Being Honest with you Friend…

Reality is I was going to write this post anyway,
but since this week’s “word” over at at Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Fridays is: Truth
it seems like a perfect time to choose to link up again with all those writing on the same word prompt each Friday……
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She asks me with genuine interest and curiosity… “So what have you planned for the rest of your day?” and as those words cross the table between us I panic.
What to say?
The truth or a fabrication….

I start my answer trying to make something seem more worthwhile or important than it is and then mid-sentence, I confess: “…….actually nothing!! I am currently without direction and there are options and possibilities, some of which have some value, some just very selfish but truth is I just don’t know
Hearing my words said aloud instead of only in my head brings me a moment of embarrassment but then just relief……
This is where I am…

Thank you, friend, you gave me space to be honest. For helping me recognise that my need to explain away what I do and to always have a purpose is unhealthy. That I am hiding the truth of where I am at this time….

I have been scared to ‘go there’, to risk humiliation and rejection
I see your busyness and I am scared by my days of nothingness

You ask, and I hide
I am sensitive to the importance of what you do…
You, desperately hard at work, trying to make ends meet to support your family
The single mom rushing off to work, worrying about how to squeeze everything into a day
You, who comes home late, to do homework and bathe babies
Hard working wife supporting her out-of-work husband in these later years
You, trying to forge a career for yourself, working all angles and trying so hard
Homeschooling mums who never have a moment to themselves
You, who is still committed to ministry, giving sacrificially all the time
Daughter too tired to cook dinner as you juggle study, work and play
You, friend, who always thinks of others before yourself
All who are overworked, tired out and weary
Special and important ladies in my life who have clear purposes for your current days
I am hiding from you….

Not because you have judged me, but because I have condemned myself
I have weighed myself up against what ‘good women’ do and found myself lacking
I know this is a season I must walk through and that everything has its purpose
But I am coming clean and admitting I am a little lost…

I want you to know the truth about me, friend
I don’t want you to fix me or give me things to do
Just love me in this season…

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In June I wrote, ‘Attending to Awe’ and what I said then I still believe:
I know He has not forgotten me. In quiet and simple moments there is hope and peace. Not answers, but a deep conviction to wait and not rush to self-initiated movement and action’.

Five Minute Friday

Starting Back

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The best way is just to start….

I haven’t been blogging for 6 months and while I’ve planned to resume for a while, I have made excuses and avoided sitting with a blank screen in front of me. Initially when the internet failed and my travel took me away from a routine, my excuse was legitimate but as the weeks became months my excuses have had to become more creative. The problem (I told myself) is that I am not sure I have found “my voice”, I am not clear on my motivation for writing and I am drawing a blank on what my life is meant to be about….
So what would I have to say?

Without doubt this is a challenging season…. this ‘in-between’ time: as a stay at home mum I am now navigating the waters of life post-kids; as a person who poured myself out for ministry for 10 years I am discovering the loss of direction and identity that gave me; and as a person with performance orientated flesh I am now learning to live with what it means for His presence to be genuinely enough… and I am struggling with all of these….
So what could I contribute?

In this place there is no frenetic busyness to distract me from my unhealthy way of operating, no daily distractions to blame for choices made in avoiding knowing Him more deeply, no endless serving others to hide the truth that I am terribly selfish and self-absorbed….
So shouldn’t I get to the root of all my stuff before I start writing in a public space?

In addition there are plenty of people out there to compare oneself to…they have a purpose right now and even in the midst of their mess, pain and blessings are moving forward as bloggers, making a difference in the lives of those of us who read them…..And so that inner voice that is not mine, but sounds so like me, adds one more log to the fire of why there is no purpose in my starting back blogging, why I am just not good enough….
So why write at all?

And the months have rolled on….
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Today, however, I am quietly taking those thoughts captive and starting back with this confession and leap of faith!

Chartering the Middle

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I am in the middle….
At my age it’s sometimes referred to as a crisis but I am choosing to view it as being in the beautiful process of becoming.

Which means I am the same as you even though I am different.
I read a lot of blogs written by younger women. I am constantly in awe of their wisdom and I am always learning from their stories and Godly perceptions. My life and writing has benefited greatly from them and their encouragement. I open my computer often and eagerly to learn from their lives and divine insights. Even though I am currently in a different life stage to most of them, I understand the framework of their stories because I have been a Mum of younger kids. My present life, however, is not like theirs and sometimes reading their stories makes me feel I am stuck, that I have had my usefulness and purpose, that new life will never come, that change will never really break into my life.

Oh I know the truth of what Jesus says about me and I know I am of value even in this season of being still. Yet the doubt persists.
I don’t think any of us really understand what “the story is about” when we are in the midst of it. When my kids were little and in a ‘enervating phase’ people would say: “this too shall pass“. But the problem with the middle is the daily battle with the fear that tomorrow will be just like today, that there is no defense against the despair of the endless or sameness of life. It seems to me that, for many women, without Hope, their created purpose is replaced with a deep sense of emptiness and lack of clear direction. The question “what next“? ….too terrible to contemplate.

Women of my age and stage are talking about this process and the confusion they are feeling in this part of their journey. I’ve been listening, and it seems they are surprised by the this ‘middle’ life and their emotions of restlessness, sadness and discontent. Life feels like it’s on hold but that they don’t know how to move forward. There is just the daily battle against loneliness. It seems almost impossible for these women of strength and courage to find words to say how deeply empty they feel. They feel ashamed of these emotions and talk about them only in whispers with a façade of polite words that cover the bewildering and painful places they find themselves.

I can relate and won’t lie, even with a life anchored on Jesus I have find myself in a disconcerting middle place right now. Sharing my emotions and connecting deeply with people around me is challenging as it feels like there is a thick pane of glass separating me from the rest of the world, isolating and deadening everything. My current middle is all about life after kids and ministry, but I wonder if the principle is the same when you find yourself stuck in a life you just wish would move on, when there is no end in sight for the pain or the burden….

It has me thinking if – by not talking about our struggles in the ‘middle’ of whatever situation we find ourselves in – we deny ourselves opportunities for community and permission to learn and experience a personal heavenly touch?

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Living in the After

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What comes after?

After you have stepped down from leading a church for 10 years? After all your kids have gone off to boarding school way too young? After exhaustion and burn-out have worn your patience and love thin….

The great beyond is in the after and it stretches indeterminately ahead. There are the endless days of getting up and moving in a fog, pulling oneself forward in the thick mud of directionless activity…

In the after is the waiting.

In the after is the trusting that there is a future…. a new thing that is glorious and full of purpose.

The challenge is be content in the murkiness of the unknown.

Not to rush ahead to fill days and hours with meaningless activity but to be comfortable in the after. Knowing that He is more than able to intervene but that in the quiet and silence of unknown there is Life…

in abundance….

Believing in Him and holding tightly to Him in the darkness, so that He can reveal the personal truth that…

He is enough!

This post was inspired by Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday word: AFTER. I am loving joining other writers here each Friday for five minutes of unedited, free writing. 

Five Minute Friday