Monday, 29 September 2014

Doing it afraid

Fear is not my friend. I don't normally go seeking out trouble or looking to be brave.

As one who spent far too many years afraid of my own shadow and afraid of the grown-up world impinging itself too soon on body and mind, life is not an adrenaline-fuelled ride of adventure.

Courage has many faces and not all of them are obvious. They don't all shout their name.

Sometimes its the quiet ones going about their daily challenges and struggles with quavering hearts and wavering faith who are the brave people in God's eyes.

He sees into hearts and minds and knows how many are living lives of such quiet desperation where getting out of bed in the morning requires enormous effort of will, (and/or reserves from Him) before they dare place foot to floor and face another day.

Life is a battlefield and we overcome it first in our minds.

I'm not a natural risk taker. There have been enough battles in my life without looking for them.

But sometimes a clarion call sounds and we know that God is trying to urge us out of our comfort zones.

This is time to take action. The rewards will outweigh the demands being made on us.

No more cringing in corners. Suit up and get ready.

One person's challenge may be another's walk in the park but it loses none of its edginess for the one overcoming obstacles to achieve it.

I sense a call to surrender my pen, lay down my own writing goals and allow God to speak to me on a daily basis.. then write what I hear.

This is something I'm fairly familiar with on a regular basis. It's part and parcel of being a Christian poet and writer.

Only... daily, did you say? Gulp!! Yes... 31 days of listening and writing brave and free.

Relying totally on Holy Spirit inspiration, anointing and equipping for 31 days, though not necessarily consecutively.

The original yearly #31days writing challenge began over at the Nester's place. You can read the details here. 

To make matters manageable there are daily 5 minute writing prompts being offered over at Kate Montaung's place, rather like a continual Five Minute Friday exercise.

And Twitter already has daily poetic prompts to help stir the creative juices.

So far, so well and good. I love word prompt challenges and I love writing.

If my health was equally reliable then we'd be laughing, wouldn't we?

But that is far from the truth. I have had to cut back, withdraw and recover energy recently when life's busyness leached all my available strength. 

And that happens on a regular basis. More often than I like it to.

As an M.E and chronic illness sufferer I know that no two days are exactly the same yet all have their pitfalls of pain, profound fatigue and weakness to one degree or another.

How do I commit to this task without compromising my already weakened health?

By faith. By trust. By believing that all things are possible in Christ because who He appoints He anoints and who He calls He qualifies.

Am I sure? Well, I didn't lay down a fleece, but it took 4 separate times of checking in with the Lord before I was totally convinced this was a call from Him rather than a work and desire of the flesh. 

So here I am, doing it afraid and doing it with faith, for the two co-exist sometimes.

And there is a catch to this..  after checking in with God this morning, He confirmed I need to spend 31 days listening intently to Him but only write and share as He dictates.

God also reminded me of words I'd penned over at 'Poetry Joy' a few days ago:

"I don't want to write
just because
it is what 
I usually do
or because
I want to have a say
These words should come
because You
have thoughts You desire
me to convey"

My reasons for taking part need to be in line with His will for me. In a sense, I need to eat my own words above.

There's to be no noisy fanfare, no lovely linking up, no seeking of people-approval, no beautiful button to flaunt, no anxiety over daily sharing, just opening my heart when He makes it clear it's right to do so.

Because this isn't really about me at all; it's all about the work God needs to do in and through me.

Some posts will appear here and others over at my sister site, Do take a look there too because small snippets more often come to me in poetry and 'Prayer Whispers' rather than prose.

I'd love you to join me for the journey as I take part informally (on an ad hoc basis) in my own slow way and timing. There is grace to participate and grace to 'fail' in others' eyes.

My fear stems from wondering if I can be fully attentive and listen well over this period of time, and if I can faithfully record the words I hear.

My failure would be to depend more on myself than I do on Holy Spirit's equipping.

And for those of you who pray, please send a prayer or two up for me, would you? Thank you!

I think this weary woman needs help to stay faithful and attentive in prayer, to listen, lean and learn all the lessons God wants to teach her.

