Thankfulness, The Passion Translation


One of the things I have had to learn to do lately, is to wait. Wait for the builders to put in the final windows and leave site. Wait for the adhesive to dry under the tiles in the new utility room so that I can move and plug my freezer in. Wait for the plumber to put the toilet in! Wait to move back home…

The windows are in!

Some of the waiting has been active waiting – doing what we can do to hasten our return home – cleaning, painting, aforesaid floor tiling. Some of the waiting has been passive. Waiting for the Covid test results, waiting to see if, and how the virus affects our loved ones, waiting out the isolation period. Waiting to cuddle my grandson again. All of the waiting has been stressful, one way or another. Some has been downright terrifying.

The tiles are done!

During a really difficult period a few years back, I learnt something about waiting. I had been familiar with the much repeated words of scripture about waiting on the Lord, but something I read gave me a whole new revelation of what that meant. Waiting on the Lord is definitely not passive waiting – not like waiting at a bus stop, or in a waiting room.

The Hebrew word for ‘wait’ used in the Old Testament can also be translated as ‘bind’, or ‘thread’. So it comes with the implication that waiting on the Lord, is not waiting FOR Him to do something, rather it is leaning into Him in the wait, binding ourselves to Him, holding on tight.  It is choosing to wait with HOPE, remembering His promises. It is choosing to TRUST Him in the waiting, remembering His faithfulness. It is choosing to WORSHIP Him in the waiting, remembering who He is and what He is capable of. It is holding on, while holding on  – for the better times, the answers, the promises to be fulfilled.

I have had to choose to hold on tight again this week. To not let my anxieties and disappointments derail me. Because the promise is that if I wait on Him, He will strengthen my heart, and the waiting will be so much easier to endure with a strengthened heart.

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all:
    Don’t give up; don’t be impatient;
    be entwined as one with the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope.
    Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!             

Psalm 27:14 TPT*

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here

*The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Review, Books, CHOOSING HOPE, Christian Writer, Dealing with Fear, Faith, God in control, God's faithfulness, Grief, Healing, Seasons of life, Thankfulness, The Word of God, words of comfort


Scent of Water (Words of Comfort in Times of Grief) is a beautiful, moving, and honestly real devotional for those experiencing loss. Penelope has bravely written out of her own traumatic experience of witnessing her elderly mother’s life taken violently. And out of the subsequent deep grief response that left her numb and flailing.

The moment I read the blurb for Penelope Swithinbank’s new book Scent of Water, I knew that I wanted to read it. In her own words…

‘she found nothing that reached her dark night of the soul, nothing that let her know that God was still with her… she found it very difficult to pray or to read the bible… hugs rubbed her raw and consoling well meant cliches did not ring true… she wished there was a specific daily devotional to help her connect with God in and through the grief’

I was drawn to those words because I’ve been there. This book is a book for those who grieve, and grief comes in many forms and for many reasons. When I was at my lowest point, grieving the life I had once lived and loved, I longed for something easy to read, that would plug me into a God that I had known for years, but who at the time seemed so distant. A simple, non- demanding devotional, of maybe a single line from scripture and a word that spoke into my pain, was what I longed for. I was given books to read, great books on moving on, looking up, strengthening myself in the Lord; but they were too much, too soon. I wish now that I had had Scent of Water.

“For there is hope for a tree,
If it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And that its tender shoots will not cease.
 Though its root may grow old in the earth,
And its stump may die in the ground,
 Yet at the scent of water it will bud …

Job 14 :7 – 9 NKJV*

The book takes it’s title from this scripture, and it is about hope, but maybe only flickering hope – the merest scent of water – not the deluge, not the soaking, just enough hope to keep you holding on, barely, by your fingertips. I get that.

Penelope is a woman of deep faith, with a lifetime of following and serving Jesus. But that did not make her immune to pain, doubt and despair. She wrote Scent of Water out of her own need to just hold on through the storm. And her words in it are real, the emotions expressed raw and totally relatable, and yet hope also sings from every page. Like the Psalmists of old she has not hidden how grief has made her feel: the frustration, anger, disbelief, hollowness, confusion, and sheer exhaustion. But alongside her heart cries are the gentle words of God, the reassurances, the moments of strength for the weary soul, the thankfulness. It is just so beautifully moving to read. And to return to, over and over again.

