Breathe

 

‘He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake’

His name. Not mine. Not the other’s. His name.

He was dishonoured. by me. Now honour must be restored.

Through truth, and love, and commitment and perseverance

Through doing the hard things. and they have been hard.

And the hard has turned my frame into a permanent knot of tightened muscles

A heart gripped by anxiety.

A tension that I am finding it hard to release.

So today I needed to be reminded to breathe.

To inhale.

and pause.  Enjoying the sensation of satiated lungs and body. Beyond desire and need to abundance.

To Exhale.

and pause. Feeling emptied of those things which grip so tightly, knowing only the desire to take the next breath.

And with each breath, thank the giver of life and breath and love

that He has sustained me with breath.

through the nights when I thought my heart couldn’t bear any more pain

through the days of numbness when I didn’t care if I breathed or stopped breathing

through the anguish that caused me to want to stop breathing

through the months of waiting for an answer to the question ‘Is God enough? Can he be?’

inhale. and pause.

exhale. and pause

And with each breath I begin to remember

That I am ok. That it is right for me to keep breathing.

That is is right for me to want to keep breathing.

That each breath is mine to take and to use and to enjoy.

inhale. and pause.

exhale. and pause.

This is how it will be for the rest of my life.

And I am thankful.

 

This writing was inspired by the prompt ‘Breathe’ at Marvia Davidson’s Real Talk Tuesday.

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This too is worship

Today I am having to do something very difficult.

I believe it’s what God wants me to do. I believe it’s the next step in the journey of restoration of my marriage.

This is my prayer

“Take away our stubborn self-will,
for we know that in Your will alone
is our peace. We seek that peace.” Peter Marshall

This is my worship.

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We

IMG_5129We have grown into women together. Marriage and motherhood came at the same time in life for both of us. This year we both celebrate 18th wedding anniversaries, 42nd birthdays, and our 3-a-piece children each growing ever older and more beautiful. We met as insecure 18 year olds on our first night at university. Somehow we became friends within a larger group, and 24 years on our friendship is stronger than ever. It has survived so much and witnessed so much. And all the time this ‘we’ has given me encouragement and strength and a longing to be more the woman of God that I have been made to be as I see my friend radiating the beauty of Jesus in her life.

She is beautiful. Inner and outer beauty. I’m not sure that she realises quite how beautiful she is. I love how she mothers. She was a mother before me and I have always watched how she does it. She’s gentle and creative and nurturing and such an encourager. She spots the seeds of growth and brings them to bloom. She rejoices in her children. She is hilarious and we laugh often. We share a love of books and cake, and we have the great joy currently of being able to meet for weekday lunches or coffees, squeezed into our working week, because we always make time for each other.

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This past year has been a very painful one for our ‘we’. I turned to her before anyone else when I found myself in a place I didn’t want to be. She listened and talked and prayed. After she left me she wrote to me. The letter told me all that I already knew. She encouraged me, pleaded with me to make good choices. She knew my heart, the good and the bad.

My response was to find the small part in it which offended me. I distanced myself from her, and attributed thoughts and feelings to her which were not hers. Much stemmed from my own shame. I couldn’t bear that I had let her down.

Over the next months I let the ‘we’ go. I wasn’t well, but that wasn’t the only reason. I stepped back into the places she had begged me not to go, and I couldn’t bear to tell her. All the time I was conscious of how much I missed her and how much I needed her. It became another sadness in my situation.

I don’t remember now what precipitated the change but after exchanging a few very painful emails we met for dinner. It felt awkward. We have NEVER been awkward with each other before. Before the meal came she went to the Ladies’ cloakroom and returned having emptied the Toilet paper dispenser of tissue, as she anticipated that there would be a great deal of crying and we would need every last piece.

I think I cried through the whole meal. My heart broke when she told me that she had changed my name in her phone to “try not to”, as in try not to call her. She had done that to protect her heart from my rebuffs.

That was in December. We have worked through more difficult times since then. I’ve hurt her and I’m so sorry for that. Yet she has shown me grace. She has loved me. She has rejoiced with me. She has told me the truth. She has expressed the very difficult things that have been laid on her heart. She has called me to account for my actions and feelings, and has reminded me who I am and whose I am. She has never stopped loving me.

IMG_5128 I am so grateful to have been placed alongside a woman who has gifted me with the most amazing friendship. I hope that our ‘we’ will remain, and that along with the great cloud of witnesses who cheer us on from the heavens, we will continue to spend our lives encouraging each other to fight the good fight and finish the race.

With gratitude.

This post is a response to the prompt “We” from Marvia Davidson’s Real Talk Tuesday. Come over to read her post and the other link ups. 

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Eye catching and beautiful when the light shines …

I have been absent from this blog for a couple of weeks. It’s the longest silence since I began writing The Hope Diaries in January.

In the last two weeks I have stepped out in truth. I have told the truth of what I did, what the other did, to those who needed to know.

I want to share a few of the things I have realised in these last weeks.

Truth is Strength

IMG_3507There is strength in truth. When we walk in truth we are released from the oppression which has tried to hold us in our shame.

When you start to see the light, there is no way that you can even take notice of the darkness any more. 

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The light is too bright for eyes to explore what lies outside of it.

Love takes many forms 

IMG_4786I have been given love in a cup of tea by my bedside every morning before I wake, for the past nine months. That is a lot of love.

It’s a climb. It will continue to be a climb.

IMG_3825We ( my husband and I) were at a very low place, so we have to work our way up from there. But we’re climbing in the light and towards the light.

I think we may even look eye catching and beautiful 

IMG_4919This image of a  bubble is not quite right . Over the past months I’ve felt as vulnerable as the bubble, but not anymore. I/we still need some protection around us but we are stronger and we are beginning to float up to the place where we catch the light again and our colours start to show.

Lights in the darkness,

and even in the darkness the flowers have come. 

Be patient. Take heart and wait for the Lord. IMG_4466

This post is written with the greatest debt of gratitude to all the people, known and unknown to me, who have held us in prayer so that we could reach this point on our journey. with love to you. 

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