Then I can share them over time and (hopefully) bless and encourage others in the process. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Now we are six(ty)

When I was six years old, I had a brush with death. It began with a clumsy careering into sharp wooden armchair corners that split my head open.

There was a rush, hurry and flurry to get this child to hospital and stem the flow.

The chair came off better than me. I still have the scars to prove it.

Then, in the somnolent heat of summer, I blithely stepped out from the side of an ice-cream van parked just across the road from my home, my mouth watering in anticipation of the cool treat now starting to melt slow in my hot little hand, and I paused..

I'd been schooled in the Green Cross Code of 'Look left, look right, look left again' and if all was clear it was safe to cross the road. This time, with other things on my mind, I neglected the final glance left.

A speeding car caught me on its bumper and tossed me into the gutter like a discarded rag doll. 

My father heard a squeal of brakes and crunch of tires that sang out louder than the motor-racing he was viewing on the TV. He had some premonition of danger, so he hurtled from his armchair and out of the house.

He found me scrunched and curled like a foetal-curved comma, motionless, lips blue, body still and bloodied. Feared I was dead.

With his heart in his mouth and tears in his eyes, he gently scooped me up and held me close. Someone else must have rung for an ambulance, because he held fast as its siren rent the air, while the silent passers-by watched the scene unfold.

Thankfully, the outcome was much better than anticipated. My ability to flop sack-heavy onto a lap with limbs loose may have caused a parent to grumble, but it was what saved me from greater injury.

I sustained concussion, hypoxia, and a bad case of 'gravel rash' caused by being scraped along the road, with skin shredded raw as grated cheese threads. These wounds would require frequent dressings over the months ahead, but that was all.

Miraculously, there were no broken bones either. 

I was lucky.. or was it luck? With the hindsight of years and further experiences I see it differently.

My sixth year was also when my grandma died. We were considered too young to go to the funeral, but I had a savour of grown-up grief and solemnity, cushioned by plenty of tea, sandwiches and sympathy. A foretaste of funerals to come.

And as I grew older, I discovered how brief candle-like this life can be. Realised how we have a gift of time and years to use wisely.

When I was six life felt timeless, days were long and there was much still to discover.

And it does indeed stretch into an endless, eternal future with God by virtue of faith in Christ and His gift of new life.

'Now we are six' by A.A Milne
"When I was one I had just begun
When I was two I was nearly new
When I was three I was hardly me
When I was four I was not much more
When I was five I was barely alive
Now I am six I am clever as clever;
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever"

Now, I am no longer the little six year old girl whose body fell carelessly into sharp corners, crumpled death-like on impact, and whose favourite dress got ruined one warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

Now, I am 60. Life has unfolded slow before my eyes yet with an alarming tendency to shorten as each year follows another. Who knew?

My limbs are stiff and ungainly from years of arthritis and M.E, unable to curl swift into a ball. These days I cannot run, hop, skip, jump or dance as I once did. Though my girl-child heart still longs to do so.

But I can sit and meditate. Reflect on how goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of this challenging life, even in the dark, hidden places where I thought I was alone.

My mind aware of the gift of new life Christ gave me when I was 17, and His hands extending through many a long year since as He pours out daily manna and grace for my soul. 

I can pray; I can read God's word, absorb its truth now lived out in experience.

I can write, bless and encourage others with the gift of words He gives me.

Have I become "clever as clever"? Probably not, though some see me as wise. But I think they simply see and hear the words of Jesus Himself as He speaks through me, sharing Friend to friend. 

As One who has companioned all my dying-living moments here and who will see me through to this world's end and into the beginning of the eternally new, Jesus has become everything to me.

And I see the years ahead (however long or short they may be) as further opportunity to get to know Him better, to love Him more and speak out His worth. 

One day soon I may write about the celebrations I have had, decide on a bucket/'Wish List' for the days to come, a year of yearnings, hopes and desires and dreams still dancing in my soul.

For now, I need a bit of time to think about being 60 and all it may mean to me, to be grateful for this gift of time, even as age and infirmity kicks brutal in my body.

Because I just might not have been so 'lucky' all those years ago... and these words may never have got written, nor this life lived out with my family and friends.

Neither would I have had all the experience of God's goodness and grace as the grown-up woman I am now. And that doesn't bear thinking about, somehow.

