FMF – Rest

Good evening and welcome to the Thursday evening where we link up at Kate’s place for the Five Minute Friday gathering. Five minutes of writing, without editing on one topic. All of us spreading our thoughts out on the page…and see what flies from our fingers.

prompt: Rest

I have been in a period of rest that is unexpected and found myself wasting away the time. I quit my job at Starbucks and moved to work at a smaller cafe. Its been quite a change and I”m still in transition. But the change is this…I gave two weeks notice and was given one week of work. Thankfully my new boss had tentatively scheduled me for a couple shifts this past week or else I would have had an entire week of unplanned vacation.

As a result I’ve worked a couple of half days but then had several other days off. Its been a bit disconcerting because the other times I’ve had such wide swathes of time available for myself, I had planned what I was going to do with my time. So i have puttered about and done very little that is helpful, but I have had some downtime which is necessary since the past several months have been hugely stressful in my life.

I wonder if all of this reflects that fact that perhaps I’ve forgotten what it is to truly rest. to find rest, to stay in that rest, to find renewal and restoration in that rest. One of the areas i find it hardest to rest in is in my mind. it seems to always be going a mile a minute and I have a hard time trying to relinquish what i think i have on my plate or the worry that consumes me and just rest in Him. I think that I’ve glanced at and perhaps experienced moments where I’ve known this rest, but they are few and far between.

rest is something that i long for. something that when i hear the word or read it in a sentence my mind and soul immediately jump up with a resounding ‘yes’ to experience. having it put into practice on the other hand is a much different experience.

Here is to finding ways to truly soul rest this year. to breathe Him in deeply and to have him calm my mind and my heart.

end

five minute friday

 

why are you here?

I am more of a reader than a writer. Perhaps I’m writer too, I just haven’t given myself permission to claim those words yet.

When I was at Festival of Faith and Writing in April, I was asked by several individuals at different publishing houses (as I perused their books) if I was a writer. I answered that I write a little but I’m more of a reader and I see myself as a champion of those who write. I was asked by one person what kinds of things I was reading and I struggled to find an answer because I often have several books on the go. I mentioned that I was still working through Seth Haines’ book ‘Coming Clean’ and really loving it.

But in that question of ‘Are you a writer’ and my answer in the negative, I felt like a bit of interest was lost. I even felt like they were saying, ‘Well, why are you here then?’ those those words were never spoken out loud (but rather in my own head). And in some sense I felt like i was on the periphery, yet another place that I didn’t belong. But there were those who I spent time with at the Festival that helped me to see differently, to know differently. With whom I felt loved, and accepted simply how I was. I am so thankful for those few who were part of that for me.

I am blessed to know of (and have met) many people who are gifted beyond words when it comes to laying down words. There are some perhaps that I compare myself, though I don’t know if I could put names down right off the top of my head. However, there are those who when I see that they have written I know that my heart will sink deep into their words and it will be a vehicle to speak to my soul.

Weather these incredibly gifted individuals become a household name or not, I am so blessed to be able to be on their side, reading their work and cheering them on to use their gifts.

There are many areas of life in which I’ve often felt that I don’t measure up. perhaps claiming the title of writer is one of them. But I do sit down and put my fingers on the keyboard and there are things recorded for future retrieval but I’m not sure that I can claim that as true writing yet.

#FMF – Haven

Joining with the crew over at Kate’s who write every Thursday night/Friday morning (and throughout the week) on a one word prompt for five minutes. I love this community. It is my safe place. I am so thankful for them.

prompt: HAVEN

As I sit down to my computer and wait for it to load, I think of this community, this safe place. I’ve only been gathering here for a couple years but it just feels like family.

From the first moment that I got up my courage to say hi and enter into chatting on Thursday nights, I haven’t looked back. There have been seasons in which I have been unable to gather with the others, or haven’t been able to follow through on the prompt, but the most important thing that I’ve learned in this community (and tried to share with others as they join) is that GRACE is lavished here.

Last summer, this group of people met together (well some of us, it is a LARGE beautiful (and handsome (ANDREW! and other fellows)) community.) And while I was nervous, I didn’t really feel fear, because I felt like I knew these people. Like I was gathering for an awesome weekend with old friends.

And as we settled in, and found our way into cozy chairs with cold water in hand (or coffee depending on the person), walls began to drop and we were ourselves more fully than I think I’ve experienced more than anywhere else. What a blessing to be known and to be loved.

It has always been a challenge for me to believe that I’m part of a group. To know that my presence isn’t merely tolerated, but enjoyed. and indeed, in THIS place, I have found this. I have found a haven.

Thank you FMF community. I love you.

end.

 

#FMF – Expect

Joining with Kate and crew for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt, five minutes to write and letting go of our fears as whatever comes upon the page makes itself known.

Prompt: Expect

Expectations have got me in trouble more times than I’d care to remember.
One of my fave quotes about expectations is:
Expectations are the termites of relationships.”
Oh how I have learned time and time again how true this is. I’m not sure if you can ever approach anything expectation free…at least I am sure there are very few times in my own life where this has been possible.
This past year has been one of realizing how much hurt is associated with expectation for me. Especially when you are one who does not deal with situations as they arise, but rather ignores their existance hoping someone else will mention that things need to change.
I had a rather devestating conversation several weeks ago in which i was challenged to addess my expectations, among other things. I guess in some way the hurt i was feeling i felt was justified, and perhaps it was. But there were also other things that needed to be addressed because as much as I wanted things to come to pass they were never going to be a reality.
I have often struggled with friendships and relationships,  and realize that I have a long way to go. I also need to learn that I’m not the only one pringing expectations into the equation.
These are areas in which I most definately am still a work in progress.
End

#FMF – Grow

Joining with the wonderful group of writers over at Kate’s to write on one word for five minutes letting the words just flow, with no editing. Always fun to see what one word can inspire in so many.