Scent of Water comes as a small, easy to hold hardback, designed to be given as a gift. It’s design and appearance are stunning, from the front cover to the lovely colour photograph plates that mark the start of each new devotional. There are 25 of these six day devotions, enough for six months. Each has it’s own theme, some based on an extract from a bible chapter or a Psalm, others following a thought through, using different scriptures, with titles such as ‘Punched in the stomach : shock and agony’ and ‘Learning to Lean : when I need to rest’. The daily scriptures and thoughts are brief and undemanding, and end with a heartfelt prayer each day.

Penelope has also added a section at the beginning of the book with devotionals for the difficult days e.g. the day of the funeral, first birthday, first anniversary, first Christmas, as well as some additional meditations at the end of the book for people to dip into as they feel able. This book is so sensitively thought out and put together. I, for one, am going to treasure my copy and am so pleased that this book is out there. I know I will be buying it and giving it as a gift for those who need help to get through their grief, gently and slowly, but in connection with a Father who knows and loves them.

Penelope Swithinbank is a chaplain at Bath Abbey, and a vicar with twenty years of experience, specialising in spiritual counselling and therapy. She also loves both undertaking and leading others on pilgrimage, both in the UK and in Europe. You can read more about her and purchase Scent of Water via her website at

Scent of Water was published by Sarah Grace Publishing on 7th July 2021 and is now widely available online and in bookstores.

*New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission, all rights reserved

Read more about my own writing here

CHOOSING HOPE, Christian Writer, Dealing with Fear, Faith, God in control, Lessons from life, New Author, Thankfulness


There was cause for much celebration towards the end of last week when our window frames for our new extension finally arrived. Even more excitement when they were fixed in place and the window glass fitted. We have been waiting long weeks for those windows, and their fitting signals that the end is truly in sight, when it comes to our build. Those windows look great, but what is more, they make the space into a real room. With a touch of plastering, some heating and lighting, we will soon have a warm, weatherproof, secure living space, where there was once an open void.

It’s a wonderful thought.

The view from that room is stunning. I know how blessed we are to have it. The sea and mountains are beautiful on a clear blue sky day, but equally as spectacular on the dreary wet days. It was the reason we bought the house, even in the dilapidated state it was in. It is the reason we knew we wanted to invest in this build, to make this our forever home, our forever view. The view was stunning before the windows went in, but with the framing, somehow it is even more appealing. Frames can do that. Artists know that well; the sort of frame you use can change the way you view something. A well chosen frame can enhance a picture, or a photograph, drawing you in, making you focus more on what is inside that frame. A frame can change the way you see things.

The term ‘frame of reference’ I think originates from the world of physics, but it has come to be understood as the set of views, beliefs and values we might have as individuals that inform how we interpret things, and the assumptions we might make. We can blame a frame of reference for the choices we make and even the way we behave as a result. Each of us lives and operates within unique frames of reference.

I have come to learn that there is only one frame of reference which I should use to see and interpret the things I experience. And that is that GOD IS GOOD, and I CAN TRUST HIM. That isn’t always easy, believe me, but I have found it by far the safest frame to see things through. Whatever I am facing.

So when the answers to prayer seem to be slow to arrive. When the build goes over time, and worryingly over budget. When the world is in so much confusion still in the fallout of the Covid crisis. When I prepare myself for my second jab this week, when the first left me feeling so unwell. When a close relative experiences a death threatening medical emergency out of the blue that shocks us all to the core –

THIS has to be my frame of reference for all these things – that God is Good and I can trust Him.

Maybe I need to put that in a frame…

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

More information on Joy and her writing can be found here

Books, Christian Writer, Dealing with Fear, Faith, Lessons from life, Medieval Fiction, New Author


It has been incredibly busy week. We have packed up our lives, and moved lock, stock and dog into my parents’ house, so that the builders can start the much anticipated reconstruction of our home. It has been stressful, and exhausting, and frustrating at times. There have been moments of hilarity and also the odd raised voice. We are so grateful for the use of the self- contained flat at the top of Mother’s seafront Victorian house, but that means stairs – lots of them – and that is a challenge for both me, with my limited mobility, and for the old, confused, arthritic dog!