**How do you feel as you reflect back on your life? Can you see God's hand at work in everything? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.**

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Dying to live

Sap remains in the vine. Life signs are present. Colour and vitality depleted but not gone for good.

As I muse on the waning of plants and summer flowers, the colours of russet and gold midst green-leaved trees, I see myself mirrored in them.

I'm in an autumnal season. Time to let loose, let fall all that is withered and dead within me. 

Prepare for the loosing, shedding, pruning, the dying-back of Winter and its attendant frosts and chills before Spring comes again.

Time to embrace grace, make space for new life to spring up in the place of signs of death.

I'm a walking-wounded one, with a desire to die to those things that are no longer fruitful. And to take hold of all that nurtures, enlivens, and breathes fresh hope into my soul.

So what does it look like? Something like this..

Writing brave, bold and free, but only as God suggests and directs.

Listening with greater intent to His voice, His word, His plans and purposes, my life and body ~ and heed what they're all saying to me.

Dying to selfish ambition.  

Dying to people-approval.

Dying to perfectionism.

(Yes, I know, they will take some time to fade away, never mind die! )

Living to please God first and foremost.

Living in a way that reveals Jesus in me.

Living the best I can with all my flaws, human limitations and imperfections, while God is slowly transforming me from the inside out from one degree of glory to another.

Staying connected to The Vine.

Staying receptive to God's voice.

Staying open to the possibility of change beyond anything I dare to ask, think or imagine.

Trusting that I am enough because Jesus is enough and He lives in and through me.

Trusting that words will flow as they need to from a surrendered mind and heart.

Trusting God to work in and through the works of my hands and bless others in the process.

Letting go of yesterday so that I am ready for the Now and the Still to Come.

Letting these words speak for themselves, just as they are, no overly zealous editing.

Welcoming in a new season of the soul, warming myself in His gaze, being refreshed in His Presence.

And why do all this?

To quote contemplative monk, Bob Holmes in his insightful post, 'Putting the Spirit back into Spiritual Practice':

"We die to ourselves to make it possible to put our spirit first."

For, unless this frail flesh falls to the ground and dies to itself (its own selfish ambition, ways of understanding and living), we will have no seed to sow or harvest to come. It is only as we look to the Lord to give us light, sustenance and daily watering with His word that we begin to come alive on the inside.

Then, as new plants, we can grow tall and strong by His grace. Our leaning on and learning from Him are the means to a changed soul from the inside out.

Will you join me? I hope so. Companions are essential on this journey. Together we are stronger.

Let's keep offering up our lives as a sacrifice of praise to the One who gives us daily breath and grace Here, Now, Today, Always.

Instead of living to die, we could try dying to live ~ more fully and freely than we ever imagined in this life and beyond.

Linking here with Beth and other lovely writer friends for #threewordwednesday  as we seek to encourage you in your journey of life and faith.

You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Passing on the baton

If writing were a relay race then you could probably rely on me to fumble, drop the baton, fall over my shoelaces and grind to an undignified halt. Such is my lack of strength and agility on poor health days especially.

Thankfully, writing isn't a race for me, nor one I need only my own levels of fitness to equip me for the task. All energy, ability and inspiration is God-given and He alone equips, enables and sustains me.

There are also many wonderful companions on this journey who urge me on, cheer from the sidelines, encourage and support me prayerfully too.

I was greatly blessed recently by three writer friends profiling me on their sites as part of a general writer blog hop:

Dawn Paoletta has a tremendous zest for living and writing out her faith. She is an avid journal keeper, and not averse to speaking about the dark side of life either as she chronicles her spiritual journey with grace, authenticity and truth over at 'Enthusiastically, Dawn'

Heather Mertens is avidly all in for Jesus. She shares from her generous heart in the hope of encouraging others and bringing them together in community. Heather connects with me on many levels as she shares her trials and the miraculous overcoming of them by the grace of God. She writes out her heart at '40 Year Wanderer'. 

Rebekah Gilbert is another searching soul who is open about her doubts and fears. She is a beautiful singer/songwriter and one who lives into the answers even as questions about life and faith fill and flood her heart. You can find her sharing her vulnerable journey of spiritual awakening at  'A new song to sing'. 

