Monthly Archives: February 2014

Learn this, my slow heart


Learning by heart. Artist: Nikolaos Gyzis

“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”

God was pleased, well pleased

with Jesus his son.

Pleased, not with his ministry

he hadn’t started yet.

Pleased, well pleased

with who Jesus was,

as his son.

Nothing to earn.

Nothing to prove.

God is pleased, well pleased

with me

with you.


not because of what we do

but simply because we’re his children.

My head knows that

but does my heart really know?

Why is it so slow to learn?

Any hints of striving and anxiety

give me away,

show my heart hasn’t got it yet.

Invited to sink back

into my father’s arms

to relax my body and spirit

into His embrace.

Invited to know and experience

abundant love

flowing out towards me.

Invited to live and feast

under the banner

that proclaims I’m beloved.

But so often

I hold onto flags, banners, labels

that others give me

defining me

both positive and negative.

As I drop those many banners

only then can I fully live

in the light of the delight

of my father’s loving gaze,

living under his banner

proclaiming I’m beloved.

Do I really know

this already acceptance

deep down in my bones?

I’m often reminded,

it hasn’t gone deep enough yet.

How can I teach

my slow heart?

A heart doesn’t learn

as a head does.

Repetition of facts

until it sticks.

The heart doesn’t learn that way.

How then does a heart learn?





Leaning into truth

Experiencing it

Being held in it

Until it becomes firm.

Until one day

you look back

with surprise

and realise

your heart

has learnt

and you hadn’t noticed it.

“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”

– Matthew 3:17

© Hilary Murdoch 2014. All rights reserved.







dependence jan 2014

Painting by Hilary Murdoch ©2014

As a paraglider depends totally on their parachute

To ensure they don’t fall;

As a boat depends totally on an anchor

To ensure it doesn’t float away;

As my body depends totally on water

To sustain health, growth, life;

As a plant depends totally on light.

As my lungs depend totally on oxygen;

Totally, utterly


Not just requesting a little help

Every now and again

An optional extra.

This is different

Without it I’m sunk

Without you I’m nothing.

But often I don’t act like it.

Do I really believe

I depend on you to that extent?

Do I lean my full weight on you God?

Trusting you fully like oxygen or a parachute?

Or do I carry my own weight

Under the illusion of independence?

But functioning under that illusion

That I am holding myself and others together

Is exhausting


Can I expose the illusion?

Dump the independence?

Embrace the reality

The peace

The comfort

The strength in weakness

The release

Of true dependence?

I want to.

God please help me

To ease my weight back into your arms


You won’t drop me.


You’ll do a better job

Than if I did it all myself.


That you’ll do immeasurably more.

The world says

Dependence is weakness


But it’s only foolish

If the person or thing you depend on

Might let you down

Or take advantage of you.

If they’re either

Not strong

Or not good.

But what if the person you choose to depend on

Is always 100% strong

Always 100% good

Will never let you down

Will never take advantage of you?

Then apparent foolishness becomes wisdom

The apparent weakness becomes strength.

I want that wisdom.

But my mind is still so soaked

In the world’s wisdom

That it’s hard for me to lean my full weight

And trust this seemingly illogical wisdom.

But there, in the choice to lean

Is where fullness of life lies.

That’s where the ‘immeasurably more’ happens

When his power is at work in us.

And then there’s control

The control which keeps a firm grip

And leaves little room for dependence on God.

It turns out I’m more controlling than I thought

And that makes all this talk of dependence uncomfortable

Let alone the active practice of it

Of letting go

Of trusting.

Admitting we need a parachute

Does not mean we are weaker than others

As if we could fall without one.

If we are all falling through life

Recognition and acceptance of a parachute

Is wisdom

Acknowledging the true situation.

Saying we don’t need one

Is remaining in denial

Dangerous denial.

But I slip into that denial so easily.

So now I want to climb out

Out of the denial

Into the reality

And seemingly illogical wisdom

Into the immeasurably more

Into the upside down strength

Of dependence

On you God.

Please show me how

Today, tomorrow

Show me how.

All poems and original writing on this blog is Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2014