GROW: to come to be by degrees; become

The past couple of years have been hard for me. In so many ways, but one of the hardest for me has been the changes in my friendships.

When you are younger it seems that kids are more versatile to change, or perhaps I don’t remember as well as I’d like to. I know I moved alot when I was young and so it was a struggle to make deep lasting relationships. When we had to move I would weep and promise to stay in touch and never forget them. SOme of their names are lost to me now, some of their faces are a mere blur. But at the time I was serious, my heart was breaking.

It has taken me many years to have serious girlfriends. I was often the odd one out growing up and so to grow into these friendships was refreshing and terrifying at the same time.

Two years ago there were several friends that disappeared from my life in a similar time period. One got married and changed her proximity to where I lived by several hours, one moved to the East Coast, one decided that our relationship needed to change and one moved across the world to a different continent. Perhaps it might have been more painful in those people remained in a similar place of living for me, and I saw them each day and they simply didn’t want friendship. But in each of these instances the people were removed by circumstance or actual movement.

It took a long time for me to not think that God was taking away my friends because He wanted me to solely be reliant on Him. Perhaps I did put them before Him, but I’m not one to believe that God is vengeful like that. perhaps he saw fit to change our relationships, but this felt like abandonment of the worst kind. I’m still trying to work through this hurt.

But my eyes have been opened in the past several months to the fact that God has been filling my life with new friends, with wonderful sisters. Some I met online, some I met at the Festival, some I met in Nashville last summer, some at church, and its been a blessing that my eyes have only recently been adjusting to. I’m becoming in my friendships…its slow growth, but its there. And i’m thankful. I reflect on what Molllie just wrote in her ‘MISS’ post for last week, ‘We miss opportunities because we are busy looking for something better.  We miss the blessing in the midst of a burden.’ AMEN.

END

five minute friday

 

 

#FMF – Miss

Joining up with our lovely leader Kate and other writer friends over at her place for Five Minute Friday. We gather on Twitter Thursday for our #fmfparty, just a twitter party full of great people, a community of souls chatting away. and then the prompt is given and we write (or like today, many days later we write) and its fascinating to see what one word, spoken out in the internet brings to mind in so many unique voices. writing for five minutes unedited, letting the words stream from fingertips is the name of this particular practice. Visiting your neighbors and letting them know that they are read and loved is also part of the community we have gathered here. I hope that you’ll check it out.

prompt: MISS

I don’t like missing out. Although, now that I’m older I think I’m a bit more resigned to it. When I was younger, I didn’t want to miss school or youth group because of being sick or having an appointment, because I thought that while I was gone that things in that realm of culture would change so abruptly that I would no longer have a place.

But that’s thinking that I had a place in those days, and there were moments, actually most moments, where I was never quite sure.

I was listening to a podcast yesterday about middle-school, and the lives of youngsters attempting to figure out the social dynamics of this wide world, and did it ever bring me back. I’m not sure what about me makes me odd or even if that word still is something that someone would ever use to describe me. But at that time, it was a moniker i heard often about myself. That and ‘weird’.

And when all you’ve ever wanted was to just belong and not be on the outside any longer, that word seems a death-knell to any friendships you might desire. I don’t think I was every truly all alone, I had a friend or two. But the people who I felt it was most important to be like or to be liked by, they seemed always one step ahead of anything I was able to do or be.

When I was older and in high-school there were always people going out after church and it always pained me because I didn’t get an invitation. Once I spoke to a friend about this and she said ‘oh everyone’s always invited’ and that seemed to sting. Because its not that I thought I warranted a ‘special’ invitation (I didn’t think that highly of myself, I don’ think) but that I needed to be invited, to be included, to be acknowledged, i think that was what hurt so much about the general invitation. and most of the time I heard about what was happening because i happened to overhear them making plans. I did attend once or twice but always felt like an imposter, like I wasn’t really wanted there, like I had come into something of which I wan’t a part.

END

five minute friday

 

 

“I shall not want”

At the retreat I attended the day before I headed to the Festival of Faith and Writing, there were several contemplative sessions that were headed up by Ed.

In one of our last sessions before heading out for the evening, we were given several lines of different verses, and were to choose one to meditate on and to listen to what God wanted to speak to us about.

Previously in the day, we had already repeated and listened to Psalm 23 and it washed over us in lilting melody. Pieces of the verse had reverberated at that point, but this particular time of reflection had me pondering the first verse:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…

My mind stuck on the term ‘want’. I pondered what it might stand for.

If I ‘shall not want’ then it means that I will not lack, that i have more than enough, there is grace and mercy for my life, and that what is necessary will be taken care of.

I also thought about what ‘wanting’ might look like: to be focused too much on self, to feel a sense of scarcity and to fear.

As I focused on the term ‘want’ it seemed to resonate with me that it was an ‘aching hole’ that could only be filled by the One who alone knew what I needed, and knows what I need.

And then I was reminded that there was a ‘not’ that meant – He will provide, He knows and sees what I need and what I long for.

My heart pondered the idea of MY shepherd, how he hadn’t pawned off my soul and its wants to something/someone else. That he takes care of every one. He does so with everyone.

This is not a task for Him, but rather he does these things with a heart of love, a heart of direction for those he loves and holds dear.

There is also a sense of a heart of sacrifice in what has been given on our behalf, to render this gift available to us, that speaks to that wounded place of want.

As MY shepherd, ‘He joins me in the journey; in the midst of the fray. He is looking too and fro, there is never anything that catches Him unaware. His eyes miss nothing. He hears each voice, and gives of Himself undivided to everyone who calls on His Name.

(reflections from Renew and Refine Retreat, Grand Rapids, Michigan; April 13/2016