Now it's my turn to hop in and answer these questions...

1) What am I writing or working on?

Over the years I have contributed poetry to various anthologies and a few months ago I sensed God suggesting I write my own (gulp!) and helpfully providing a title to work with, which shall remain secret for the time being. 

This poetry book will speak of my life and times as an M.E and chronic illness sufferer as well as exploring universal themes of life, love, loss and faith.

It is my dearest hope to self- publish it in the near future (God and health willing) and for proceeds to be given to a charity which is close to my heart.

Apart from this, I am also working on a devotional book which will feature some of the 'Prayer Whispers' God has spoken to me over the last few years.

Further on the back-burner is a memoir which is unfolding slowly as I add to it on a gradual basis.

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I believe the calling on my life, the way I share my journey as a Christian believer, writer/poet, M.E and chronic illness/childhood abuse sufferer is uniquely personal to me. My reflections, prayers, poetry and deep delving into dark areas of life are a composite mix of the way God has gifted and called me to write.

God takes all our experiences and personal stories and weaves His greater narrative from them. I'm one of many, yet also a single individual who shares her story in the way God encourages her to.

3) Why do I write what I do?

As a child who went through emotional and sexual abuse, had a dysfunctional family and was never encouraged in her creative endeavours, my writing was a cathartic, private activity and rarely shared with another. 

This creative light was hidden under a bushel for many years until my two sons began to make inroads into blogging, writing poetry, monologues, plays and novels (Sam) and blogging, writing bible studies, lay preaching and devotional work (Joe). Their encouragement and enthusiasm partly inspired me to 'go public' at last with my own work. 

I also sensed a strong call from God to share my reflections and life story by combining prose with poetry as I looked at life and faith issues. Then the poetry writing took off exponentially and seemed to be demanding a site all by itself. Thus, 'Poetry Joy' was born and expanded into shorter reflections and 'Prayer Whispers' as well. 

My main aim is to speak from the heart of all that God is doing in my life, share my walk of faith, encourage others who are going through health, life and faith challenges, and to leave a legacy of faith to pass on to future generations.

4) How does my writing process work?

My writing is fuelled by Holy Spirit inspiration, coffee and dark chocolate ~ in that order.

I have no study, desk, or scenic view, and very little energy or strength. Much of the process involves writing in pyjamas, sitting hunched over while fingers type slow and stiff on the keyboard. 

And it also looks something like this 'PLAY'  template:

Pray   ~ This is the foundation of all I do, an ongoing conversation with God. Many rich 'Prayer Whispers' have arisen from these times of surrendered intimacy and snatched moments. 

Listen  ~ to God's voice, my life, my body, and heed what they're all telling me. Pacing and resting are essential for me to have any energy to write at all.

Attend  ~ Being aware that God often speaks when I am resting (or frequently when using the bathroom) or otherwise disengaged mentally. Sometimes a few words rise to my consciousness, snatches of conversation, a snippet from a book or a film I'm watching. All provide a creative spark that may become a poem or blog post. So I always keep a notepad handy wherever I may be. It's impossible to guess when inspiration will strike!

Yield  ~ to God's will. Be obedient to what He is asking me to do. Sometimes taking a nap (or 3) is the most valuable and holy thing I can do in a day. It also means resting faith and confidence in His provision. It doesn't depend on my health or ability as much as a willingness to show up, hear His voice, write, and release.

Now I am delighted to pass the baton on to three dear writer friends who have not only been there for me emotionally and creatively but have also impacted and inspired my life and faith journey. I encourage you to check out their sites. 

Keren is a fellow M.E sufferer, contemplative Christian and deep thinker. I love her mystical side and openness to listen to the insightful words and images God shares with her. We support one another prayerfully and she has a generous heart to help others, especially those going through challenging circumstances. She describes herself thus:

"I’m a fairly quiet soul, beginner mystic and Christian contemplative. Soon after gaining my degree in  Literature I became ill and have suffered with M.E. ever since. After turning forty, I finally found my vocation in writing. The Lord is now leading me deeper into prayer and into his heart, and teaching me how to share the stories, “seeings,” understandings and theology that he graciously gives me.  I have a passion for the edification of women, church unity and the leading of people by quiet waters. I’m married with a stepson and a neurotic black and white cat."

