What secrets does your past hold? What are you trying to keep hidden from your spouse, your family, quite possibly God? Does the weight of taking a wrong path, choosing carelessly, or grasping the wrong bull by the horn weigh down upon your shoulders? Does it linger there, establishing it’s own little campsite right there in the nook and cranny of your heart? Does it make a fire, fan the smoke, add kindling to the coals so it will never fizzle out? Do you go through the monotonous activities of your day, finding yourself sniffing that ever-familiar scent of the smoke, it threatening to never leave? As the scent becomes familiar, a part of your life, always present, always lingering, do you find yourself trying to dig a grave twice as deep, throwing it into the hole and shoveling dirt on top? Yet, a little piece of yourself is slipping away, because it makes you feel as though you’re not good enough, no longer worthy, of no use. “I am just like everyone else. Everyone else, who makes choices to throw this away or that away.”
Have you repented, asked for forgiveness, made peace with yourself and God? Have you moved on, yet the smoke still lingers, haunts you, almost chokes you? You try to run outside for fresh air, spring scents to fill your nose, anything, anything, to not smell the smoke. So you throw yourself into activities and events, working on taking one day at a time, one step at a time, though it still doesn’t take away the feeling of unworthiness, despair, heartache. “I will just try to enjoy life one day at a time, work on loving and taking care of my family, stay out of reach of anyone or anything in order to not mess up again, knowing God is probably done using me in the life of others.”
But wait. There’s a sliver of sun on the horizon. As the birds are talking to one another, as the dew clings to new spring buds, hope slowly rises. God is NOT done with you, with us, yet. God does not want walls to go up, walls that spell PRIVACY or FEAR of FAILING AGAIN or HERMIT. It takes one tiny step forward at a time, sometimes crawling, shuffling, inching your way, but waking up each day with new breath. But wait. I have hope! This is just the person God wants to use. The one who has been through failure, lessons learned, and new light received. God works overtime with the ones who are brought to their face, seeking, yearning for forgiveness.
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart…”
God is near. That’s what this verse tells us. Do you hear that whisper, “he is near.” God is love. Love unfailing. Love that can fill the nooks and crannies of the heart, your heart, extinguishing the flames of the smoke that rises, ever so quietly.
My last post talked about being angry with God (click here), each on our own journey, where we can find that anger building over time. It’s time for change. Time to rid ourselves of unhealthy emotions. Time for newness.
Slowing down time, being grateful for what I have instead of focusing on what I don’t have, taking time to be patient in order to listen to the stories and to hear the noises around me, to be thankful and to give thanks for the tiniest of things. I look around me with each step I take in awe, with thankfulness, thanksgiving, thanks. These are the things I’m absorbing as I read this book by Ann Voskamp “1000 gifts, A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are” (Click here). My aunt shared this book with me, probably knowing that this was exactly what I needed, what I’ve been craving. I’ve been devouring it like a sweet juicy peach and what I’m reading is truly astounding me. I am learning of my lack of thankfulness in every area of my life. This sweet lady, the author and mother of 6, wife of a farmer, shares her heart on a missing element: thankfulness. We are discontent and have no joy because we are lacking thankfulness. Thankfulness then can birth joy, which grows into contentment and awe and wonder at all that surrounds.
*All pictures taken by me
“I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”
Maybe that’s the key. I haven’t allowed myself to learn. It’s time to learn.
Maybe, for today, I take what I’ve been given, each sunrise, and breathe in deeply, and look around. Maybe with the passing of days and weeks of looking and slowing down, the smoke that is ever lingering will slowly drift away, just like the yellow pollen, on a cool, breezy spring day.
I encourage you to get out there and start “Breathing with Abandon”.