Fiona Monaghan

A God With Skin

In time gone by, God showed Himself

but people ran and cried

too scared to know He really cared

no matter how He tried.

Through prophets, teachers, leaders all

He tried to show His love;

but humans only learn by fear

and strike what they can’t trust.

Though close to them He wished to be

and awesome though He was

He couldn’t get quite close enough

He’d only scare us off.

He devised a plan to get in close,

a man, He would become;

Jesus He sent, to show the world

the Father’s only Son.

He lived with us, loved with us

He finally came to see

what made us just the way we were

the fears, the hopes the dreams.

Those things that drove us to be good,

those things that made us bad,

He knew we need to know God’s love

that piece He knew He had.

He was the sacrifice for us-

to God, He made the way

so we could come before Him now

and not be scared away.

This love exchanged, God to man

that man could come to God

through Jesus, He the way prepared

it was all done out of love.

~Fiona Monaghan

Surprise Visits


What hinders me from hearing is that I am taking up with other things. It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place. Oswald Chambers

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!  1 Chronicles 16:11

Setting my heart on what He wants, thinking His thoughts… it is at those times that He will appear and make himself known to me.

How does He do this? I would like to think it is at those times when reading something in the Bible that just jumps out at me and an ‘ah ha’ thing happens. Or when a compliment or comment is made regarding something I have been praying about and it is confirmation that I am on the right track. A sermon or lesson that really zeroes in to a specific area of my life. The opportunity presented to step up and help someone without prompting, just knowing it is what He would have me do - just because…Being at a place of peace and contentment no matter what the circumstances and knowing that they are all under God’s control and not mine to manipulate. I am finding that ‘sweet spot’ more and more in my life. That place where things are good, not because of the surrounding circumstances but in the place I am standing, next to Christ and trusting in Him with childlike trust and expectation.

Father, thank you for your promise that, when I seek You, You will draw near to me; for the desire to grow more like your Son in attitude and thinking so that my mind is looking farther ahead than to the immediate. “Trusting that all things will be made right as I surrender to your will”. Trusting you for my family because I have put them into your hands…


The End, Or New Beginning?


To come to the end of oneself and to realize that there is nothing left to hang onto.The ‘willfulness’ that got me this far, has run out. Circumstances have pushed me to a place up against a wall; the very place of miracle and rebirth. To know that all my running and planning is at an end. To turn my heart, mind and will over to the care of my Father who has been waiting patiently for me to reach the end of myself.

We saw it in the lives of Peter and Paul and others who finally ‘got it’ no more running or working off one’s own agenda. To be truly God’s person you have to come to the end of yourself.

Oswald Chambers addressed it so well…

“All our promises and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to accomplish them. When we come to the end of ourselves, not just mentally but completely, we are able to receive the Holy Spirit. The idea is that of invasion…”

There is now only one who directs the course of my life. Now that I am finally in that place I never want to leave it. My direction, purpose and will are centered outside of myself and upon Jesus and what He would have me do.

When I look back to the places of worry, fear, angst, planning and coercion that I lived in, I marvel at how He has brought me out of it and to this place of acceptance. Not an easy road to be sure, but one that step by step and doing the next right thing brought me to this place.

I thank You my Father for the miracle of coming to the end of myself and finding You there waiting to hear those words that only I can say “whatever it takes.” You put me on a better path from that moment on. You are dependable, trustworthy and true to all that You have promised. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Be with all those I love and use their circumstances to bring them to the end of themselves and to the place where they will find You there waiting. That is the greatest miracle in anyone’s life that we could ask for. Be with us all in this year with its changes, pain, problems, angst and also joy. Help us to share with each other Your faithfulness in all our circumstances so that others come to the place of relinquishment and total trust in You.  Amen.


When The Illusion Is Gone


Disillusionment, it happens to us all. It is that place from which one could build a stronger belief system by examining what it is we truly want to depend upon when things get tough.

This could be viewed as a ‘crisis of faith’ and could have been a slippery slope heading to disbelief.  I chose to see it as a place to re evaluate, dig in, hold on, and do some checking into what I believed truly. Or find out if it was a belief system belonging to someone else that I had acquired.

It was there that I truly found out who God was, who Jesus was and what job the Holy Spirit had to do in my life.

I read books from authors who had dealt with similar situations. People who had questioned what they were being told when it didn’t conform to their expectations, and who had also gone on a faith search.

Philip Yancey was a man raised in the 70’s in southern Baptist churches who had a head on collision with the thinking of the black and white issue. C.S. Lewis came from an atheist background and found his way to faith. I was in good company. 

