Searching…

Well, this week saw the start of a new term for my eldest daughter (final term in reception-how?!) and for me teaching piano. I started a new gym programme (ouch. Extremely ouch), and the macbook is currently being upgraded to a new hard drive to make it go faster (I hope). With Easter just gone, and summer sort of arriving, the feel of a new start is almost tangible.

Yet unless I come back every single day to the cross, and to ask for His new mercies for the day, it can all too easily slip back to the relentless treadmill of the daily grind. What keeps life fresh and vibrant is the very breath of the Creator over it, infusing it with a vitality and purpose that can only be given-by-God.

Lamentations 3:22-24
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.’

The challenging bit is in verse 24: waiting. I’m not good at waiting – if something needs to happen, I’m a get on with it now sort of person. Indecisiveness and procrastination just don’t compute! So to be told to ‘wait’ is hugely challenging. But it occurs to me that it’s not about passively waiting with God – we’re also told to seek Him, to pursue Him, to have a singleminded approach in going after Him.

Proverbs 21:21’Whoever pursues righteousness and love, finds life, prosperity and honour’

And why? Because He first pursued us.

God bless

Rachel x

Seasons change…

My experience has been that my life has seasons – times when things seem to move quickly, at others so excruciatingly slowly that I wonder if it will ever move on or change – and themes – big, overarching principles that seem to be so embedded into everything I read, hear and see, it can feel that God has got a sledgehammer out to knock some sense into me!

This current season of life  – being at home with my girls,aged 4 and almost 2 – looks very different to any other that’s gone before. My value and worth to society in terms of productivity are pretty minimal in the world’s view, and I’m working harder physically than I ever have. Every day is a relentless round of giving out, of half finished tasks and endless tasks to do. It is so easy to slip into a feeling of only being useful to those around me, and to scoff when my husband tells me I’m beautiful yet I feel dog tired and scruffy. It is so easy to slip into being a consumer of grace and strength so I can achieve my aims for the day, rather than seeing it as beautiful that through me He achieves His aims for my day.

And my theme? That by taking the scenic route rather than the most efficient, that by leaving spaces of time apparently without purpose, apparently useless, by stopping this unceasing assessment of things and people and activities in terms of their worth, I discover true value is in the wild beauty that happens when I’m least expecting it. In the conversations that happen with my eldest as her fledgling faith begins to put on feathers ready to soar one day (how I pray she soars high!); in the moments when I see a glance, hear the laughter between my girls; in the still, quiet space where God drops His peace into my heart or even more amazingly gives me the words to share with a friend who needs to hear them – in these places, apparently useless if assessed by a measure of productivity, I find ultimate beauty. Which then drives home harder the need for those spaces that can so quickly be squeezed out – by housework, saying yes to too many (often good!) things, dealing with the day to day tasks necessary for our lives – to be present and allowed to just be.

The challenge is that in being deliberate about creating those spaces, the very act of allowing them to happen doesn’t become another exercise in efficiency which would ultimately result in futility. Because everyday life is messy, and real, and doesn’t fit neatly into boxes-because real, living people and relationships don’t fit neatly into boxes.

Have I got the balance right yet? No, it’s still a work in progress, it will always be a work in progress! But that’s ok – because I’m not finished yet, He’s not finished with me yet, and whatever I might think about me, He tells me that we are His masterpiece:

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)

 

God bless

Rachel

 

Since when was ‘to do life together’ a verb and what on earth does it mean anyway?!

A friend asked me a while ago what I thought it meant when people say ‘let’s do life together’. My first reaction was that it seemed an awfully awkward phrase to begin with, and my second was to wonder if somehow I was not ‘doing life” properly then!

It seems to me that in the fast paced, instantly gratifying, 24/7, global village, same day delivery, now-isn’t-fast-enough world that we live in, the implication is that life is something that can be done, that action is required and therefore change and purpose. It implies that to merely exist is not enough, that we must do more, achieve more, be more. Which raises an obvious question – why?

Social media, blogging, FaceTime, instant updates on events the other side of the world and much more all contribute to more knowledge than ever before. Keeping on top of all of that is a time consuming task in itself (if we choose to allow it to be) and with more and more friends in our networks, the escalation continues. It is so easy to expect everyone to know what’s happening because it’s on a status update or been tweeted. But is that ‘doing life’?

I think when people use the phrase, most often it’s to illustrate the need and value and importance of being present in each other’s lives. It’s fellowship, pure and simple. It’s friendship, it’s supporting one another, it’s dropping by for a cup of tea, it’s serving one another and speaking into one another’s lives.

As to the why we feel the need to do it, to mark it out as special and separate from our fast paced everyday lives, well, I’d suggest that is because we all long for relationship. We were created for relationships, we are meant to be a living body of people supporting and serving each other. What all those social media sites, texts and instant gratification of information can’t give are human contact, soul to soul contact, a hug, a touch, a word from one heart to another.

So how do you ‘do life’? Is it via a screen, whilst wishing and longing for more than that? Or do you have a balance? Or even opt out of social media entirely? I’d love to know your thoughts!

God bless

Rachel x