Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A letter to fill you in. Or not.

I'd like to fill you in, but I can't. I don't know what's going on myself. 

I haven't been able to write for ages, and in normal circumstances not feeding the BlogMonster regularly isn't a great idea.  I've long since let go of the blog stats - sort of given 'em up as a bad job. That in itself is something, I think, as a year ago I used to check several times each day, hungrily waiting to see the spikes get higher per day, week, month. These days I rarely bother checking, and the spam robot things keep the numbers ticking over. 

It's been a combination of busyness, other unwelcome things occupying head space and eating away at the opportunity to write, and then an overwhelming absence of inspiration when I do have time. The lack of inspiration thing is generally new to me as I have gone for almost three years now constantly on the lookout for things to write about and usually find that ideas queue up to be explored. 

It's not as if I'm in a dark place, spiritually. 

I went to a conference a week or two ago and it was amazing; a mountain top experience, I think you call it. God showed up and made His presence felt. It was awe-inspiring, beautiful, challenging, reassuring, moving, wonderful - and yet I haven't a clue how to write about it. 

It's too big. 

So I'm letting the words fall out in any old order and not worrying too much about how elegant it is or how much sense I make. I hope that by trying to explain, I might start to understand a bit more.

I've taken a song away from the conference as my song for now. It's by Hillsong, and it's called 'Oceans (Where feet may fail)'.*

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour

And somewhere in there is my current confusion and why I'm struggling to write anything at the moment. 

At the beginning of the conference, I asked God in the pages of my journal to show me something new about Him, and something new about me. He answered my prayer. 

We sang.

'Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders - 
let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me...' 

Tears streamed down my face. He gave me a glimpse of how much my soul longs for Him; I could barely sing the words, so full was I of yearning, reaching to go further, deeper after Him. I tend to tie myself in knots about my motivations, my commitment, whether my heart is in the right place. The strength of my own longing overwhelmed me.

Lead me where my trust is without borders...

My trust definitely has borders. It has a clearly defined perimeter, I think. I think God showed me that my trust in Him is not complete. At the same conference, Danielle Strickland spoke to us powerfully about living outside our comfort zone, about waking up and choosing a boundless life, and there it is again. Boundless. Unconstrained. Unlimited. 

I've been reading a book with a friend for a while now; we read a chapter and meet each week to discuss it. We're reading Lysa Ter Keurst's book, 'What Happens When Women Say Yes to God?' It's been an uncomfortable read, and we're only on chapter three. Over and over again I've said 'Yes' to God, but I wonder if my yeses have been measured, limited. 'Lord, show me where you're proposing to take me, and I'll tell you if I'm following.'

Another wise lady whose words I usually devour as food for the soul wrote the other week about Heidi Baker, and called her 'possibly the most surrendered woman in the world.'  I mentioned this to someone and they said they saw Heidi speak recently. She related an anecdote about the time she asked God why so often when she tried to speak to Western audiences she found herself so overcome by the Holy Spirit that she fell down, unable to say anything, and yet at home in her ministry in Mozambique, it rarely happens?  She said:

'And God answered me. He said, 'In Mozambique they don't have a problem with pride.'

Hmm.

My trust has borders. I sometimes come crashing into the edge of my trust in God. And then what? I panic. I stand still. I pull up the duvet. I turn to my own plans and efforts, to a friend, to food.  

I want to walk upon the waters, but do I? 

I'm comfortable, and I don't really want to be uncomfortable. I like my life, in the main, apart from the usual everyday sort of niggles, and I know that I should complain a lot less and be thankful a lot more. I want more of God - I know I do - but I think maybe I'm counting the cost and backing away in case it turns out to be expensive.

I think my boat is pulled up high on the beach.

I ask Him to lead me wherever He wants me to go, but I am reluctant to set off unless I have a map and a guide book and an assurance that it won't get too choppy out there. I have my own ideas of where I want God to lead me and I fear that I interpret everything through the lens of my hopes and my dreams. I try to manipulate Him into my plan as if faith were a charm to be invoked.

Lord, lead me wherever you want me to go - as long as it's where I want to go. 

In the West, we have a problem with pride. 

I want to get out of the boat and walk towards Jesus' outstretched hand. I want to be whole, full, overflowing. I know that the trivia that I cling to is nothing in comparison with the riches that God would like to give me. I know that my own plans are dwarfed by what He would have me do with my life.

And yet... 

I'm afraid. My trust is not without borders. I wonder how much it might hurt; what I might have to let go of, to lose. And I'm comfortable. 

And this is where a blog post like this ought to end with an inspiring conclusion. A breakthrough to share and encourage. Some wisdom along the lines of: '...and that's when I realised that... and now it's all brilliant! My confusion is a thing of the past!'

Yeah. 

You know what I'm hanging on to? At the conference I went to a workshop about prayer and prophecy. We got into small groups and prayed for each other, asking God to give us a word or a picture to encourage each other. The room was full of the Holy Spirit. 

There were four in my group, so we each ended up with a card with three things from the Lord. I was moved to tears (again) by people's words for me. How could strangers have known those things that spoke to very specific circumstances in my life?  God is so gracious. 

But there was one word spoken to me by a lovely gentle lady that made no sense to me at all just then. She said that there was conflict in my life. She didn't know how or if it would be resolved, she said, but there would be peace. Shalom-peace, she called it. 

There would be peace, and victory. 