My dilemma had to do with what the ‘church’s view was toward people in crisis: People in addiction - people of divorce. I had been raised in a church and a way of thinking that if you prayed hard enough, hung in there long enough, you could overcome all manner of things. But what if the person in the marriage kept up the abuse knowing the partner wouldn’t leave?  What I saw instead were families torn by abuse, pain, and violence that was being tolerated because to divorce was ‘unchristian’. It put me at odds with my church family because that was me. I knew in my heart that God was more forgiving and tolerant than the ideas I was hearing. I pulled away from church, but kept my faith in God. For 10 years I lived alienated from a body of believers, until the day when I found out about Washington Cathedral.

Many changes had occurred in my life in those 10 years. I now had a grand-daughter from a teenage daughter which has been one of the best things that could have happened to our family. Through that, my daughter found her path, embraced motherhood and raised a fantastic daughter. I had remarried and found a loving man but one who came with some brokenness of his own. Washington Cathedral was a body of believers who had a big, collective heart. They accepted people who came broken, hurting, questioning and loved us. I have never regretted the day we walked into the sanctuary, looked at the waterfall and felt “at home” and in the resulting 12 years it continues.

This series we just finished on ‘Disillusionment’ has caused me to look back over my journey and see just how healthy it is to ask these questions and have the discussion. We each have a journey to take, it is so much easier to know we are on it with fellow travelers who can appreciate what we are going through without criticism, but with the understanding that life gets messy and that when it gets really tough, God is there loving us and waiting for us to ask for help. It also helps to have people to talk to who give good counsel from personal experience. I believe that makes for a healthy church. One that recognizes our human frailties offers the solutions and supports that one while time is taken to get to that place of acceptance. 


Can God Be Depended On?

When one has been seeking God’s will and direction in their life and over time He has shown Himself to be lovingly gentle and compassionate, then one finds that all plans and decisions involve Him on the basic levels. We are in His will and we can trust that if an adjustment to a plan needs to be made, He will show us how and where.

It is the same as in our human relationships, when communication and trust is built up over time. We know without checking with a friend or spouse, what their thoughts on a particular subject would be, because we are thinking like them more and more and we “know where they are coming from”.

God reveals Himself in much the same way when we seek Him daily.

By spending time in quietness, following a devotional that challenges one to ‘get real’ and think deeper, it is amazing to find that the God of the Universe would meet with us to teach, guide and encourage. It is His desire!  When our desire is to primarily get to know God better, He reveals Himself to us by providing what we desire, and we get to know Him better. He then provides what we desire and we get to know Him better, and on it goes…

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desire of your heart

Somewhere in my growing up I had retained the image of God as one who would take something from me if, I wanted it badly. It had crept into my spiritual life also. Over the years I’ve re-evaluated and learned through difficulty, that true trust would have allowed me to see God as one who might benevolently withhold or take something out of my life for my own good. Looking back, I see how many detours might have been avoided. Today, I know beyond shadow of doubt that He cares about every detail of my life, my plans, my health and especially my family.  He can be trusted with it all. He loves them more than I do and will move heaven and earth to give them the opportunity to trust Him too.

Thank you Father for all this peace and calm you bring to me, in knowing you have all my cares and concerns under control.

Fiona Monaghan

God's Wardrobe


By Fiona Monaghan

12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.   Colossians 3: 12-14 The Message

I was never one to get caught up on “what is in” fashion-wise; I have always preferred comfort over fashion (even better if on sale). As I read Colossians 3:12-14 it struck me, could being dressed in God’s wardrobe be comfort over fashion as well?

The world has its fashion; its own way to live and we only have to look at our social media to see it. “Don’t be a pushover, get back at someone who has wronged you, don’t be a doormat. etc...” To actively want to be clothed with God’s wardrobe might then be viewed as a challenge because you could be viewed as a wimp or a pushover.

I7629be0970668aff2bf624ad76a20a63 have lived long enough to know that I am much happier and at peace with trying to live dressed in God’s wardrobe of compassion, kindness, and being teachable with a quiet strength. I have observed people I admire live with these traits. I have seen kindness begat kindness, gentle words turn an argument around so that a resolve can be reached. Parents telling a child they are sorry for an inappropriate response, and the child learns that an adult can be real and approachable. It takes a willingness to don these clothes and live in this reality.

The best part though, is we have a God who gives us the power to do so. Our part is in wanting it and being willing to live in it. Over time and with lots of opportunity to practice, we will find out that this wardrobe is actually very comfy and easy to wear, and much ‘easier on the eye’ for those we live with.

Father, as I go through each day with its different challenges, help me to remember to put on the garments that please you and those around me, so that I show in my behavior, the allegiance I have to You and what you are doing in my life.

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Stone or Jewel

By Fiona Monaghan If I were an oyster what I was growing would have been quite valuable, but since humans aren’t supposed to grow stones it was just a problem.

