Friday, 29 May 2015
Here in the UK we seem to have an endless fascination with the weather.
Which way is the wind blowing? Will or won't it rain?
Do I need a brolly? Better carry one just in case.
It's a great conversation opener and very much the topic du jour.
On a day when we've had sheeting rain, clear blue skies and everything in-between it feels apt to be writing on the topic of 'Blue' for today's Five Minute Friday exercise.
Life is threaded through with colour and hues that offer our eyes a different view.
There are so many days that shade neutral pale, indistinct amidst the gloom.
Interminable as sheeting rain cascading down our windowpane.
I find myself blazing angry-red, firing hot with searing heat and temper rays
or surging strong into orange with surprising energy on better M.E days.
Many are spent in a dark, black tent of pain or grey-fog
swirls of cognitive loss and discouragement.
The days I lean toward, the ones I prefer above all other are the royal purple patterned,
the sunny yellows and the glades of green, the calm of blue seen in heaven's canopy.
Blue is a bold rise of turquoise, a soft scene of aquamarine, a steal
of teal, a crisp, bright bolt of cobalt or a mellow azure light.
Blue means rest, coming apart to be a part of the calm of God's heart.
Blue means sweet soul-ease, still pools of peace to dip fretful toes into.
Blue signals less stress, less worry and hurry, expansive skies and less heart-sad cries.
Blue is contentment of warm sunny spells and a daily cloud-gift of God saying all is well.
Blue is indigo deep, mystical and magical as night softly creeps.
I won't let myself sink into 'the blues' today but appreciate
the nuances at play in the varied hues as they come my way.
Well that was fun! It's good to write something less deep for a change.
Do stop by at Kate's place and check out the what other writers have to say about 'blue'. Who knows, you may be tempted to join in too.
Sunday, 24 May 2015
In the heat of life's battles it's easy to become burnt, hurt,
scorched by circumstances, flayed, distraught.
We all need resources beyond ourselves.
We need the Source of life Himself.
In the darkness and the fray,
we need One to show us The Way.
Bring comfort and calm,
oil of joy and Gilead's balm.
Bring beauty out of ashes
as we sit in the embers.
Equip and enliven.
Breathe life from within.
Change and healing.
Grace all revealing.
Support, encouragement, help and hope.
A rescuer when we're dangling on rope.
And He's here.... Jesus, Saviour, Immanuel.. God with us.
Living within by His Spirit.
Celebrated at Pentecost.
So let's draw near with a petitionary prayer:
You are fuel, flame and fire
Ignite our weary hearts
Encourage us to come up higher
as You refuel and inspire
our lives in every part
Where higher means a lessening
of ourselves and life's busyness
combined with deeper faith,
hope, confidence and rest
Be the wind beneath our wings
Be the heat of our desire
Be the One who makes us sing
Be the flame of burning love
Be our rest and be our peace
Be our covering from above
Be our soul's deepest ease
Be Lion of Judah in our fight
Be Lamb of God to calm our fears
Be strength, all power and might
Be all we need throughout our years
I'm joining Barbie and friends at the Weekend Brew today. Come and join us?
Regular readers may wonder at the poetic offering featured here instead of at 'Poetry Joy' as usual.
Strangely, I seem to think better in poetry than prose when I'm extra tired, so here we are. Hopefully, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!
Sunday, 17 May 2015
In a world driven by acquisition and success, the idea of less can seem countercultural.
How can less be more? Isn't outward show a sign of inward achievement too?
Maybe, or maybe not. Our souls may desire signs of 'success' but those outward signs don't necessarily reveal true fulfilment or our state before the Lord.
Because our inner life tends to thrive on Being More as we rest in God, and stressing less about Doing More in order to be seen, lauded and applauded.
A pared down life can lead to rich abundance.
When we press pause on busyness (physical and/or mental), we create more space for God to fill with His presence.
When we step away from noise, embrace solitude and stillness for a while, there is more room to listen to God's voice.
In this season I'm in of pulling back from many good things in order to focus on God's best for me, I've seen how easy it is to feel isolated, lost and lonely from less social engagement.
It's sadly apparent how much my soul still craves recognition, validation of my existence and reward for my labours.
Our souls feed on approval and feel starved of attention if left out of life's flow for too long.
Early life conditioned me to seek those things at the expense of my health and sanity.
When mental health breakdown caused me to lose all sense of self, to feel splintered and fractured beyond recognition - if not beyond repair - then those deep, unsatisfied-by-the-world needs became overwhelming.
They remained that way for many years, even though I was unaware of it.
So I'm a slow learner in being still, being less visible to the world in order to be more visible to God.
These last few months have been really challenging health-wise and soul-wise, but they have also been rich with deeper meaning and understanding.
Less social media engagement and interaction has meant:
- More time in prayer
- More receptivity to God's voice
- More freedom to explore other areas of creativity
- More awareness of who I am In Christ
- More contemplation and listening
- More seeing with spiritual lenses than worldly ones
- More growth in dark places
- More empathy for all who struggle
- More time for family and friends
- More discernment to make wiser choices
- More peace and inner calm
- More rest inwardly and outwardly
- Less susceptibility to stress
- Less striving
- Less worrying in general
- Less concern about being being seen and heard
- Less agitation in being still and quiet
- Less attachment to things and possessions
It's possible you may want to pursue a more minimalistic lifestyle as Joshua Becker speaks about here. Living with less can have knock-on spiritual benefits too.
