It is Well with my Soul

Ever had an ‘ear-worm’?

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul…”

This has been mine all week and has thoroughly moved me and encouraged me.

How much we need His peace today, amidst all the change and uncertainty in the world.

As often happens, I was almost unaware of the triggers. However, after sharing Natasha’s post yesterday – “Peace like the Prince” ( I began to sing it again and I then made the connection. I realised I was partly so attracted to her beautiful poem, because the song and assurance of PEACE, from the Prince of Peace, had been with me through the lyrics in this ear-worm…

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul…”

The song had become my ear-worm, after listening to an amazing video of Stuart Neale at his worship altar, recorded on YouTube. Stuart reminded me of the man behind the song, who, despite suffering tremendous loss, was still able to find the peace to compose these incredible lyrics. (I detail the story and the lyrics below)

I would like to share the work of Stuart Croxford Neale, who is a wonderfully trained and experienced musician, whose heart is to express worship to the Lord. I was introduced to his music in a celebration webinar and an evening of “soaking” prayer. Later I found videos of his recordings which he does live, Saturdays at 11am (GMT) for the weekly celebration of Shabbat.

I hope his music encourages you, as it does me.

Stuart accompanied and toured with the singer Helen Shapiro, supporting her touring and recording activities. The late 90’s saw Stuart begin a deeper journey into worship music. Of special interest to Stuart is Davidic worship.

“It Is Well With My Soul” was penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss. This hymn was written after traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first two were the death of his four-year-old son and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which ruined him financially. His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873, at which time he had planned to travel to England with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, to help with D. L. Moody’s upcoming evangelistic campaigns. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the ship sank rapidly after a collision, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone …”. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford travelled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul!

Amen, Amen and Amen!!!

As my son would say – “Mum, that’s a Banger!”


I have to share this beautiful piece of writing. Thank you, Natasha and brother. 😀 Bless you both.

Sunrise Friday

It has become blatantly apparent
Evidently visible
Undoubtedly agreeable
That JESUS is the Prince of Peace

When boats were shaking and hearts were desperate
Desperate for help
Desperate for saving
He was right there with them
In the very situation were fear and panic existed, there he was with peace
There was a Prince
There was the Prince of Peace

When he was in a sticky situation with hungry people
And the people who walked with him and experienced his power doubted and fretted
He was at ease
He was peaceful
There was the Prince of peace

To think this is someone I have been forfeiting
I tried to maneuver around all the ways to find peace like a maze
But it has always been one track
His way

I didn’t actively forfeit him though but I didn’t choose him either
To forfeit the very definition of “peace is not…

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Obedience – How that word still heckles me!

It is not a popular word today. But it’s the word that came to mind today, as a source of peace and grace.

Let me briefly take you on a little journey… with 2 ‘icon’ style images – one is of Gethsemane (an authentic Greek icon) – the other is a photograph I took and stuck onto a block. This is a photograph of a painting I did and this is the story of the painting:-

In 2009, I was reading Revelation (1:12-20) and I felt the command to “paint what you see”. This was unusual for me; I didn’t enjoy painting and to paint something so prescriptive was just not my cup of tea. But the thought persisted, so 2 months later, I began to research various styles of menorah (golden lampstands) and to design some of my own and sketch out a composition… Then I bought a large canvas and began to paint the “one like a son of man” and the menorah and all the various symbols, till each one was in place. I didn’t like the painting; technically it was very weak and style-wise – just not my thing. But I was stuck. I didn’t know how to finish the painting. I hadn’t depicted the alpha and the omega nor what I kept calling “the glory”. I was in a bad place emotionally (and therefore also spiritually) in my life and kept crying to God that I no longer knew what “the glory” was! So I covered the canvas with a sheet and it sat in a corner gathering dust. In 2019, visiting my family in Orkney, I suddenly remembered the painting and knew I had to finish it. I heard the same patient command. No annoyance; no condemnation; no mocking; just a repeat… so I came home and added the ‘alpha and the omega’ and ‘the glory’. This time I knew what to do. I finished the painting, amazed that it took 10 years to complete! Amazed that God still cared for me to finish it. The painting is technically still not great, nor is it still ‘my style’, but now I love it. The painting hangs in my bedroom above the keyboard on which I plink-plonk the praise songs I’m learning… It reminds me that He will come again in Glory; it reminds me that He loves all His different churches and that His Glory shines on them all as they gather around Him. It reminds me that He’s so patient and is not finished with me yet, but the work He has begun in me, He will bring to completion.

Also, very briefly, the garden of Gethsemane icon – it spoke to me over and over for a year, saying,

Can you not watch with me for one hour?.. Watch and pray, so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak .” (Matt 26:40-41)

Eventually I obeyed Him, and that hour is my daily life source and blessing. He was so patient.

He does not condemn. He knows what we need and desires us to receive, but He doesn’t force us. When we obey, we (and often others) receive the blessing. If we do not obey, He waits until we allow Him to bless us. We can never out-give God. Whatever we give Him, He multiplies beyond measure.

