Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Travelling closer to home

Of all the journeys we make, none take so long nor have such a lasting effect on our lives as our journey of life and faith.

And within that journey, one of the hardest routes is this ~ the one God's word needs to negotiate to have its fullest impact ~ the distance between our head and our heart.

A mere 12 inches or so can feel like many miles of weary trudging with no respite or end in sight. We believe but we somehow fail to receive.

We long for instant inspiration, restoration and change, only God takes His time with us.

His best and deepest work cannot be rushed. We are continual works in progress, slowly being sanctified day by day from one degree of glory to another.

For change to be lasting and effective, we need a revelation on who we are in Christ and how that impacts everything else. 

Every step we take. Every relationship we make. Every mistake we hesitate over. Every word we utter, every desire to be seen, heard or to take cover.

It has taken me many years to grasp the fundamentals of this alone. I'm a slow learner.

I've travelled a path of guilt and shame, worn it into dirt and ashes, lost myself in its greyness, choked on the dust of it.

Become unravelled as it spooled out before me in torn and tangled threads.

Failed to see how beauty could come out of ashes, joy out of despair, hope from helplessness. 

But God.. is teaching me to see myself whole, healed and restored in Him. 

As wounded ones with broken wings we feel tethered to earth.

Weighed down and set aside.

Until God gently lifts us up and sets us free to fly again.

His current of grace and mercy revives and refreshes all who are weary and wounded.

We are enabled to fly free and whole within the very air He breathes.

And to discover holy ground is also here; for in the things of earth, in the mud of the mundane and soil of the secular His Presence still surrounds us.

Though shame and guilt seek to pull us back to grubbing in dirt and ashes if we let them, they have no lasting hold over us.

Because as long as we learn to accept His forgiveness, and forgive ourselves as well, there is nothing stopping us from travelling light, flying free and soaring high. 

Every journey we take eventually leads us back to the Father's arms, back to His loving embrace.

We are returning to the place where we came from and will always belong ~ the place of completeness, goodness, forgiveness, love, acceptance and grace.

Our heavenly home made manifest in God's kingdom on earth, where its roots dig deep into our souls, with its fullness to come in eternity.

And this home may be the last place we think to look as we make our restless travels and travails of the soul as prodigal sojourners here.

But it is the only place where we can be truly free to be ourselves as God intended us to be, and fully, unconditionally loved just as we are.

Emily Wierenga, (who I have quoted from above) finally found herself flying free after her many journeys away in body, mind and spirit eventually led her to a place of grace and healing. 

She writes vividly about the process in her inspiring book, 'Atlas Girl' (You can click here to check it out and see my review) and discover more about her journey of life and faith on her beautiful blog. 

This post has been inspired by reading her candid and moving memoir. I encourage you to read it too and find inspiration for your own journey of life and faith.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Tasting normality

Today, I pick and eat fresh home-grown strawberries, collect a few dwarf green beans, dig nails into soil, bend knees, stoop low to ground to tug dead leaves off living green.

And despite the debilitating stiffness and pain pervading my body as it resists these exertions, it feels right and good to be alive, sitting close to earth with its juice running down my chin. 

Lounging in the garden, book propped open, birds chirruping and insects buzzing. Senses alert to loveliness surrounding me, scents assailing with their sweet freshness.

I breathe deep and easy, relaxed in sun's inviting warmth, a soft breeze playing with my hair, no worries, no cares.

Noises sound from afar as children raise voices and adults admonish and comfort in turn.

Resting, yet strangely more alive and alert inside than I've felt for a long while, it seems like holy ground as I touch base, touch reality, touch the healing hem of His garment spread to ground, and revel in sights and sounds to soothe the soul. 

Lift my eyes, tilt face and enjoy a gift of grace.

Here is normality I crave with all the yearning of an addict desperate for their next fix. An afternoon where I am well enough to spend a few minutes outside and pretend that this is what I usually do, when the reality is very different.

Much of my life is lived behind closed doors, housebound, confined and constrained, circumscribed with pain.

In listening to my life there is a continual background refrain, a hissed whisper of pressure to perform, to be as 'busy' as continual low energy and profound fatigue will allow, to be 'out there', to be seen and heard.

People approval issues still haunt my days with all their persuasive ways, but I am resisting it all....for now.

I'm just too exhausted to expend precious energy in that direction. Too weary to worry and so much in need of a rest that I can resist the call to action.

