Book Review, Books, Christian faith, Christian publishing, Christian Writer, Healing, Holy Spirit, Unashamed, Valuable to God

BOOK REVIEW: UNASHAMED by Tracy Williamson

Unashamed: Discover the Healing Power of God’s Love for Your Wounded Soul

Image of front cover of Unashamed. It is a deep indigo colour with gold text and butterflies.

What a privilege it has been to be able to read a pre-publication version of this beautiful book and to have been asked to be part of the team to help launch it into the world. It is published today, 8th September 2023, by Authentic Media.

In Unashamed Tracy has done something truly brave, in opening up her heart and sharing her own story with us. This book is a declaration – that God can take us with all of our messes, and can minister to us, heal us, and redeem us. So that we can stand unashamed – of who we might have been, of who we are now, of what might have been done to us, of what we are still tempted to do. God has an answer for all of the things that we hold as questions over our own lives.  Do I have any worth? Do I have anything to give? Can I walk free of my past? Can I walk into my future leaving my shame, guilt and offense behind me? Does God really have a plan and a purpose for me?

Tackling Big Issues

Endorsement from Patrick Regan: This could be one of the most important books you have ever read. Understanding its message will be life transforming.

Tracy takes us gently through some big issues in this book. Themes surrounding identity, despair, shame, fear, unforgiveness, the power of words, and how God responds to each of these things with a call to sonship. Each chapter is framed around her own experiences of God’s redemptive work in her life. Some of the things she shares are hard to read, as she reveals the pain of her past. But then she talks of God – His loving pursuit of her, and the way He revealed Himself to her. Step by step bringing healing and freedom into her life.

Depth and Insight

The book is a smorgasbord of delights. Alongside Tracy’s own story are the stories of others, beautiful meditations on the word of God, examples of God’s miracle working power through Tracy and Marilyn’s ministry, prophetic pictures, questions and prayers for reflection, and poems and modern day parables from the author’s own hand. It is not a book to be read quickly. There is so much depth and insight and encouragement on every page. It can be read straight through but I think its true worth is in slow meditative reading, and in prayerfully applying the truths it shares to our own lives and experience.

Unashamed and honest

I said before that Tracy has been brave in writing this book, unashamed to share where she has been and where God has brought her to. Her integrity, openness and compassion shines through. Long years in ministry have qualified her to speak hope into broken lives. Her own experiences of God have qualified her to speak of His amazing love and power to heal and restore. It cost her to write this book, but God’s hand is all over it. I believe it will become a powerful tool in bringing freedom to many.

Image combines a picture of the book cover alongside a 3D red heart that is cracked in pieces, on a glossy black background

Creator Without Apology

The book opens with a beautiful personal poem, ‘Creator without Apology’. It spoke deeply to me, and sums up the message of Unashamed. In it the author marvels at the beauty and intricacy of creation, all that reflects back on the Creator’s beauty, and in that can only see herself as some kind of mistake. And yet God speaks, and He says ‘In as far as these things reflect my beauty, They are nothing compared to you’. Why? because as beautiful as flowers and leaves and trees are, they cannot walk and talk, and be joined in love with Him. Still the author questions her own insufficiencies, and God has to come back again and re-iterate His design for her life, ‘Child don’t let your wounds blind you to the artist, And limit the richness of my creativity’. The Creator will not, cannot, apologise for making us just as we are. His creativity goes beyond the things we see as limitations in our lives; He can, and delights to, make us into beautiful and glorious reflections of Himself.

Unashamed to be me

How often do we carry so much shame or lack of self worth, that we cannot hear what the Father whispers over us, we cannot accept that He sees us as beautiful, and gifted, and having purpose in Him? This book leads us on that path of acceptance. The freedom to be and live as the person He designed us to be. Alive in Him and in love with Him. Unashamed to be exactly who He created us to be.

Photo of the author, Tracy Williamson.

The author: Tracy Williamson lives in the South East with her ministry partner Marilyn Baker. Working for MBM Trust they lead conferences, renewal days , concerts and church events. Their vision is to see lives restores through intimacy with God.

Copies of the book can be purchased direct from the author here. Or from Eden Books, or Amazon, or via all good Christian Bookshops.

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022, and her third novel The Bride’ will be published on 20th October 2023.