You can connect with Keren at her prayerful, contemplative blog, 'Still Waters Ministries' or at her 'The Garden of God's Heart'  blog where she shares daily delight in creation and life around her. Keren's writer page can be found here at Facebook. 

James was one of the first writer friends in the social media/blogging sphere to offer not only a hand of friendship but also support, encouragement, practical suggestions, and prayer to me. He is a great friend to have on your side!

James writes about finding identity, divine hope, grace and encouragement in the messiness of an imperfect world. 

As a person challenged by life's circumstances, he writes with honesty about his own struggles, doubts and fears and the overcoming of them. He's not afraid to ask the hard questions, to say he doesn't have the answer or to debate painful issues.

You can find James writing at his blog,  'James Prescott', or you can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Bob is an encouraging friend and a man I admire as a person of great spiritual insight and depth. He reveals, shares and lives a contemplative Christian lifestyle and is the least likely person to sing his own praises.

His major purpose in writing is to encourage other believers to not settle for anything less than all that Jesus died to give them ~ namely a wonderful, warm, close love relationship with the Father.

As he says in a recent blog post: 

"My purpose is not to shock, but to wake up Believers to God. Mysticism is one of those knee jerk words we’ve rejected...Mysticism is when the incarnation of God invades our lives, however God reveals Himself. It’s beyond and bigger than we could ever imagine."
He shares his insights about spirituality that transforms at 'Contemplative Monk' and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.
If you have made it thus far then you deserve a medal or a (2nd?) coffee break at least. Thank you for reading this ramble about writing. Future posts will be more concise, I promise! I leave you with a quote that echoes my own feelings and desires about writing:

Friday, 22 August 2014

Grit and grace

Ageing well requires grit and grace.

Plenty of perseverance and endurance. 

It is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

A significant birthday looms large on the horizon. 

Yes, this blog is nearly two years old and its sister blog (Poetry Joy) is almost one, which is good reason to celebrate!

But it's their writer who is approaching a more important landmark.

A stop-gap pause in life's breezy proceedings.

Will I embrace or hold back? Accept the (mostly unwelcome) change that growing older brings?

Will this silver-surfer slide inexorably into senility or will I grow more in insight, wisdom and creativity?

Only time will tell. I hope the years will be kind. 

And I hope to embrace the hard parts as they help shape and make me.

Here's the thing, not all change is welcome, invited or appreciated.

Though I will still aim to:
  • Pour out my heart in poetry and prose and share His story in the process. 
  • Lean hard into grace every day.
  • Walk the painful path of dying to self and living for Christ.
  • Crave God's Presence.
  • Listen for His voice.
  • Dive deeper into healing as I dip back into my painful past.
  • Encourage others on the journey.
So I may alter a little on the surface, but deep inside ~ at the heart of the matter ~  I will grow into joy and become more fully myself as I allow God to make me more like Christ.

Change lies on the doorstep of each day. It hangs heavy for some and signals freedom for others.

Are you ready for all it may bring? 

Much depends on what or who is changing you, where you are heading to, and who walks with you.

" whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried you since your birth. Even to your old age and grey hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you" ~ Isaiah 46:3-4

Just for a change, I am joining in here instead of on  (because the usual poetic offering gave way to prose) with  Kate Motaung and other brave writer friends for five minutes of free writing on the topic of 'Change'. 

*And if you like my poetry you can read one about change here.*

Friend, may you see each new day as opportunity to grow and to live, learn and listen in your walk with God. And may He bless you with peace as you leap by faith into the unknown territory of the now and the yet-to-come. For we travel with Him into a future rich with promise and blessings as yet unseen but full of grace and glory.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

If you are weary and wounded

It doesn't take much to make us feel hurt sometimes. Sensitive people bleed easy and bruises remain.

Some wounds scar deep. The past pervades the present and we feel worn out and weary of fighting for another day.

Other wounds may be raw, fresh, scalding mind and body alike with their intensity.

