Thanks for checking out my latest blog! I’ve not written for a while, partly due to the busyness of life and partly due to adjustment as a widow after moving house.

CHRISTMAS is a wonderful time, so too are birthdays and other celebrations extra special! This due to no small part being the giving and receiving of gifts. To give a gift brings far greater pleasure to us at times than receiving one. Hopefully you identify, agree? We as humans put thought into the person on the receiving end of this particular gift. Will it be well received? Is it going to be put to good use? Will it be just another one for the charity shop shelf, maybe? What if it is a not-so-nice- GIFT we receive ourselves?!

Off on a tangent now, to return hopefully a little later, humour me and stay with me on this …

SCIATICA is a common type of pain caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, going from the pelvis, through the buttocks, down the legs to the feet. What makes the sciatic pain worse? Sitting for long periods of time, sneezing (regular occurrence pour moi!) and forceful coughing. Treatment and remedies include a set exercise routine; advice includes aiming to do this routine at least once a day if the pain allows. You can complement this routine with walking, cycling and water-based activities.

Why am I telling you this? Well let me explain … Not so long ago I ran my first half marathon, in aid of a worthy cause, our local Hospice. The run was preceded by months of training, fitting in a rigorous schedule around work and social commitments. Running four laps of about 5 kilometres each culminating in the 21 total kilometre Richmond half marathon was stretching my limits of endurance. In short, as the last lap was in sight, I developed the most intense excruciating pain imaginable. This meant me pausing and finally walking the final perimeter to the finish line; suffice to say, finishing in the time allowed, receiving a medal and thankfully gifting much needed funds to the Hospice. The result of this pain appears to be due to an irritated nerve. This got me thinking about various trials we face in our everyday lives (like pinched nerves too) and how this pain can affect us.


Ever pruned roses and got yourself a thorn embedded deep under the skin? Then tried to remove it and can’t, no matter how hard you try … sound familiar?

It’s like the rose bush punctured your skin, resulting in pain – unwanted pain!

To elaborate – I feel and identify with this type of pain, this ‘thorn’ that won’t go away. Do you, dear reader? It has felt like it to me lately – there has been no letting up! It, the thorn / the pain appears to take on various forms and at times hides itself. Then, as if out of nowhere – THERE IT IS!!!! … that pang, that sting. Has it got a name, this thorn?

A. Status of widow (er), orphan etc

B. Loneliness

C. {Insert your struggle}

D. All / None of the above?

GIFT OF A HANDICAP (or ‘thorn’)

Paul, the author in his letter to the Christians at Corinth says he was given the gift of a handicap to keep him in constant touch with his limitations, so the Message version of the bible tells us, it was to push him to his knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty!

Some handicaps, struggles or pain could be categorised as follows:

· ABUSE – Within family and work situations daily we can receive abuse – verbal and physical. This causes unwanted pain!

· ACCIDENTS – How often do we slip up, make mistakes? – They are accidents. These cause unwanted pain!

· OPPOSITION – Opinions of others, well-meaning / often contrary plans to our set-in-stone-type-of-plans. Friction causes unwanted pain!

· BAD BREAKS – When every day situations turn into seemingly irreversible nightmares. They happen. They cause unwanted pain!

At first Paul didn’t think of this thorn, this hardship, this handicap as a gift. In fact he begged God to remove it. Three times he asked. The answer he received was:

My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once he heard that, he relaxed and was glad to let it happen. “I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

Question is, what’s your thorn? Care to share, dear reader?

Thanks for reading, as always




The Message (MSG) 2 Corinthians 12:7-10


3 thoughts on “Gifts

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