Barefoot Discipleship

“What the Lindisfarne pilgrim finds on the causeway, so all Christian pilgrims find on the journey of life. We hope to walk across warm, firm and golden sand but often find ourselves in slippery mud or mysterious seaweed. At such times it matters very much that there are people ahead of us, behind us and beside us. We need people who will stand by us when we slip and who will risk slipping to help us when we fall.” 

Stephen Cherry  ‘Barefoot Disciple’ 

Today I write in appreciation of all those who have been ahead, behind and beside me in these last months.Thank you for pulling me out of the water when I fell. Thank you for warning me of the broken shells which would have cut me. Thank you for tending to the wounds when I didn’t listen to the warnings. Thank you for not walking away. Thank you for holding my hand in the dark times. Thank you for pointing out to me the beauty around me even as I slipped in the mud. There has been so much slippery mud and mysterious seaweed.

I’m not across the causeway yet but in these last few days I have taken a few deliberate steps to walk a little more alone again. Separate from my fellow pilgrims. I have sensed God saying to me “Lean in”. I am about to walk through some rather thick seaweed. I actually don’t know where I am putting my feet. I do trust the One who is calling me to keep walking towards Him across the water. I need to once more recognise my total dependence on Him. I need to come back to the place where I can ask and answer the question ” Is God enough?”

He has been, and He will be, and I need to allow Him to be once more.

 

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The Story Matters

The story matters because all our stories matter.

Because life consists of our stories, and if I listen to yours and you listen to mine we are the better for it.

The story matters because I matter, and you matter.

The story matters because untold stories don’t sit comfortably inside us.

They squirm and devour; become polluting and disabling.

The story matters because a story that is told is like a bird released from a cage.

It flies and lifts and maybe disappears from view completely, or hovers just above you.

It is much better out of the cage than trapped inside.

The story matters because it demands to be released. Truth demands to be told.

The truth will set you free.

You will be free indeed.

The story matters because maybe my story has similarities with your story?

Maybe you think that no one else has a story as painful, or sad or difficult or shaming as your story?

If I share my story then you will know that you are not alone.

I will know that I am not alone.

The story matters because sometimes it’s not the story we thought it was.

Maybe I think it’s a story about me, but you you can see that  it’s all about someone else’s actions and choices

and that I had no power or choice in my story.

The story matters because it’s all God’s story.

It’s God’s story of how he has come close to me.

How I have been loved and protected and held.

How I have been the prodigal and He has held his arms open for me to run into.

The story will always matter.

 

once again I am prompted to write by the wonderful Marvia Davidson’s Real Talk Tuesday prompt, and once again I am not writing on a Tuesday :)

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Untangling kites: how to make a marriage fly

Last week I sat with a tangled kite string. I spent almost an hour working at it to try to take out all the knots. There was really no reason to do it. I had been offered a kite to fly and I’d accepted, but when I opened the pouch I discovered a tangled cord. I don’t usually untangle things. I look for scissors. I don’t have the patience. Untangling is too fiddly and annoying and I can’t see a clear way to do it.

I wanted to fly that kite.  It somehow mattered. I sat on a stony beach and worked at the line. Some of the bigger knots were quickly unravelled but as I got to the centre of the knotting it became almost impossible. I couldn’t see where the threads crossed each other. It was pulled so tightly it was difficult for me to get my fingers in the gaps to loosen the knots. And then it began to rain and as I gathered up the kite to move to shelter some of the knots re-grouped. I started again, and it seemed imperative to keep working at the string, albeit blindly, not quite knowing whether what I was doing would make a difference.

Eventually it did. I felt such a sense of achievement. I stood up to fly the kite. I wish I could tell you that it soared high and looked beautiful against the blue sky and the white clouds, and everyone looked at it, and I felt happy that I was flying such a great kite. That didn’t happen. It wasn’t such a great kite design and it was very gusty. The kite lifted and turned in crazy ( dramatic) circles before crashing. Repeatedly. When the wind did catch it and pull it up, the string burned through my fingers as it pulled out, and I was left with cuts or cord wrapped around my fingers cutting off the blood flow. The kite snagged on rocks and then the tail came off. Very quickly the line was tangled again.

Somehow in that moment I stopped needing a perfect kite. I tried flying it in its crazy circles with the tangled line. It flew. The tail was tied on and looked fantastic as it whirled  in a loop.

And I knew throughout that whole process that my Father was showing me things. Earlier that morning my husband had said something astoundingly hurtful to me. He didn’t mean to hurt me, but he did. The sort of punch in the gut hurt that winds you and knocks all of your confidence.  My inner monologue had been asking whether I could keep working at this marriage, which seemed to be recovering and yet still held such difficulties.

That’s when I realised that I need to keep working at our untangling. Maybe we’ve undone the big visible knots, but as we move to the tightly knotted parts it is hard work. We don’t even know what it is we are trying to do but we must keep working at it. And even as we untangle I now see that a kite can fly with a tangled string. We are airborne. There are flashes of colour and loveliness but the gusts blow us and we crash again. Flying my kite felt like flying a plastic bag; it was not a well made, perfect kite. We are imperfect. Our marriage is and always will be imperfect. We will keep crashing and it will always require work to become airborne again.

This marriage, this life is not about stopping and pausing. It’s about persevering and committing and working with what we’ve got, and learning to accept that the beauty of the crazy circles is going to co-exist alongside the frustration and disappointment of the crashes. None of this is easy, but it is a new phase we are entering into.  We are flying our imperfect kite again. This is real marriage. Real talk.

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This post is linked with Marvia Davidson’s Real Talk Tuesday series – this week on the theme of ‘entering in’

 

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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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