My mind is on a break from listening to those messages and it's taking a vacation to soak in grace, become revived and restored by God's peace, listen more deeply to His voice.

There is an increased desire in hot, sultry weather to seek leisure and a change from the norm. Our bodies and souls crave it and we desperately need a slowing down of pace.

Normality is subjective and will vary greatly for each one of us, depending on age, occupation, situation, health and routine.

Now, as I come to the end of my break I am seeing a shift change.

My new normality is starting to shape itself like this:
  • Making a gradual return to social media/blogging and resisting the lure of joining in everything all at once.
  • Viewing daytime rest/naps/sleep as sacrosanct, a vital and healing necessity rather than a waste of precious time.
  • Pacing, pacing and more pacing, because boring as it is it's preferable to the 'rush/crash/burn/collapse' cycle I was in before.
  • Saving valuable energy and 'spoons' to spend on engaging with family, friends and the outside world.
  • Seeking more sacred pauses and spiritual whitespace in the everyday.
  • Having a weekly social media sabbatical/fast in order to unplug from the virtual and touch base more with the actual.
  • Praying continually so that conversation with God becomes as natural as breathing.
  • Listening more attentively to my body, my life, Holy Spirit's voice.
  • Delving deeper into God's word, good books and uplifting music to soothe my soul.

I hope some of this has struck a chord with you too.

Maybe God is calling you to press pause on the busyness that swamps you?

Maybe it's time to re-evaluate how your precious time is spent?

Maybe our heavenly Father simply yearns for you to lavish attention on Him or to be more available for Him to pour out His Presence on you?

Maybe this is an opportunity to celebrate how God pre-approves of you just as you are, with no worries over performance or people-pleasing? 

This summer may be just the right time to rest, reach out, touch His greater reality and taste how sweet it is. 


I would love to hear from you, so feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. 

And I could really do with an 'accountability partner' or two to keep me on the new straight and narrow. Any offers? All gratefully accepted!

**Note** ~ It's great to be back to blogging, but I apologise for the rather bitty nature of this post. It was written in snippets as energy and inspiration allowed.Thank you for your grace.. :)

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Diving into the depths

These are days where I no longer want to skim the surface but go deep.

Dive into the depths with God. Dig in and seek treasure.

Give up splashing in shallow waters. Or making waves.

Rather, I aim to sink restful into His presence, float easy in His river of grace.

For too long now I have trod a pathway through thorny bushes, stepped painful on stones.

Kicked dust and sand in the wilderness, wandering aimlessly down weary pathways.

And now? I am dry as dust. Bone-tired. Run ragged.

Now I sense an urge to rise and heed the song of freedom as Holy Spirit's voice whispers on the wind.

Be in a place of rest and refreshment.

Wait a while. Sit by still waters and allow myself to drink deep.

Relax and let go the daily grind.

Life has a way of making us stressed out, depressed and worn out.

It is time to break loose. Ease away from daily cares.

Go where we sense God is leading us. A place of rest, renewal and refreshment for thirsty souls.

In order to remain fruitful we need to abide in The Vine.

I've discovered I am thirstier than I knew. Wearier than I want to be. Hungry for His Presence.

It's time to withdraw for a while in order to be replenished.

Not to packs bags and head off on a journey. That's all too exhausting by far.

This is a rest for the spirit, a recuperation, a period of 'being' more than doing, a leaning into listening to God and listening to my life.

What prompted it?

Well, general health/life challenges and prolonged fatigue have played their part, plus I've been greatly inspired by reading a post by Margaret Feinberg where she shares why she is logging off and shutting down for a week from blogging, Twitter and Facebook.

My heart leaped in recognition as I read it. I Need This! A sacred space to hear sacred echoes. A six month review of how well (or otherwise) my #oneword365 ~'listen'(ing) to God and to my life is going for me.

Would you like to join in? Do head over to Margaret's place to see what's involved. 

Maybe it's just what the Chief Physician of your soul has ordered for you too.

Then we'll meet up again on July 7th (or beyond as I'm joining in a bit late) and discover how God has met with us in the quiet places and spaces of our days.

Maybe the sound of silence will be the sweetest sound we know, where much is heard of lasting eternal value.

I hope so.

Until we meet again:

May you be blessed by a greater awareness of what God is saying to you, a greater desire to follow His still, small voice and an increased ability to know when to switch off and unplug for your sanity's sake.

Blessings and love,
Joy :) xx