In the valley I grow

I’m back! I took a long overdue trip across the pond to my “borning land,” England, to visit my brother and sis-in-law. I was born in London but had never returned since leaving there at age 5. I finally conquered my fear of trans-Atlantic travel and lugged my behind over there late last month. 

After 9/11 and the shoe bomber, I swore I would never go, and even after I agreed to do so when my brother and sis came to visit me in 2005, in a matter of days the London subway bombings occurred and I wimped out, yet again. But, God be praised, I overrode those fears, and am I glad I did! Had a great time and was able to do a bit of the touristy thing in London (see pic above of me in Trafalgar Square. Nice!!!)

I would love to say that I hobnobbed with Queen, who was in fact on vacation in Balmoral, but I have to admit that I spent a good bit of my vacation time sidelined by sciatica.   Royal pains, indeed!  I was like, “Lord, after chickening out so many times, I finally drummed up enough courage to take this trip. Why would You let this be the time for sciatica to hit me … hard?”

Well, I could get all deep and spooky and say how it taught me to see the beauty in adverse circumstances, but I was furious that I wasn’t getting to do all the things on my “to do England” list.

What’s a girl to make of the timing of this “thorn in my flesh”?

To be honest, it made me deal, yet again, with the truth that I do not have total control over my life. Back home in St Kitts, old people used to say: “Man a point, but God a point out.” My take on that saying is that we may plot our course, but the final say is from God Himself.

So, left incapacitated for several hours each day and far from the demands of life as I normally know it, God got my attention about stuff that I had been trying to avoid. It’s never a fair fight when it’s God versus you, especially a sick, bowed-down version of you. He had me deal, of all things, with what we call at home “longheartedness,” better known as unforgiveness. Ah. Yes. That thing.

Well, long story short, I had to confess (to say it is really so) that I needed, for my own good, to release myself and others from the “ties that bind.” Holding a grudge truly does a number on the grudge holder, not the person perceived as being the offender. We justify the things that we want to hold on to, or we find ways to implicate others, even though we are the ones who end up hurting over time.

So, by the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to make progress in an area that had dogged me for years. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that He led me to take action that still surprises me … and it was indeed liberating! Who woulda thunk?

God really does give us beauty for ashes when we are willing to turn our “stuff” over to His care. I’m a witness. Had anyone told me that that would have been one of the highlights of my trip back to my place of birth, I would never have believed it!

Here’s hoping that you, too, will be open to Him doing a big thing in your life!


  1. Alison,

    Great blog! Though I can't imagine you holding a grudge against anyone! They must have really done you wrong. You're right, though–holding grudges really only hurts the grudge holder. I'm happy I learned that lesson a long time ago. It just isn't worth the energy it saps from you. 🙂


  2. Thanks, Pam! yeah, I confess to being a grudge bearer; it's not a good look! And you're right, it does sap energy.

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