Author Archives: hilarymurdoch

About hilarymurdoch

Loves views, beauty, friends, making things and dancing. I live in Cape Town, hoping to be a midwife of hope and freedom.

Slowing down and knowing God in stillness


I’ve really appreciated the songs and worship of Jonathan Ogden recently. Do look him up on youtube and particularly his lockdown worship sessions have been a blessing and this song above.

As there’s a feeling for many that life is speeding up again I also felt prompted to re-share this poem I wrote in 2014, I hope it speaks to you.


it starts with me

I will

an intentional choice

I will be

presence, being not doing

I will be still

stopping – stillness in my body

trust – stillness in my emotions, my soul

peace – stillness in my spirit

and know

deep heart knowing

experiential knowing



You are God.

You are “I am”

You are who you are

Not who I think you are or want you to be

But who you are

Your presence, being you

Healer, Provider, Shepherd, Peace

The one who sees,

The one who is present.

Who you are to me now

Who you are, not what you will do

A deep knowing and experience of that ‘who’

oozes in gently

into my body, my soul, my spirit

as I


to be


Jehovah-Shammah Ezekiel 48:35  “The Lord who is present”

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.”


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

My own is not enough


I wrote this in 2013 and for some reason I just came across it again today and felt I wanted to share it. Seems more relevant to me now than ever, maybe it’ll speak to you too.


‘My own is not enough’

I need you.

Aware of my own frailties,

limitations, insecurities, weakness.

I need you God.

I need your love,

to give to others.

My own is not enough.

I need your strength,

to push through.

My own has run out.

I need your security,

to anchor me.

My own is unstable.

I need your wisdom,

to see the way ahead.

My own is tainted.

I need your presence.

I need you.

Fill me up

with all that you are.

So I can be

all I’m created to be.


All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Blackbird in a crabapple tree,  Andrew Murdoch
I hear birdsong more now.
They say, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer but because it has a song”.
In this time when we don’t have answers, let’s not pretend we have answers
but maybe we can find our song. 
I am noticing and feeling my emotions more (although it’s tempting to squash them).
Random emotions popping up, sadness, frustration…
all part of the jumble of the grief we are all feeling..
loss of certainty, loss of safety, loss of connection, loss of normalcy.
Emotions from long past situations and losses are reemerging.
I wept deeply last night about the death of someone close to me years ago. I miss their presence now.
The release was good, healthy but now I’m exhausted and I know that’s normal.
Do I have the courage to feel these emotions, hear them, acknowledge them,
let them be released and pass through me,
see what they have to teach me, and how I can be more free?
I’m loving this recent painting of my dad’s of a blackbird in a tree of berries.
And I’m loving the song Blackbird by the Beatles.
What might it be saying to you?
Can we sing even in the dead of night?
Can we take our broken wings and learn to fly?
Can we take our sunken eyes and learn to see?
What good do you see around you… even in the light of the dark black night?

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free
Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

A glorious and baffling exchange


This is a poem I wrote at Easter in 2014 and strangely it seems even more relevant in these challenging ‘in-between times’ of uncertainty, darkness, separation and death. Of course people reading this will all believe different things but maybe, as I try to express what Easter means to me personally, it could bring a little hope to others in these times.

They say the sun shines

on the righteous and the unrighteous.

And I’m grateful that it does

because it shines on me

and I’m both.

As I eat banana and bacon pancakes

by the sea

on Easter Saturday

I marvel at the grace

of His sunshine on me.

Here in the in-between place

between Good Friday and Easter Day

between sacrifice and restoration

between loss and great gain

between separation and reunification

between seeming defeat and overwhelming triumph

between death and new life.

In this in-between space,

His friends had to wait,

had to sit in the unknowing

and crushing disappointment

in the devastating silence.

It’s here in this space

that the mysterious happened:

the glorious and baffling exchange.

My garbage

for His glory.

Maybe my brain doesn’t fully ‘get’ it

but my heart has certainly experienced it.

It’s here that I get to lay down

all in me that’s not right

everything that’s ‘unrighteous’

all that’s not His wonderful way.