I saw today the other image of Him in Gethsemane – praying,

My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.”

Even Jesus did not always want to obey, but He chose to do so. He understands our weakness and temptations, but He overcome and He gives us a way out, in His strength. Take heart. Be strong and courageous, for He has overcome the world. He did it for the joy set before Him and now He intercedes for you and me in the Father’s throne room. Amen.

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”’

Revelation 1:12-20 (NIV)

Prepositions of audacious love!

Prepositions of audacious love

This is a snippet of playfulness – of how my mind can ‘go-off-on-one’ when I allow it.

This was during morning prayer…

I was staring at the Celtic-style stone cross, which sits in front of my candle jar…

… the gentle light of the candle was dancing through the flame-smudges and wax on the jar; and I considered…

The candle light became the light of God’s radiant love behind the cross – the preposition “behind” struck me, so I followed it’s grammatical/symbolic path of position and preposition…

I meditated on the significance of God’s love being behind the cross – as we speak of motivation being “behind” an action or attitude – and God’s love was definitely behind His sacrifice on that cross…

What about in front, or before? God’s love was definitely before the cross – the cross was because of, therefore His love preceded the cross. For God so loved the world, that…!

(And I saw the Ark of the Covenant and His presence visible in front of and behind His people in the Wilderness).

His love beside the cross? Absolutely! The cross was a place where the love of God was demonstrably fully present. His love and mercy were beside and in and completely fully present at, on, in and throughout the divine and human suffering of the cross, then and now.

So, above the cross? Of course! His love and purposes are higher and above and beyond anything we can imagine…

Can it go below? Yes, for His love dug the hole. His love is the foundation for all the purpose, work, victory and glory of the cross.

So the love of God is behind, before, beside, in, through, on, above and below… it is beyond and all over the cross… and like the candle light, it dances gloriously, compels, makes visible and radiates from the central point of love, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross…

For me and for you.

I painted the candle jar and the cross that inspired these meditations: –

I painted the candle jar and the cross that inspired these meditations: –

Morning Pages – a process.

Morning Pages

I want to share with you a process that has been extremely valuable to me over this last year.

Last Christmas, my sister sent me a copy of Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way”. The main part of the practice is to write for 3 pages every morning… for all those writers out there, this is not writing as you know it – morning pages are to be the written ‘vomit’ of all the unprocessed mush that wants to come out, in whatever form it might appear, not to be read by anyone, even yourself, but to just get it all out, in your own handwriting, onto real paper…

The thought of writing 3 pages for no audience did not appeal, the thought of an additional job (especially another writing job) appealed even less, and as for the necessity of putting the alarm on for one hour earlier every morning, well… but despite all of that, there was something about the rationale that intrigued me. I knew that writing was very therapeutic for my processing.

Also, I had frequently bemoaned that I found prayer impossible in the morning, because my head was like a relentless spin-dryer, whirling the day’s concerns, and focussing on anything else seemed futile.

But the argument for clearing out the spinning process was compelling and so I began on Boxing Day last year (2019) and began every morning with 3 pages of writing.

“You don’t decide your future; you decide your habits and your habits decide your future” John Maxwell.

Following the course of the programme took 12 weeks, by which time the new habit was fully tried and tested and the impact was quite profound. For me, when I write with my left hand and allow my unconscious mind to scribble it down, I seem able to allow the peripheral vision to kick in and all the background scenery takes shape too and I can colour in the scenery. IE – I see much more clearly; it focusses my mind, sorts the wheat from the chaff, deals with nagging issues and prepares a prayer and an action plan for the day ahead… Also, an interesting phenomenon had occurred for me: I have always been a hoarder, but during these 12 weeks, I systematically went through 40 years of stored paperwork and threw 95% of it into the recycling bin! This is a significant shift. It had similar repercussions in other areas – sorting, filing, re-appraising, giving away, mending, moving on…In fact I filled over 6 huge recycling bins!

I found I would begin writing – maybe a dream I’d been having, going through stuff I need to do, what was said that bothered me… and, having to stay with it on paper, I would find myself coming up with solutions to situations, ideas for reconciliation, new questions to allow me a different perspective and answers… I have found I can align my mind and my heart, process and put negativity in its place, identify and reinforce the truth, pray for issues, look more closely at my processes…

So many ‘eureka moments’ and revelations splattered over those pages and, as my mind and path became clearer and more intentional, so my praying became so much more focussed and open to Holy Spirit inspiration.

Needless to say, maybe, but I have continued with this new habit and begin every day with my morning pages, to give me the space in my mind to pray and to write and serve. My writing projects over this time have been therapeutic, challenging works, which triggered a lot of excess emotion and muddled thinking and the morning pages became such a valuable tool to pick up the pieces, after each sleep process, and to help the Holy Spirit in the renewing of my mind.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

I so thank the Holy Spirit for helping me to use this tool in the renewing of my mind; and I thank Julia Cameron for her inspiration through the book; and my sister for sending it to me. I have passed a few copies of the book to others in the hope that they may find it as valuable as I do.

If you have come across this practice and/or already do it yourself, please do make a comment.