Although I've slowed down in many ways, I'm still being inspired, still writing and sharing my words as God indicates, still trying to encourage others on the pathway of writing, life and faith.
Inspiration can be inexplicable, can't it? Words sing into our ears from various sources.
When I read more of those things which feed my soul rather than what is clamouring to be heard, then I sense God guiding and speaking to me as I receive more deeply.
Those words dance in my soul, resonate in my spirit, fire my imagination and inspire my thinking. Maybe you can relate?
Because when we sit with silence it speaks volumes, ushers us deeper into God's presence and prepares our hearts to receive from Him.
And that's a place of greater peace, openness and availability from which we can go out more willing and able to serve the needs of others.
Over to you:
Have you seen more fruit coming from doing less for a while?
What does 'Being More' look like for you?
Please feel free to share in the comments below. Your words matter.
Wednesday, 6 May 2015
As new life springs up all around, I am a bit ashamed to confess that our garden is a messy, tangled up space where weeds run rampant and grass is deep enough to hide things in.
But even this uncultivated space, which speaks loud of our slowness and incapacity, is a source of gratitude and deepening awareness.
As I move more into contemplative mood more during these soul-warming Spring days, I'm developing a greater need to see the sacred in the secular.
I want to awaken to wonder and deeper awareness of God's goodness and grace all around me.
He is manifest to those with eyes to see and ears to hear and reveals Himself in unexpected ways.
As I stepped out the back door recently I saw a blaze of golden sunny rays from tilting heads as dandelions raised their flag to the world.
Unashamedly brazen in their boldness. No apology for being 'less than' any other plant.
And I know deep down that weeds are as flowers, especially when a garden is bereft of those.
Weeds are a sign of life, vigour and vitality.
Weeds speak of thriving where we are planted, of survival against the odds.
Their tenacity and endurance are like faith markers in the soil of God's word.
Their perseverance shows grit and determination.
Their colour is as vivid as any true flower and the green reveal of them is sap and spark of life itself.
They bend to will of wind yet try to straighten tall against the fray of cooler, cloudburst days.
Seeing them move and sway reminds me how Holy Spirit speaks to my soul ~ sometimes soft and low like a soothing lullaby, or fierce and wild as reminder of God's searing love driving through His child's heart in the desire for me to learn and come up higher.
Seeing beauty in the everyday shapes my thoughts, words and poetry. The one below came from seeing a dancing poppy.
A lone dancing poppy
bends its head
to will of wind
Faded and jaded
it hangs limp
from its stem
Bravely hanging on
no matter where
the Spirit sends
Am I advocating we all let our gardens run wild? Embrace chaos, perhaps?
No, not really, even though there is often treasure to be found in seeing what comes up naturally.
What I want to emphasise is how we can feel like weeds - insignificant, on the margins, border and edge-dwellers in society.
Physical and mental health issues help to intensify those feelings, although they are common to all of us from time to time.
And standing alone, feeling lost, left out and isolated is uncomfortable and disturbing.
Friend, let me reassure you that you are not unseen, uncared for, unwanted or unknown.
I care deeply about all who enter this space, all who are part of its reading community. I pray for you and about you ~ yes, invisible as you may seem.
More significantly, God sees; He cares; He loves you beyond measure.
He wants to be your constant Companion and the Gardener of your soul all the days of your life.
You are already lovely in His eyes, special and unique, no matter whether you feel like a bedraggled weed or a beautiful bloomer.
Because God gives us all the resources we need to survive, thrive, endure, persevere and bloom where we are planted. He will enable you to grow strong and vital in Him.
Our part is to look to Him and ask for all the help we need each day as we are fed by His word and watered by Holy Spirit anointing and grace.
Friday, 1 May 2015
May sounds like a portent, a promise, potential and permission given.
There's a beckoning, an urging and an invitation. New life is burgeoning.
The question is:Are we listening, and how will we respond?
As we enter this new month I'm reflecting on some timely words God gave me last night:
"Resist revisiting the past or feeling fearful about the future. All you have is Now. This moment matters.
There is grace for today; you cannot borrow from tomorrow. Rest secure in sensing My Presence at work right where you are"
These shape my response to the word 'door' for today's foray into five-minute-friday writing.
Change alarms me, even as I crave alteration in my circumstances.
Somehow, a deep sense of loss hovers close and a sentimental clinging tight leaves me with closed hands and mind.
Just last week, I finally relinquished a seedy settee to make way for a supportive, comfy chair (with built-in massage facility, no less), and it was a big deal for me.
It was bought on-line, unseen, untested, untried, and still hasn't arrived... gulp!
The new chair will (hopefully!) bring some needful pain relief and yet.. I was so used to the old and I felt sad to lose it.
Memories were written into every sinking crease and sag.
I'm reluctant to let go, although I have to. Life moves in circles and cycles.
Without the letting go we are not free to embrace the new, next and better thing God has planned.
A door of opportunity stands open, always ajar, an invitation of grace.
And yet.. sometimes we cower with fear at the challenge it presents.
Maybe God is asking us to make room, make way for Him today ~ in life, in thought and heart.
Because He continually knocks at the door of our heart with wildly unceasing patience.
Waiting to be allowed in. Seeking to invade each space.
He alone knows what lies ahead and how He desires to bless us with His best.
He alone sees the end from the beginning, gives new birth, new life, new hope.
Will you join me, friends?
Will you say yes to Him today?
Open that door a crack and see His love flood in.
Be washed by waves of grace and mercy.
Because living with open mind, hands and heart is the best way for us, no matter how painful it can often be to open the door to the new.