Bible, Capacity to care, Casting our care on Jesus, Christian Writer, Connected to God, God's faithfulness, prayer, Seeing as God sees, The Word of God

HEART CAPACITY

I’ve been thinking about capacity lately. Not how much rich food my stomach can hold – rather my heart capacity. How much emotion can I realistically handle before it overwhelms me? Particularly the negative and stressful stuff. I think this is a thing that varies greatly from person to person. Like the capacity to parent – some people can have five children of their own and then foster more. I knew my limit would be two. I was right. And they survived – just!

Baby with his grandad

Moments of overwhelm

But our capacity to care can also been greatly influenced by own health and emotional strength. It dominated my thoughts particularly one recent weekend when I was feeling physically lousy, my elderly parents contracted Covid, my baby grandson was also poorly, and my daughter had a birthday celebration. To top it all the dog required a visit to the vets. I made the comment to my husband that perhaps we weren’t designed to have the capacity to worry about four generations of family at once. Which sounds awful now that I read it back. I love still having both of my parents around, and both of my parents- in- law too. And I love being a parent and a grandparent. It was just one of those moments of overwhelm. Not knowing where, or on whom I should be expending my emotional capabilities. Who needed my support most? And why wasn’t I able to give more? Yep. Let’s add guilt to the emotional load.

God’s heart capacity

We used to sing a song in church that had the tearjerking line ‘break my heart for what breaks Yours’. I struggled to sing it then, and I struggle with the truth of it now. Yes, we are called to be compassionate, to see the needs of others, to care as Jesus cared. But I for one, know that my heart capacity would break far before God’s heart would. There is no way that I could take on all the cares of the world like our Saviour does. Do I really want to be so totally overwhelmed that I am in fact useless to anybody?

The news is heart-breaking at the moment. The sufferings of ordinary people thrown into war. The plight of refugees, and not just the ones from Ukraine. The ongoing spectre of Covid. The mess in government and the economy. I have to admit I can’t watch the TV news. The tipping point for my overwhelm runs too close to the surface.

Jesus: my heart’s release valve

 many pink hearts on a white background with the text 'Let not your heart be troubled'

And then I remind myself of Jesus’ words, just hours before He was betrayed and crucified for the burden of the world’s cares.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me                    John 14:1

We can use all sorts of self -care methods to prevent emotional overload, but actually Jesus gives us a very simple one. He says, ‘give the trouble to Me’.

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.                       1 Peter 5:7

Our hearts have a release valve, when they feel close to bursting, and it is Jesus. Things are far easier to bear if we share them with Him. That’s the beauty of prayer.

Enlarge my heart

I am reminded of another scripture also

I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart.                                                 Psalm 119:32

The context might actually be speaking of a capacity for wisdom and understanding here. But I also believe that God can enlarge the capacity of out hearts. Perhaps not to breaking point, as the song used to go. But perhaps to make us more aware of the needs of others, give us more understanding, more compassion, more capacity to give. I could do with that. Perhaps it is good then to pray ‘enlarge my heart, God.’

Large gold heart on white background with the text 'Enlarge my heart, God'

Joy Margetts is a blogger and a published author. 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 www.joymargetts.com

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

THE POWER OF GLASS: THE POWER OF PRAYER

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 www.joymargetts.com