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!

I have such Friends

Somehow, Friday has come and gone but nonetheless I’m linking up with the other intrepid souls at Tales from a Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday, a group of writers who write for five minutes on a prompt without over editing, backtracking or worrying too much about getting it exactly right …This week’s word – Friend

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For various reasons over the past number of months the word ‘friend’ has been a major theme in my thoughts and considerations. Despite my love of friendship I find it an intangible word, hard to pin down in my life and for my life.
I am blessed to have all sorts of friends in many different countries.

Each friendship is a treasure, each individual and their influence on my life inimitable.
Some friendships we enjoy as a couple, others are family based, some are uniquely mine.
There are those who have known me since birth and remember me more as I was, than as I am.
Those who have grown with me and continue to have influence.
Friends that have fallen away…lives that have changed, hurts that have happened – regrets.
New friends with whom I hope to build a lasting trust.
I have friends I can talk politics to and some with whom I wouldn’t dare.
Those with whom I share the grand adventure of developing the artistic hopes within me.
Friends who know my Jesus and sharpen and encourage me in my faith and many others who don’t.
Those with whom I can be completely real and others with whom I hold back.
Friends who come for dinner and friends I meet in coffee shops.
Many who know me better than I know myself.
Varied, wonderful relationships enjoyed in so different ways enliven and enrich my life.
Offering me glimpses of the Eternal and the many facets of Life.

Yet there are often still longings…
For me and for my friends…
Initially I blamed unrealistic expectations and defectiveness.
I now believe all friendships are to be embraced, nurtured and treasured for what they are.
And the ache, also present, eagerly accepted as a marker towards heaven…
The aroma of the truth that we were made for More!
Five Minute Friday

Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.
William Butler Yeats

Scattered Words

12. 2013 Scattered Words 1Early this week some words scattered carelessly by someone I love wounded me.
Longing for approval and falling prey to measuring myself by others assessment of me, I was an easy victim.
Narcissistic, it was an easy opportunity for a dark festering to take root in my mind.
Self-doubt overcame me as lies informed the narrative of who I am.
I once again became ‘one offended’….

Let me not deceive myself, this week, this day I offended too…. I spoke without thinking and my words lightly off my lips went straight to another’s heart. My actions intentionally or unintentionally excluded. I wounded a friend.

It is clear that the one thing in life over which we have no control is the constant barrage of offenses (Luke 17:1). It’s the way of this fallen world. I also know, academically, that there is a way to stop the pain caused by the offense and in so doing end the cycle of hurt. Living it out is not always so easy. Jesus warns us (as the offended) to “watch out”! I think because we are at great risk when feeling exposed and vulnerable. Just as an animal is often most dangerous when wounded, it is easy for us to hide, or lash-out and to justify all manner of self-destructive behaviour simply by the fact that we are in pain.

In this situation, that brought all this to light, the words so easily spoken, paralyzed me. It made me want to protect myself. Filled with self-doubt I vowed never to expose myself again. Confused and in pain I wanted to hide. By allowing the offense to linger I opened myself up to bitterness, defensiveness and suffering.

10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy….

Yet He called me back to His heart, He searched for me as I fled.
Even now, in my fear and with all my reservations, He holds me to Him.
In Him alone there is truth and freedom.
He tells me my self-perception is of no relevance.
He calls me to Trust Him.
In accepting His view of me, I am set free from the bondage of self and ‘other’ judgment, and able to live this life without limits that He has for me.

…..I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

John 10:10
Amplified Bible (AMP)
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Jumping into Love

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I don’t like to jump…. I have a sore knee and so when I am at Boot-camp I cheat on any exercises that require me to become airborne. The yummy mummies have no such difficulty though, and are full of enthusiasm for the above ground ‘spring’.

This aversion to bounding upwards and forwards extends into all aspects of my life. I am not a person who moves rashly into anything. Speeding downhill on my bike too scary without brakes. I over-think and am more of the ‘measured’ type. But I love to watch the enthusiasm that others enjoy when they wholeheartedly embrace a new opportunity.

I am at peace with the fact that I was not created to leap…
He made me the way I am, it was not a mistake
Fully embracing the truth that I am completely accepted,
just as I am…
Coming to understand my belovedness,
has radicalized my life and freed me
to appreciate myself and others….

I long for the same understanding for everyone. I thank Brennan Manning, who deeply influenced this process for me. He died on this past Friday April 12, at the age of 79. I like to think he leapt into the arms of his Abba. This week I posted one of my favourite quotes of his and I encourage you, if you are still struggling with a sense of having a deficit to find friends who can point you to the Truth that you are loved and accepted just as you are…

Define yourself radically as one beloved by God…
Every other identity is illusion.”

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

Five Minute Friday

 

Broken – Hope for my Selfishness

Yesterday felt like Friday in my world and so I waited all day for Lisa-Jo to post her Five Minute Friday Word…. but it didn’t happen :)… so I prayed for her and for me and then I wrote what Father had on my heart…. and I think you’ll agree even though I wrote it a day early it fits beautifully with her word today: BROKEN….

I am the kind of person who has always had to apologize for saying too much, being too opinionated, over-stepping the line. Even from 6 or 7 years old I remember having to go to grandparents, family or friends to apologize for saying the wrong thing or speaking out truth when “good polite girls” stay quiet…  At nearly 50 you think I’d learn…. but no, I just did it again… a massive “over-speak”! Once again forcing me to confront my worst self and the poverty that results from attempting to live by the flesh!!

How glorious that just prior to Easter, due to my own disappointing mess-up, I am reminded that I am in painful need of healing and that the only way I can live this life is by trusting Him moment by moment and by depending endlessly on His Life in me.2013-03-16 08.11.39

Perhaps I needed the graphic humiliation of failure to underscore what Abba has been showing me in this season of my life….

…to love better… reminding me that I was born for something more.

He has been gently allowing me to see my prideful, arrogant flesh – where I express an opinion without kindness or where I am operating according to my selfish flesh so that I side-step a situation that would require a detour to love well.

 The temptation to “go it alone” and live just as I please is strong……but the haunting of what He died for is forever written on my heart and so, no matter how alluring it seems to follow my own self-interest, deep down I want more…

I want His way of Love….and I am empty, oh so empty to do it myself…

This Easter I give thanks for the fact that He is encouraging me to abide and depend on His Life, so that the desire of my heart – to sacrificially love and to extend mercy and grace – can be revealed in and through me.

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Joining Lisa-Jo Baker and writers here for five minutes of unedited free writing, based on the word: Broken

Five Minute Friday