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here

CHOOSING HOPE, Christian Writer, Faith, God in control, God's faithfulness, Healing, House renovations, Lessons from life, New Author, Thankfulness

Destructive Disappointment

Image of water dripping through top of window frame

If you’ve been reading my blog for while, you’ll know that we have had some major renovation work done on the house. It has been stressful at times; it has also been incredibly exciting, and we are so pleased with the changes, and so, so thankful. But there have also been disappointments and frustrations. This last weekend as high winds and rain lashed the house, one of the new windows sprung a leak. Disappointment? Definitely. We had new windows put in specifically because the old ones weren’t keeping the weather out!

Disappointed valentine

I’m writing this on Valentine’s day, but I have refused to do a Valentine’s themed post. Partly because Valentine’s day has been a source of disappointment for me over the years. I waited in hope and excitement every year for a card to plop on to the doormat. It never did. I have only ever received one card, from the hubby, and that was in our first year of dating. He doesn’t do traditional romantic gestures and it took me a while to reconcile myself to that fact. Does he love me? Unquestionably. Does he show me in a million other ways, every day? He does. But Valentine’s day continued to be a disappointment for a good while.

Unanswered prayer?

Image of a sky bright with the setting sun above a silhouetted castle, and a calm sea.

This last Sunday I went forward for prayer for healing at the end of our church meeting. Why did I do that? Because I live with a long term health condition that there is no known cure for in medicine, and lately I have felt my symptoms worsening again. Because I believe in miracles and a God who heals. Because I believe in the promises God has given me. Because I have seen Him heal miraculously, sometimes even when I have been praying for people myself. So I went forward for prayer with faith, but as I sat being prayed for, all sorts of negative, unhelpful thoughts bombarded my mind. And although the prayer prayed was lovely and faith- filled, I came away feeling no better. In fact I have felt worse since. I think disappointment is playing a part.

Destructive disappointment

Disappointment can be so destructive. It can cause our faith to falter. If I gave into disappointment it might mean that I never go forward for prayer again. So what do I do with my disappointment? Well with the window leak, we contacted the builders and ask them politely to sort it! Likewise I can take my disappointment about seemingly unanswered prayer back to the Healer. I can pour out my disappointment to Him, put it all back into His hands. He knows and understands and doesn’t condemn me for feeling disappointed. As I speak to Him, read His words, listen, He invariably encourages me with a whispered word, or a promise renewed.

Image with lovehearts and the text of Jeremiah 31:3

As for Valentine’s day. It is no longer a disappointment. Because it is only one day out of 365. And every day of the year my husband faithfully cares for me, serves me, encourages me, and loves me unconditionally. So it is with God. The moments of disappointment are small, set against His overwhelming faithfulness to me. His love, protection, provision and guidance. His mercy and grace. His empowering and comfort. His presence through it all. The daily blessings. When I start to thank Him for all of those, the disappointment dissipates. I know that I can trust Him, and His timing. I know He is good. I’ve proved it over and over. And I won’t stop going forward for prayer.

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, Christian Writer, Faith, God in control, Grief, Healing, Holy Spirit, Medieval Fiction, New Author, pilgrimage, Seasons of life, The Word of God

A Heart Set on Pilgrimage

image of a path across a headland, with the island of Bardsey on the horizon

As I write this, I really should be doing something else. I am supposed to be editing my manuscript for my second full length novel, The Pilgrim. The editing has been taking up most of my time and energy for the last few days. I know it has to be done, but I am finding it both exciting and exhausting. It is with mixed feelings that I read and re-read, and correct the words that I have written. And always the questions… is it going to be good enough? Are people actually going to want to read this?

Heart pilgrimage

At the end of each chapter, as I did in my first book, I have inserted a verse or two of scripture. In The Pilgrim these are taken from the Psalms. Each one is chosen for how it speaks into what is happening in the life of the central character, Brother Hywel, as he walks his own spiritual journey. But many of them have personal meaning to me too, like this one:

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
Psalm 84: 5-7 NKJV

I have chosen to write about a real pilgrimage in the book, hence the title. But it isn’t just the physical path of pilgrimage that is Hywel’s journey to grace. It is also the inclination of his heart, to truly seek after God. 