So I'm laying all this before God, and asking Him for the Shalom. 

The walking on water, the following, perhaps opening my hands and laying down the dreams that I am oh, so invested in and believing that He knows best. He knows me. He sees me. He loves me anyway. 

He knows what I will do already. He knows the beginning and the end. He will never give up on me and He won't let me sink; He'll keep my eyes above the waves. 

At the moment I just see a tangle of conflicting ideas, a mess of confusion and fear and the seemingly impenetrable borders of my trust. 

He sees a daughter who loves Him, who overthinks and worries, who lifted her hands with longing in her heart and tears on her face at the thought of walking across the waters to take His hand. 

Shalom. 



*Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) 2013 Hillsong Music Australia

Linking with Ruth and Sabrina in the return of 'Letters To...' 


20 comments:

  1. You have this uncanny way of being able to put into words exactly how I'm feeling. '..I'm afraid. My trust is not without borders. I wonder how much it might hurt; what I might have to let go of, to lose. And I'm comfortable...' yup, this. And I don;t know how to get past it either. But even when you write about being uninspired, your words are inspired ;-) I wonder if it is just far more about insecurity than true loss of inspiration. I love the song lyrics, definitely truth worth holding on to - I don;t think I've heard that one, I shall look it up! Thank you for sharing and for linking up :-) So glad you did xx

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    1. Thanks, Ruth. I'm so glad you brought back the link.

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  2. As happens so often, this is nearly exactly where we are over here across the sea. (And I love that song as well.) We are in a place where I just don't know what God is going to do next, and I want to be so filled with longing for Him that my trust will be limitless. The discomfort of that place is the catch, isn't it? I'm asking for the grace to live uncomfortable for as long as it takes. Blessings to you, friend; on my list of November blessings, there you are.

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    1. Right back atcha, friend across the sea.

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  3. I have read so many blog post that echo these thoughts you have so beautifully put into words. So many people seem to be struggling with just what to write at the moment but every word I read let's me know I am not alone and inspires me to keep going too, to keep writing when the blank page stares back at me.
    I've started my own "letter to fill you in..." but I've stalled - does anyone want to read my thoughts, I seem to be going round in circles, saying the same thing over and over yet reading you words convinces me I have to finish it because maybe my words will help someone as yours have helped me - THANKS xxx

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    1. Oh, thank you, Sarah. I'm glad it helped; it helped me to write it down even if it's all muddled up and inconclusive. I'm looking forward to reading your take on things. Those 'me too' moments are what keep me going.

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  4. Oh goodness, you're so brave being that honest and yet youveonly said what so many of us feel. This was me earlier in the year, having read 'If you want to walk on water you've got to get out of the boat', and what happens?? I'm moved 300miles from family to a place I love but where I miss my kids and grandkids so much. God is here though, big time here, amazingly here and I'm thankful!

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    1. Helen, I read that book too! I read it and sort of climbed out but I don't think I've let go of the side yet. Well done you for your amazing leap of faith - I'm praying for you.

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  5. Beautiful and very relateable honesty. Thank you for sharing your heart. <3

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    1. Thank you. Thanks for reading and taking the trouble to leave some encouragement. It means a lot.

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  6. Dear Helen, my heart ached for you as I read this. So much echoes where most of us are placed right now, and it feels pretty uncomfortable, doesn't it? Yet a faith unchallenged is a faith that hasn't been stretched so that we come to the end of ourselves ~ and find Him there. God sees your sweet longings, my friend. And it may feel like water-walking is beyond you. Then He takes your hand and says, "Come, follow Me" as He asks you to take one tiny step at a time.
    You may feel like you're floundering, but you won't drown. He will hold you steady. We may not all be confident women of faith (yet), though God is growing us to be just that. And you are definitely headed in the right direction on the path of His choosing. Oh, and your prose is exquisite as always! Lovely thoughts beautifully expressed. Keep on walking, resting, seeking and holding tight to His hand. He won't let you go or let you down. Wishing you shalom, my friend, in every part. Blessings and love :) xx

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    1. Thank you, Joy. It is odd that so many people I know are in a place like this at the moment. It's hard even to pinpoint what it is that isn't right.
      Thanks for your wise words, reassurance and encouragement. So good to know the support of good friends. x

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  7. Your thoughts touch me. God will lead you. Oh, in Europe, we also have the problem of pride. Let's give that problem to God and ask Him if he gives us a quiet mind. I love also what Joy Lenton said. She is so wise.

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    1. Thank you! So good to see you again. A quiet mind indeed... Shalom, my Dutch friend.
      ...and you're right about Joy. She is wise indeed.

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  8. My trust definitely has borders and I so wish it didn't but I just can't find a way to tear them down. Instead of trusting in Him completely and walking in faith I am always trying to find solutions for everything one step ahead of myself and it's exhausting and anxiety inducing! This is definitely food for thought for me - big time! Thank you for sharing :) xx

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    1. Thanks, Sabrina. Not sure what the answer is - but I know that He knows me and He knows you and no matter where we are or how hard we find it, He loves us already.

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    1. Thanks, Julie. Thanks for reading and taking the trouble to leave an encouraging word. Means a lot.

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  10. Trust without borders - Helen, may it be so for you. He will be your glory round about and your rear guard and He will hold you by His mighty right hand to take you to the place of His choosing. All of our today experiences prepare us for the promises of God in our tomorrows.

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  11. What Joy and Jeannie said :-)

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