Mother’s seafront flat

The feeling that has been there in the background, for me, during the whole of this process, and finally came to the forefront last night, is fear. I know, as a ‘good’ Christian I shouldn’t let fear overwhelm me (I even wrote about it in my book!) but honestly, it does sometimes. Before I had ME I was pretty fearless about most things, but one of the by- products of my condition is fear (mostly irrational). In the early stages of my illness I became hypersensitive and had strange reactions to things like shampoos, body lotions and some foodstuffs. It has left me very careful and controlling about what I use on, or let into, my body! It is not as a controlling fear as it was – it is one of the things God has been working on with me. A couple of years ago I would not have contemplated the huge changes that are happening in our lives right now. So that is good! Really good.

So what got me so fearful? The jab. Yep, the Covid vaccination. Not facing the needle – as an ex- nurse, they don’t faze me – but actually having a foreign substance injected into my arm. The rational me knows the facts – how safe and important the vaccine is. The irrational fear panicked me about what effect the vaccine might have on my body – would I have a severe reaction, or long lasting side effects? ‘You may feel tired, experience headaches, have flu-like symptoms’ – well that just about describes every day living with ME! I don’t need any more of those type of symptoms, thank you!

Empty house, confused dog

Fear is real. Even irrational fear. And it can very easily overwhelm our minds, hearts and emotions. It is not wrong to be fearful. It is a natural human response and I refuse to be condemned, as though experiencing fear is some sort of sin or failure. Instead I need to learn how to respond to that fear. I knew that I needed to get some God truth in me to build my faith and fight back. Funnily enough I was prompted to read something I had written myself…

It’s amazing how the things around us can either make us feel at peace inside, or can steal our peace. Storms without can cause storms within.’

‘It is true,’ Hywel replied. ‘The kind of peace I want more and more is the kind that Jesus had, that He promises can be ours. A peace that stays true despite our circumstances.’

‘The peace that Jesus experienced during that storm; how do you think He came by that?’ Philip was keen to know the answer. Was that a kind of peace available to him, he wondered?

‘Several things, I think. It was a gift from God, obviously, but I believe Jesus accessed it by His own will. He trusted God to protect them. He knew enough about God’s plan for His life to know that it wasn’t His time to die, and also that God had a reason for wanting Him on the other side of the lake. He had a God-designed destiny, and a God-arranged destination, and an appointment with a demon-possessed man needing to be freed. He also knew who He was, and that He had the God-given authority to calm the storm. He chose to believe in those things, and not the evidence to the contrary that the storm seemed to present.’

‘So,’ Philip thought out loud, ‘inner peace comes from faith in God.’

‘Yes, I would say so. We choose to have faith in who God says He is, and what He is capable of. We can also take courage from who He says we are, His sons. We can trust that He has plans for our lives, and He has the power to accomplish those things for us.’

‘Were you afraid on the ship?’

‘Honestly? Yes. Fear in itself is a normal human reaction. You would expect to feel fear every time you entered a battle?’ He glanced over at Philip who nodded in response. ‘I was afraid, but I have learned to do the things God requires me to do, even when I feel fear. He promises to ride the storm with me, every time.’ He continued, ‘I prayed the whole time that God would help me, to not let my fear become greater than the faith I had in Him to keep us safe. My mind was eventually able to find a degree of peace, unlike my stomach.’ He smiled wryly.

The Healing , Chapter 7, pp 94-95

I wrote that because I know it is the truth, but it is a truth that I am still learning! Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t. Today I read it again before we left for our appointments, and His peace went with us. We got our jabs, all is well, and even if it gets a bit rough over the next day or two, I know that He will be with us. That fear thing? It’s not going to win.

The Healing was published by Instant Apostle on 19th March 2021, and is now widely available in both paperback and kindle format.

Signed paperback copies are also available direct from me at for £9 including UK postage.

The website also has more about me, the story behind my books, and some historic background which you might find of interest.