I lay down my fears

my insecurities

my selfishness.

I give him all the hidden ugliness of my heart.

And it’s here

that he takes it onto himself

at unimaginably high cost.

Then as the sun dawns on Easter Sunday

and life smashes through death

it’s now that he gives me in return

what I don’t deserve

what I could never earn.

Fullness of life

and the privilege

of the offer

of a life changing relationship

with the creator of the universe

with the most compassionate and humble man who ever lived

with the source of peace and love.

An offer

of right relationship with Him:


An offer,

not forced on me

but if I receive it

my life will never be the same.

A ‘mission impossible’:

to bring wholeness and restoration in the world, as He did

only possible through His power at work inside me.

And so on this day of triumph

I choose afresh

I choose full life

and accept the mission that’s impossible without Him.

I step deeper into the adventure

where my life has meaning and purpose

where it’s possible to break free from the stuff that holds me back

where I’m aware of His loving presence: real, alive, powerful

where there’s a gift of peace under-girding even the hardest times.

I step into the adventure

where extra-ordinary things could happen

and amazingly they often do.

Copyright Hilary Murdoch 2014. All rights reserved.

‘Stars in Jars’ – new book on the way


I haven’t posted for ages but I have some news to share and I’m very excited! I have been working on a new book and it’s starting to become a reality. Still a long way to go but it’s really happening!

It’s a children’s book called ‘Stars in Jars’ – an allegory about how we shouldn’t try to own nature because we just spoil it.
“There was a boy and his dog who lived in a land where the sea was the sky and the sky was the sea. They fished for stars and put the stars in jars to light up their dingy igloo….”
Here’s a sneak peak of the first drafts of the composite images… a combination of loose inks on wet paper, permanent marker on clear plastic acetate (the outline of the stars) and then the little characters on the iceberg in pen and watercolour. I just learnt a computer programme last night to layer the elements up into one image. I wrote the story years ago and started on the illustrations in earnest last year, just trying to do one illustration every two weeks. 

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If you’re interested in getting a copy when it’s done do email me ( and I’ll put you on a list to let you know when they are available… won’t be for a while yet, but I’m hoping it’ll be this year. Of course if you have any contacts in children’s publishing or have experience of Amazon self-publishing do let me know, I’d love your advice. Watch this space!

The Deliberate Downgrade



Creator of the universe

King Almighty

chose to become small
chose to be fragile.
Fleeing death
on the run
a refugee
no room for him.
The dramatic risky downgrade was no accident.
It was chosen,
to demonstrate to us what kind of Kingdom he brings.
One in which weakness is strength
and authority is not wielded through power and dominance
but through service, humility and vulnerability.
What a challenge for us
to live reflecting his topsy-turvey Kingdom
in our world today
a world that so elevates strength and independence.
How can you choose to imitate him this Christmas?
How can we make room for Him?
And how can we make room for the vulnerable among us, through whom He comes to us today?
Image: Holy Family by Kelly Latimore

Unnoticed beauty patiently waiting



A walk with deliberate attentiveness….

Twisted sillouettes against the blue.
Two creeper branches reaching for the sky,
tendrils finding each other in mid air.
Butterflies flitting between the grasses,
some autumny orange and some bright white.
Surprising strong waft of sweet wild jasmine,
hidden in the undergrowth.
The soft feel of a furry leaf,
like a mouses back.
The spikey rough touch of bark.
So many different bird sounds,
once I tune in,
chirps, chattering, squawks,
some low and regular
and some a high melody on top,
every so often catching a glimpse of their source.
Round droplets of dew on leaves, sparkling with light, swiftly disappearing.
Amber beads of sap
hanging from split rough bark,
attracting busy lines of ants.
The liquid gold smells sweet, strong and medicinal.

Simply switching senses on
and slowing down.
Attentiveness with great rewards.
Beauty that goes unnoticed is still beauty,
quietly waiting to feed our souls when seen.

Holding Safe


I come to you
holding my truth,
my emotions,
my heart.
Holding them
with kindness and compassion,
without judgement,
not squashing them in shame.
Even the emotions
that seem ugly,
even those I wish weren’t there.