Image of a valley path with the text of Psalm 84 :5

Tears bringing life

On my own journey I have been through some dark valley times, when it really feels like the Valley of Baca (‘Baca’ means ‘weeping’). I have struggled to understand why, but it isn’t always for me to understand. I only have to keep my heart set on Him. My ‘pilgrimage’ is to step by step walk the path that leads me closer to His heart. And it isn’t always easy to stay on that path, especially when blinded by tears.

But what if the very tears that I weep actually help to water the dry ground around me and turn it into springs of life? My strength to keep going actually comes from Him, if I ask for it! And He will increase that strength as I keep walking, make me even more resilient and fruitful. Nothing is wasted in Him. I might walk through the Valley of Weeping, but my very presence turns it into a place of blessing!

Image of the front cover of The Pilgrim. The title of The Pilgrim is in black font against a white background that looks like manuscript paper. The 'P ' is illuminated. Beneath this is a brightly coloured stained glass image of a group of pilgrims.

The Pilgrim: a pool of blessing

My tears have fed into the story I have written in The Pilgrim. My prayer is that the book becomes a pool of blessing for many. I am blown away that God has chosen to use the things that I have gone through, in my own pilgrimage journey, to create books that might just do that. I’ll remember that as I continue the sometimes painful editing process!

At least the book already has the most beautiful of cover designs. I pray that the words inside will be just as beautiful.

(The Pilgrim is due to be published in July 2022, but you can pre-order your copy now, by commenting on this blog post)

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

Bearing Fruit, Books, Christian Writer, Faith, God in control, God's faithfulness, Grief, Healing, Lessons from life, Medieval Fiction, New Author, Seasons of life, The Passion Translation, The Word of God


I have realised that four out of my last five blog posts have featured other people’s books. Now that is not a bad thing; I love reading and reviewing books. And there have been some great books to read and review! But I do think that perhaps I should dedicate this blog post to talking about my own book!


A smiling author signing a publishing contract

 Not The Healing, or even The Beloved, much as I love talking about them. No, I’d like to talk to you about another book. A new book. I have gone and done it again. I written a second full length novel and have signed a publishing contract with Instant Apostle. The Pilgrim will be published, God willing, in July of next year. Which seems an awful long time to wait, but I’m sure will speed by! There is plenty to keep me and my wonderful publishers busy between then and now, I’m sure.

When I wrote The Healing, I had no idea where it would lead! I loved the whole writing and publishing process so much that almost as soon as The Healing was published I had started writing The Pilgrim. Brother Hywel needed his own story, and so the idea for a prequel was born. (Now I know that isn’t the normal way to do things, but it worked for Star Wars!). It was a much harder slog to get the book down this time, made yet harder by the disruption of major house renovations and the arrival of a new grandson. But the manuscript is finally finished, and I am so grateful for Instant Apostle having enough faith in it to publish it for me.

I won’t bore you with all the story details at this stage, as I’m sure there will be time enough for that over the next few months. Needless to say it involves monks, abbeys, and horses, and a redemptive journey in the form of a pilgrimage.  If you want to get sneak previews you can always go to my website and sign up to receive my newsletter, as that will be where I will be posting a lot more about the book in the coming weeks.


Sheaves of ripened wheat in a sunlit field

I was reading Psalm 126 this week, ‘ They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.’ I know there are many ways of interpreting that verse, but for me it seemed to just speak into what God has miraculously been doing in my life. There has been a lot of weeping. I grieved, and still do grieve at times, the life that my illness stole from me. But I can look back now, and see that what was being sown, as I wept, was the seed for what I am able to do now. Now I can write; words of truth and life, words of hope and redemption, all wrapped up in historic fiction about medieval Welsh monks! And my words can touch many –  I have had  so many messages from readers to prove that this is actually happening. Maybe this is the harvest – the abundance of sheaves that can have my heart rejoicing. It really feels like it might be. And it is all down to Him.

Those who sow their tears as seeds
    will reap a harvest with joyful shouts of glee.
 They may weep as they go out carrying their seed to sow,
    but they will return with joyful laughter and shouting with gladness
    as they bring back armloads of blessing and a harvest overflowing!