Living joyfully and freely looks so enticing but how do we make the leap and traverse the chasm between where we are and where we long to be?

I've been a walking, crawling wounded one for many years now and some days I just want to curl into a corner, squeeze myself as small as I feel on the inside and hide away.

I love to encourage others, yet sometimes find it hard to encourage myself. Maybe you too?

When that happens, I aim to be David-like in strengthening and encouraging myself in the Lord during adverse circumstances. There is more going on than eyes can see or heart and mind realise. 

Worldly lenses need to be removed and spiritual ones applied in order to see and sense the miraculous in the mundane, extraordinary in the ordinary, sacred in the secular.

And we need intercession and compassion for others to overrule dwelling on our own limited perspective of things.

Because aren't we all hurting people in some shape or form, and doesn't it take more than a measure of faith and grace to get through to a place of deliverance and praise?

I've been reading 'Finding Spiritual Whitespace:Awakening Your Soul to Rest' by Bonnie Gray rather sporadically over the last few weeks because I have needed long pauses to pray and work through the suggested activities in my own time.

In chapter 5 Bonnie asks us to:

'Write a letter from Jesus to the little girl in you. What does He want to say to her? What does He see that she needs? Give yourself permission to write this letter. Allow God to love her through you.'

Here's the result of my prayerful cry and God's reply. As my inner child cried out to be heard, Jesus breathed these words into my mind and heart so they could find their way on to the page.

If you can relate to feeling rejected, neglected, weary and wounded, abused or refused in a deeply personal way, then this love letter from God may be helpful to you too.

I have removed a few lines destined for my heart alone, but enough remains to be shared. May it speak to the child in you, the one who remains lost and lonely, with low self-esteem, craving approval and acceptance.

May you see and believe that you already are accepted, loved, pre-approved and precious to God.

'Letter from Jesus'

"I want you to know there is nothing to be scared of when I walk with you; nothing shall in any way harm you. You have the Light of the world living on the inside of you and the One who exchanges beauty for ashes and joy for despair.

I give you a robe of righteousness to wear and a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness. The troubles and cares of life have sucked joy out of you, leaving an empty, hollow shell. I have come to refill you with a holy joy that no-one can take away. 

This oil of joy pours from being in My Presence, seeps into the fabric of your whole being and lubricates an attitude of gratitude.

As you linger with Me, take time to rest, relax and let go your burden of care. I will refill and refuel you to shine for Me.

Those broken places and ancient ruins long devastated will be restored, rebuilt into a habitation fit for the King of kings to dwell in. 

I have never left your side for a second. I have bottled all your tears, lovingly collecting them drop by drop. I have witnessed the pain of rejection and abuse you have suffered and I wept with you.

Come, My child, come close. Lay your weary, anxious head on My shoulders and let Me soothe and comfort you. You feel old beyond your years yet full of child-like yearning and longing that no-one and nothing else can satisfy.

I see the ache in your heart and I long to fill it for you. But first the ache and pain must be accepted and acknowledged, the emptiness, joylessness, guilt, shame and despair seen and confessed so I can address them.

You hold back from fully loving those closest to you because you feel afraid that deep down you are unlovable and they'll reject you if you open yourself fully to them. This fear is unfounded. They see the 'real' you and, just as I do, they love you for who you are, as a person of worth and value in her own right ~ yes, even as a flawed and fallible 'work in progress.'

Do not be so hard on yourself or critical of who you are. I made you, created you to fill a role and live a life tailor-made that only you can fill and live out to fulfil My plans and purposes. See yourself through My eyes, believe you are beautiful in My sight and precious to Me just as you are

Take My hand and walk with Me. I will lead you to safe pasture. I will give you rest and ease, bring a lasting peace no matter what circumstances you go through. Trust Me to take very good care of you all the days of your life and beyond into eternity.

One day you will laugh and dance with Me. One day you will be free from wounds and pain, and your tears will only be those of joy and delight in My constant Presence.

You will know and be fully known, love and be completely loved for ever. I promise.
Love always, Jesus."
Linking here with encouraging friends, Holley and Jennifer as we seek to share coffee for your heart and tell His story in the process. You are very welcome and warmly invited to join in. 

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.