ACW

ACW

Thursday, 18 August 2016

What I'm learning from having a skewed view this summer by Joy Lenton

Summer is passing in a blur. Not the sort you see when Olympic athletes run fast as the wind, more of a segueing into a new routine where days blend endlessly together.

Instead of the usual busyness of penning my thoughts on a blog and enjoying social media engagement, I've been living a rather covert life for a while

Now as I come up for air, blink mole-like at the unaccustomed light, I begin to see a few ways in which these weeks are shaping my soul...

Serving

My husband usually provides the daily living help I need and the space to write. After his serious spinal surgery in early summer our positions were somewhat reversed. On his return from hospital I was thrust into supporting him instead, with help from family, friends and neighbours.

The nurse in me came alive again as I transitioned from being predominantly there for others (in a sharing, writing, praying, encouraging capacity), to diverting all my attention toward him. We became closer, more understanding of one another's needs. Being given a fresh perspective from God can shake or make us.

Because my life is sedentary, cerebral rather than physical, it's been tough to be more active than usual. I'm feeling exhausted and awed by God's grace, His sustaining power to provide for us in challenging circumstances. Our situation also enabled others to support, pray and be available in new ways, which is humbling and heartening.

Hiddenness


As a writer, encourager and active social media person, being disengaged is quite painful. I took a blogging break, little knowing I would barely write a word for two months. Inspiration vanished into the ether and I had to accept it might not return for some time.

I've chafed on the inside, because invisibility is part of having chronic illness, never mind deliberately choosing to be absent. Maybe you feel the same when taking a break from writing or your usual pursuits. We ache to be known, accepted and appreciated, don't we? The One who knows and loves us best tends to lead us into greater dependence on Him in order to reveal His perspective - how God alone can fill the aching void inside. 

I'm learning how God does His best work in obscurity. We grow most by abiding, stillness, silence and active listening to God. He gently calls us away from outward and inner rush and hurry, from stress and strain and fear of missing out. 

We may want others to love and affirm us, but I'm discovering our hearts need to rest most in our true identity and significance as God's beloved.

Rest

Despite having M.E, I don't rest well at all, because my soul is far more restless than I care to admit. I've been running on adrenaline for most of the summer and I'm finding it incredibly hard to switch off now that my husband's health is improving. My body is crashing and my mind feels like mush. I'm learning how rest is an urgent clarion call to body and soul we shouldn't ignore.

It so happens, (in God's perfect timing), that I am part of the launch team for Shelly Miller's forthcoming book release, 'Rhythms of Rest'. I'm slowly drinking in her words like water, deep needful soul refreshment. They're a wonderful reminder to rest in every way.

Creativity


When words desert me, I hang out on Instagram, potter about on Pinterest, mostly pinning images to my 'All things arty' board. The frustrated artist in me (who wants to draw, paint, write and create better than she currently can) is satisfied to some extent by dabbling with paint and making arty photographic images.

I am learning to pay more attention to: colour, pattern, texture, subtlety, shadow, silence, and how a skewed view can provide a fresh perspective on life, beauty and creativity. 

How have your days been shaped this summer?

Do you sense a call to deeper rest?


Joy Lenton is a grateful grace dweller, contemplative Christian writer, poet and blogger, author of 'Seeking Solace: Discovering grace in life's hard places'


She enjoys encouraging others on their journey of life and faith at her blogs wordsofjoy.me and poetryjoy.com as she seeks to discover the poetic in the prosaic and the eternal in the temporal. 

You can connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook

6 comments:

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your husband, but glad that he's now improving. How important it is to burrow into what God is wanting to teach us, when our lives are completely disrupted. And sometimes it is just that we should learn to rest in his presence. Take care of yourself too.

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    1. Yes, it's so important to "burrow into what God is waiting to teach us", especially during the hard times. And when we do lean on God and rest in His presence we receive all the help and healing we need. Thank you for your kind concern. When we're preoccupied with looking after others it's all too easy to neglect needful self-care as well.

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  2. Beautiful words and beautiful art as well, Joy! I love the way that God is gifting you with a new perspective. My prayers continue to be with you!

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    1. Hi Bettie. It's lovely to see you here! Thank you so much for your sweet encouragement and prayers; both are beautiful grace gifts to me. Glad you like the 'art'! It has helped keep creativity alive during a time when writing was impossible to do. It's taken me a while but I am grateful to God for enabling me to have words to share again. Bless you, friend. xo

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  3. Joy,
    What a beautiful perspective on what must have been a hard summer for you and your summer. Thank you for pointing back to God's grace. Praying you and your husband both continue to mend.

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    1. Dolly, God has been teaching me many life lessons in the hard places this summer, as well as revealing surprising new ways in which to express my creativity. Things remain tough as we adjust to a new 'normal' for a while and long for my husband to overcome a persistent infection which is somewhat delaying his recovery. God's grace has wonderfully sustained us during this testing time. Your prayers are truly welcome, my friend. xo

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