PSALM 126 :5 – 6 The Passion Translation

The Pilgrim Fantastical pre-order Prize draw. Sign up for a pre-order copy now to win a chance of winning one of three great prizes.

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 can be found here

Belonging, Book Review, Books, Christian Marriage, Christian Writer, Faith, Forgiveness, God's faithfulness, Healing, Lessons from life, Seasons of life, Thankfulness


I love reading new books by new writers, who like me have been brave enough to put their writing out there. Which is a very scary thing, believe me. I especially love books that are very definitely inspired by God, with a great faith message, that is lightly handled and wrapped up within a gripping fictional tale.

All Saints? Is one of those books and I am very happy to recommend it. I’ve seen it described as Christian chick lit, but I wouldn’t label it such, as it is such a good observation of everyday life, that I think it would appeal more widely. If you have ever been involved with church, if you have ever had to deal with real life challenges and heartbreak, if you are a man or woman with questions about faith, then you will find things to relate to in this book.

Clever Title

All Saints?’ is a clever title. It refers to the Parish Church that sits at the centre of the tale, but as the story also follows three Christian women connected to the church, it explores just how saintly each really is. Of course the Bible might describe all believers as ‘saints’, but how we live out our lives is often far from deserving of the title, and that is normal! Sophie is the church minister’s wife, juggling handling a difficult adopted toddler and also trying to support her husband in his role, whilst being a good friend to the others. She also has deep wounds related to her struggle with infertility that resurface when her friend Hayley announces that she and her husband are also unlikely to be able to conceive naturally. Hayley is desperately unhappy and makes a decision that has devastating effects for all of them.  Lucy is single, and feeling bypassed, calling out to God for a man to love her. It seems God has answered her prayers. Her journey is heart-breaking.

Raw and real, and relatable

All Saints? is raw and real in places, shocking even, but it is also heart-warming, as the bonds of friendship, and the love of God, see these three friends, their partners and families work through their issues together. That it is set around a church, works brilliantly.  For anyone like myself, who has grown up immersed in church life, the different (odd) people that make up the congregation, the funny little incidents, the frustrations and the joys are all so recognisable. The green cup/blue cup mix up made me laugh – I’ve seen something very similar happen myself, and can even picture those ‘church’ cups and saucers. The open day where half the village come because it’s free – and none of them actually then come to church as a result, had echoes of many ‘failed’ outreaches I’ve been part of. The rich parishioners who think they should run everything, including the minister, but would rather raise money selling jam than donate money themselves to repair the pot-holed driveway, also made me smile knowingly.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, reading it in a couple of days, and becoming quite invested in all of the main characters. It does cut quite close to home at times, but also talks about faith matters in a gentle and non threatening way.

Well done Ellie Carter on your debut!

*Romans 1:7

Ellie Carter has walked the path of infertility. She and her husband are now blessed with two adopted children. If you would like a personally signed copy of All Saints? please bless the author by contacting her direct at

She is offering the book at a discounted price of £7.00, including postage, to anyone who contacts her as a result of this post.

All Saints? was published by Instant Apostle on 19 June 2020, ISBN 1912726211, RRP £8.99

Acceptance, Belonging, Books, Christian Writer, Faith, Healing, New Author


I love ITV’s ‘Long Lost Family’ –  a show about reconnection and restoring of broken family relationships. It’s definitely one where having a box of tissues handy is advised! Some of the stories are heart-breaking – young mothers forced to give up babies, siblings separated through no fault of their own, long held feelings of guilt, shame, abandonment, loss. The reunions are always wonderful. Especially when the reconnected families look so similar, or speak or laugh in the same way. Heart-warming stuff.

I’m thinking a lot about families at the moment. The easing of restrictions has meant that we can reconnect with long lost family members of our own. This weekend we have travelled south to attend a wedding celebration and we will be seeing family members in the flesh, some of whom we haven’t seen for two years or more. Not quite a lifetime of separation, but it will certainly be great to reconnect and catch up with them all. I am so thankful for my biological family, they are all so cherished.