It started with pain under my right rib which I knew wasn’t a good thing and some accompanying discomfort, cold sweats and nausea. I took myself to the ER Sunday morning and it was there that I experienced the reality of the verse: Know him in all your paths, and he will keep your ways straight. Proverbs 3:6 (Common English Bible)

Ultrasound and CT scan then discovered a 10mm stone just outside of my right kidney (too big to be allowed to pass through on its own) at about 10am. After speaking to the on call doctor for Urology, it was decided that the procedure room was available right then to laser blast the stone his team was assembled, having just done a similar procedure, so I was transported quickly to Evergreen and in surgery by 2pm. Not long after that I was back in my room. Overall, it was a very smooth path.

tumblr_mgr5eeyRFs1r1o6z3o1_500On the way to Evergreen the ambulance attendant asked me if I was nervous or anxious and I could tell her honestly that I wasn’t worried. It was a great feeling to know that I have entrusted my life to the one who goes before me and promises to make my path straight. In this situation, I found that even when unexpected things happen in life, the reality is that I can trust my Father to have gone before me and prepared the way because He said He would. What an exciting truth to experience firsthand!

So even though there was no ‘precious pearl’ in this adventure, I did come away with a jewel in the form of a better understanding of the peace that passes understanding when going through a difficulty; and another layer of trust-building that what God says in His Word can be relied upon.

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Come stand beneath my wings


Written by Fiona Monaghan

This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning.            Psalm 91:2-6

hen-chicks-wings-swindle“Come to me” I hear You say, “come stand beneath my wings the storms of life may come your way but I’m with you whatever it brings.

I will protect and cover you in times of pain or fear. You are my precious little child, I long to hold you near.

But trust you must, and put yourself, into my loving care it is your choice to come to me I will not force you there.

And when the storm has passed along you’ll find my love is true I stood and bore the storm for you and my wings, they covered you.”

A hen when she senses danger will stand with her wings raised up and her chicks have to run to her for protection, she won’t chase after them. She stands still and they then run under her wings for the protection that they need. That was my inspiration for this poem.

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A Rod, Staff and Oil…


Written by Fiona Monaghan A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Philip Keller was an eye opener for me. Many of us know the Psalm that starts “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…” and there are references made throughout the Psalm to physical things like rod, staff and oil. Mr. Keller explains how a shepherd would actually use these tools in his vocation and what it means to us.

The Rod was a weapon made from a sapling specially chosen and whittled down to suit the shepherd. The root was used and shaped to fit the shepherd hand. He would use this in a couple of ways. If a sheep was wandering off, as they are prone to do, he would throw down the rod to startle the sheep back to the group. It was used to check the condition of the fleece. Checking the skin by parting the fleece with the rod looking for sores, ticks etc. It was the ultimate protection tool used as a deterrent for predators and beating the bush for snakes etc.

Shepherd's StaffWhereas the rod was protection, the Staff was considered a tool of help or compassion; not for defense, but for rescue. If a newborn lamb got separated from its mother, the shepherd would use the staff to lift it back into proximity of the mother and not put his human scent on it. If he needed to draw an animal back into the fold he could reach out and pull them closer; used to rescue a wayward animal if it got caught in thickets or brambles. Also a means of support for him to lean on and assist his walking and used for guiding sheep on a new path.

The Oil referenced was a healer. It was put on sores or scrapes to prevent infection. Flies would bother the sheep and want to lay eggs in their nose, so the shepherd would put a coating of oil mixture to prevent this. A distraught sheep having to deal with these flies would disrupt a flock so it was very important to treat them by anointing with oil.

It was no mistake that we as a people were referenced as ‘sheep’ and Jesus our Shepherd. Sheep are not the smartest of animals. They tend to follow rather than lead. They are totally defenseless in the proximity of an enemy so need a Shepherd to protect them.

How often have we needed the Oil of healing in His words at a difficult time, or the Rod of correction if we are heading off in a wrong direction or the Staff of comfort when needing to know we are not alone.

Read Psalm 23 with the meanings of these words made clearer. See how this might be useful in your own life.

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Who poked the bear?


Written by Fiona Monaghan Self Control QuoteWe like to think we have all kinds of self control, but what happens when someone ‘pokes the bear’ or ‘pushes your buttons’? That is when we find out just how much self-control we really have. Now we have come to the last of the nine fruit of the spirit and this one is probably the toughest one to live with or without.

The only way to develop self control is to continually work at it. When stress or temptation comes into our lives and we can remember to take a moment before responding. Trying to ‘count to 10’ or take a deep breath, will give us a better chance of not doing or saying something we will have to fix later.

Choosing a correct response to things that come at us in life requires taking time to sort through and determine an appropriate response. Many of us don’t do that. We have that “quick trigger finger.”

self-control-1The good thing about this is that we can ask for help. God does provide the power behind the doing. We just have to be willing to ask for the help.

Then, of course, we have to put into action self-control when opportunity is presented. To stop and think, to weigh the outcomes of a certain response and the more we can practice the more it should become easier…

This week pay attention to those times you are called on to exercise self-control: in traffic, with children or spouse, with co- workers. Be willing to ask God for help in becoming better self-controlled.

Photo credit: Never & Proverbs