Something seemed to be very wrong with this when I posted it earlier, it was crashing my Outlook and Feedly, so I thought I’d try again. I think it was the picture, so that’s all that’s changed. Apologies for duplication or problems! Maybe its a sign 🙂
I haven’t blogged for a while.
Life and it’s reality has rather got in the way. I am having to absolutely evaluate my priorities, perhaps listen again to what God is calling me to where I am now. I’m not sure I’ve reached any conclusions. If anyone has any bright ideas, I’m happy to listen.
But today I read this:
May you experience God’s vast, infinite, indestructible, expansive love, that has been yours all along. May you discover this love is as wide as the sky, and as small as the cracks in your heart that no-one else knows about, and may you know deep in your bones that you are welcome, invited and loved. Amen.
Brian Anderson, Down District Superintendent
It’s the prayer of the day from the Methodist Prayer Handbook, so I must have read it eight times before! But today it hit me right between the eyes.
God’s love – as wide as the sky
and as small as the cracks in your heart
that no one else knows about
For Christians this wilderness is a place of discovery (p88)
Amen and amen. No one wants to be in the wilderness, we would rather be in a place of comfort and pleasure. But it is in the wilderness we learn who and what matters. What will support and sustain us. Who we can rely on.
I once spent several months, deep in my own wilderness. I won’t go into detail, but it was a place where no one could reach me. I was functioning of a sort, but I was lost and lonely. Things that I had been ignoring finally reared their head and had to be dealt with. I always explain it as all the stuff that I had been just pushing under the carpet, pretending they weren’t there, that they didn’t matter – well I turned round and fell over that pile I had buried there. It was not a good place to be, but it was the place I finally had to confront what had happened, how I really felt, and what I was going to do about it now.
I discovered a lot about myself, and that time went a long way to making me the person I am now, and informing how I deal with other people. I matured a lot. I learned things weren’t black and white. I learned that however sore and tender scars are, better to know them than ignore them. Even as I came out of the wilderness, the scars are still there, and I think for me need to be, but I have learned to live with them (most of the time) by acknowledging them. That was something I never did while I was living life pretending everything was alright. It was only in going into the wilderness that made me face up to what was going on, sweep out the pile, and start to sort it.
I would have much preferred not to go there, but once there, I knew I had to stay there, confront stuff and sort it out, otherwise I would be no good to anyone or myself. I guess it was my broken and being remoulded.
But I knew the arms of God around me. Giving me the space to allow me to break apart and come back together again.
It was the time when I grew to love the end of Habakkuk:
17 Fig trees may no longer bloom,
or vineyards produce grapes;
olive trees may be fruitless,
and harvest time a failure;
sheep pens may be empty,
and cattle stalls vacant— 18 but I will still celebrate
because the Lord God
saves me. 19 The Lord gives me strength.
He makes my feet as sure
as those of a deer,
and he helps me stand
on the mountains.
The wilderness doesn’t always give us answers or make all things right, but it gives us knowledge of what is, how things are. Broken I might be, but God will give me the strength to stand secure.
In Jesus arms in the picture of The Hen, there is a space. God’s love and care is not crushing or suffocating, but makes a space in which we are safe for whatever to happen. Like the chick in the picture stretching its wings to see if it can fly. We know that God is there, wrapping his arms around us, watching over us, loving us.
I’m not sure I sat down to tell you any of that, but that’s what happens with art and a well written reflective book…
Hope it makes some sense and helps in the lenten, and lifetime, journey of discovery 🙂
These thoughts are reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s painting The Hen (seen here).