Another family I am grateful for is the long lost family I didn’t even know I had, until the beginning of this year. In January I made the bold move of joining a zoom call with a group of writers I had never met before. I had found the Association of Christian Writers online, and joined up, but this was new territory – actually introducing myself to a group of real faces, and as an actual bona fide writer. I discovered a family there. These were people who knew what being a writer felt like, who had the same joys and frustrations as me, knew the pitfalls, had experienced the highs and lows. I was so warmly accepted, and now some of those people are really dear friends. One of them, Maressa Mortimer, is hosting us this weekend in her lovely holiday home, and it is so good to finally meet her in the flesh. Another, Wendy H Jones, has opened many writing doors for me, one of which was inviting me to contribute a chapter to an anthology for writers. Creativity Matters: find your passion for writing, is available to purchase now. Exciting times!

One thing that does upset me when watching ‘Long Lost Family’, is the way individuals talk about ‘feeling empty inside’, as though something is missing, disconnected, incomplete. They are looking for long lost family members in the hope of filling those voids, healing that emptiness. I wonder if they really do truly find that missing piece?  

It’s true that we all need that sense of belonging, that sense of identity – who I am, where I come from, how I fit in. We can get a measure of that from our biological families, and that is wonderful. We can also get acceptance and a sense of belonging from groups of people who share our passions and beliefs. But a part of me, a big part of me, knows that however good our human relationships are, that void can persist. That uncertainty as to my identity can easily be triggered if I base it on how well I am accepted and loved by those around me. I have learnt, and relearnt, over the years that true acceptance, belonging, and identity can only come from God my Father. After all, He knows absolutely everything about me, He made and designed me as I am, and yet STILL loves me unconditionally. If I take my sense of who I am, from who He says I am, then, in Him, I am never disconnected, never abandoned, never alone, and never lost.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.’                                                                           Isaiah 43: 1 NKJV

I have loved you with an everlasting love; 

Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV

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

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

Christian Writer, Faith, Forgiveness, Healing, Lessons from life, New Author, Seeing as God sees, The Word of God, Uncategorized


Last Sunday I stood up to preach in front of a real life congregation for the first time in a very long time. It felt like a milestone moment, and it was a joy – gazing out at those lovely faces, half- hidden by masks, and seated in their socially distanced seats. Except that I could not see them. Yes, some of them were a long way away and I definitely felt the distance standing on my own at the far end of the hall, with just the lectern for company. But I couldn’t see their faces (or their reaction to my message!) not just because of the masks, but because of my glasses. I have reached that age where to see the words on the page in front of me requires glasses. That means that when I wear them I see very little else in focus. So then started the little dance – glasses on to read the Bible, glasses off to see my listeners, glasses on to check my notes, glasses off…. You get the picture. Finally I gave up and put the glasses down, choosing to rely on my memory and the prompting of Holy Spirit, rather than my notes, so that at least I could interact with those dear people who had made the effort to be there, sanitised and all.

I was preaching from Luke 5, the story where four friends bring their paralysed friend to Jesus for healing, and have to make a hole in the roof to lower him into the crowded house, so as to get him to Jesus’ feet. I have always loved that story; I can remember hearing it in Sunday school and always being very concerned about the hole in that poor homeowner’s roof, and whether they minded? And who fixed it after? In a lovely book that I am reading to review at the moment, the author uses this story as a beautiful picture of how much we need our friends when we find ourselves unable to help ourselves, or even to pray for ourselves. (More on that next week!) For today I wanted to bring another message from the story.

That man had an obvious problem that everyone could see. His friends knew it, the crowds knew it, anyone who had ever known him knew it – he could not walk. Nobody needed glasses to see that. Yet when Jesus looked at him He saw something that nobody else could see. The paralysed man had a greater need; he carried a greater burden than his disability – he carried the burden of guilt. Jesus looked into that man’s eyes and told him that his sins were forgiven, and then, and only then, He addressed the more visible problem and healed the man physically. That man went away whole in more ways than one.

On Sunday I only had to put my glasses on to see, and be able to read the Word of God clearly. How wonderful if it were as easy as putting on glasses to be able to read people and situations in the same way as Jesus did. To see in clear focus what was really going on below the surface. The truth is, that it is possible to see as Jesus sees, because as His believers, His Spirit lives in us. I just have to remember to ask Him to show me how He sees, and not rely on what my flawed human eyes can perceive. As the words from this song put it….

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love Like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am For Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

*from ‘Hosanna’, by Brooke Ligertwood. Hillsong UNITED

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