Saturday, 10 September 2016

God speaks... Not just on Sunday!

Its a good book and some deep thoughts that bring me back to the world of blogging. I've almost finished reading "Roots and Sky", by Christie Purifoy, and it's one of those books I'll be sad to turn the last page. One of those books I'm choosing to linger over and will leave many pages dog-eared. 

Lately I've been rediscovering Gods voice and relearning how He speaks, guides and directs me. I believe that He does speak to each of us individually and I believe it's a process of learning, growing, maturing and discerning that leads us to be in close and constant communication with Him.  My journey in learning to discern His voice was interrupted a few years ago when, I heard wrong and it ended in heart ache... In hind-sight I didn't hear wrong, the journey and His timing was just different than I had imagined in the midst, and so looking back, He has proved Himself faithful once again. That said, since then, I've gone through various stages and seasons of doubting, questioning whether He really does speak to me, whether I am actually capable of hearing His voice and lots of other questions and confusion in between. 

Recently, I've felt Him calling me to test Him in this. To listen. To obey. And to watch His hand at work. And it's been an amazing journey. It's in the midst of this that I'm stumbling across these words from Christie Purifoy in her book and finding they resonate with me in a new way. Having recently moved to a new home, she feels Gods gentle nudge to open her home to all her neighbours for an Easter egg hunt. Way out of her comfort zone, and yet she chooses to listen and respond.

"It seems that so much depends on listening to the quietest whispers. "How perfect this long, green avenue is for an Easter Egg hunt." And so much depends on following, even if we drag all our fears and doubts along for the wild ride. I don't think following Christ is like aiming at a tiny Bulls-eye on a diminishing target. We are not in constant danger of missing the one right road God has mapped out for us. And yet. Perhaps the mystery who first breathed life into our dusty bones is always ready and waiting to carry us over some new cliff. To draw us deeper into unknown territory and toward unimaginable things. Unforeseen gifts."

I love those words, that He is waiting to draw us deeper into the unknown and unimaginable, a potentially fearful prospect, and yet we can count it all as gifts. Amazing unforeseen gifts.

As Christie gets deeper and deeper into the planning and planting of her new garden, she finds herself listening to His voice beyond the pages of her Bible. I find myself identifying with her words again and want to share them here, but know this... I'm encouraging you to buy her book and read the whole thing, it's worth it! 

"It is late April and I have abandoned my books...even my Bible... I worry over the pendulum swing I have made since Lent. From a winter of words, in nursery catalogs and Tolkeins tales, prayer books and my Bible, to this Spring hustle of digging, planting, weeding, pruning. from contemplation with Scripture to contemplation with spade and watering can. There was a period when I would have narrowed my eyes on hearing someone say they felt closer to God outdoors than in a church. I was sure, and I am still sure, that we mostly find God in the rubbing shoulders with other, difficult people. Like ourselves. God shows up in the jagged edges between us. I believe this... I have learned how much I miss when I assume God speaks only on a Sunday morning... Pulpit words. Hymnal words. Devotional words. These aren't the only words in which to hear Gods voice...some of Gods words can never be heard unless we set aside our books, quiet our usual prayers, and look. Listen. Wait." 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Rest in the chaos

In the front of my journal I have notes and thoughts from some quiet time spent in the first few days and weeks of this year. It's something I've purposed to do and enjoyed the process of this past few years. 2016 started with getting to grips with becoming a mum of two as we welcomed our 2nd son into the world right before Christmas.  All that in mind, I knew that my "resolutions" for 2016 needed to be realistic! You can read my post on that right before this one, as I have not actually blogged since then! with two little guys is pretty much as full as I thought it would be!