As I bring them to you
I allow you to hold me,
to meet me
in the place of my honesty,
to listen to me
with care and gentleness.

I don’t want to (or need to)
stay in these emotions for ever,
they are not my whole truth.
But for now,
they need to be heard
and held with kindness,
as you hold me
in my honest truth.


Clay sculpture and poem by Hilary Murdoch 2018 

Words of encouragement change lives


Wow this is just incredible.

I know I shed a tear easily but I shed one with this… the beauty and power of love and encouragement spoken even to a stranger, just so beautiful. More of this in the world please.

Let’s not just leave it to this lady. Who could you write an encouraging note to?

A Blessing and Reflection for This Time of Year


I came across this beautiful blessing written by a friend of mine. It brought a few things to mind that I thought I’d share as some starting points for reflection. You may want to use this to look back and look forward in this time between Christmas and New Year, or if you find a moment in January to sit down with a journal. Maybe you could even take a day out for a retreat?

A Blessing

May all that has got lost in you, be found again
May your path be lit by stars as you renew your journey tonight
May the voices you hear echo the love of the angels (‘do not be afraid’) and may your words to yourself be ever so gentle
May you receive the gifts you have sought but more importantly, may you be reminded of the gift you have been to many this year
May your life be observed with eyes of beauty by those who surround you
May you be strengthened with attentiveness as deep as Mary’s for her child
May you know that there is One who watches all your new births and all your growing.

May you be blessed this Christmas and may God’s shalom be within, around and above you through the new year.

By Philomène Luyindula Lasoen


  1. Do you feel anything got ‘lost‘ in you in 2017 that you’d like to regain in 2018? Talk to God about it and ask him for the strength and grace needed to make the decisions or changes you need to make, to find what’s been lost.
  2. Reflect on your journey through 2017. Maybe scribble the year as a path or road through the landscape of the highs and lows of the year – did the path go through a dark forest? – did you conquer a high peak? – did your path cross with the paths of others at significant points? (Don’t worry if you can’t draw, you don’t need to show anyone, just scribble!) Talk to God about what was good along the path, thank him. Talk to him about what was hard and ask him what his words of comfort and encouragement are into each situation. Where are you now on the path? – is there a fork in the path? – are you looking for signposts? – what signposts have you seen already? – what’s alongside the path at this point?
  3. As you look towards 2018, how do you want to ‘renew your journey‘? – What are your hopes and dreams for the year ahead? Talk to God about it, what does he want to say to you about the year ahead, what comes to mind as you are still? What is his invitation to you for this year? Is there a word or phrase that pops into your mind? Write it down.
  4. Think about the voices you hear in your head, how you speak to yourself – do you hear words of love/care or of shame and criticism? Could you speak to yourself more gently and lovingly? – taking the lead from how God speaks to you and thinks of you – with kindness?
  5. What are you fearful/nervous about for 2018? How would things change if you heard the echo of the angels, relaying God’s message to humankind ‘Do not be afraid’? Talk to God about your fears and let him speak to you about how he sees each situation. How would it feel if you knew you were facing each situation with Emmanuel (‘God with us’) alongside you?
  6. What gifts have you received in 2017? – acts of kindness, experiences? Who were the people who’ve been a gift to you in 2017? Can you write them a note to thank them? How have you been a gift to others in 2017? Are there any specific people you hope to be a ‘gift’ to in 2018? What would that involve?
  7. Who has observed your life with the eyes of beauty in 2017? Who has ‘really seen’ you and appreciated you for who you truly are? Have you seen people with the eyes of beauty? Is there anyone you’ve judged or dismissed? Can you ask God to help you to see them with new eyes, to see the beauty that he sees within them?
  8. Have you been attentive to the beauty and good in the world and others in 2017? What have you noticed? Have you been attentive to the brokenness of the world, the things that break God’s heart? What have you noticed? Can you choose to be more attentive in 2018? What will help you to do that? Ask God to give you eyes to see as he sees.
  9. How have you grown and changed in 2017? What have you learnt?
  10. What new birth and growth do you want to ask God for in 2018?