My "resolution" was this: 

Last weekend I've been thinking about this again as I stumbled upon a blog via Instagram which has totally resonated with these resolutions of mine. The bloggers' name is Terrica Joy and I'd highly recommend her most recent post on Sabbath Rest: aswell as her Instagram account @terricajoy

Sabbath is a bit of a strange word and one we don't use anymore really. Sometimes church people call Sunday the sabbath and the bible talks about it too.  I personally believe that "sabbath" is more than just a day of the week for going to church and enjoying a good roast dinner with friends and/ or family. I think "sabbath" is a principle of rest. Resting in God and enjoying His presence 7 days a week. Not just in a church building, or around a formal dinner table, but also in the trenches of everyday life - elbow deep in nappies and baby bath water, or around the conference table, in the car commuting, out for a walk, eating dinner with friends, on a play date.... You get what I'm saying. Sabbath rest is a mindset and a mentality. It's a peace and a contentment. It's a slowness and present-ness even in amongst full days and weeks. When we rest in God we recognise that there isn't a need to be always striving for recognition or power or influence or "success" or a spotless show home worthy house or the next must-have whatever. With that comes freedom. Freedom to slow down, take notice, soak in each day, count gifts and acknowledge God for them, enjoy the small seemingly insignificant moments that are actually beautiful and life-giving in and of themselves. 

Maybe that's all a bit too deep and nebulous. So here's what these resolutions have been looking like for me practically the past few months:

- using my boys nap times to sit and read/journal/rest knowing that the housework or whatever else can wait.

- prioritising play dates and visits with friends

- simple hospitality. Good food with friends + kids + sometimes a bit of chaos. It's all good

- going for walks most mornings and being present with my boys. Letting my two year old play and explore along the way rather than being on a mission to rush the time away so I can get onto the next thing.

- time in my kitchen. My happy place. Planning and cooking good food for us to enjoy as a family (see @kargskitchen on Instagram)

- starting the year off with a Bible study in the book of Daniel by Beth Moore and another one that I'll do later on in the psalms. 

- not over cramming my days. Leaving time and space to read books to R, go outside, drink coffee with my man. 

- rocking my baby to sleep, drinking in that baby smell, holding him, cuddling with him, letting him sleep on me. Napping with him from time to time and just generally enjoying this short baby season as much as I can in my sleep deprived state!

There's more, and there's also areas of my days and weeks that I still need to work on too. It's been a full six months - taking care of two boys under two as well as being in the middle of a house move and a change of job for Ken. I think the Lord really knew I needed to focus on these things so that He could bring me out through the other side of all of this in one piece! There's days I feel far from "rest", contentment, being present or living slow. Sometimes I'm frazzled, stressed, snappy with my kids and husband and just generally frantic. But for the most part, I see His hand at work giving me peace and calm and enjoyment in a season that has the potential to be full of stress and anxiety.

Rest in the chaos.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Take notice

We recently heard a preacher quote from the movie "About Time", and so one evening a couple of weeks ago we decided to watch it. We're not usually the rom-com types so our expectations were pretty low! In the end it was a pleasant surprise and we enjoyed watching. 

Without ruining the whole thing, the general storyline is between a father who tells his son that he can travel back in time. It's a family secret and a "skill" that all the males in the family hold. At the end of the movie, the son is reflecting on the use of this "gift", and on the pearls of wisdom his dad told him as he had used this gift throughout his own lifetime:

"And so he told me his secret formula for happiness.. Part one of the two part plan was that I should get on with ordinary life, living it day by day, like everyone else. But then came part two of Dads plan. He told me to live everyday again almost exactly the same. The first time with all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing."

"And I. The end I think I've learned the final lesson from my travels through time; and I've even go be one step further than my father did: the truth is I now don't travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I've deliberately gone back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary ordinary life."

I love those words. So, as I think on the year ahead, it's a reminder to me to take notice. I don't want to live with "all the tensions and worries that stop us noticing how sweet the world can be". Motherhood can make life feel very ordinary and yet extraordinary at the same time. And so, my resolution is this, to:

Take notice
Live slow
Soak in each day
Count gifts
Enjoy the moments

How about you?