Back to reality

So I’ve been back from my mini retreat for just under two weeks and if the fact that I’m only now getting round to posting about it doesn’t tell you all you need to know I don’t know what will! 🙂

I had such a wonderful time away at Mt Glorious. Obviously, there was the very real break from phone calls, texts, work, other work, uni and family (as much as I love them all!) but there was also the very real experience of just basking in being with God solely for those two days. Normally, during my time with God in the mornings, one or two hours fly past and I’m very conscious of having to be ‘finished’ in order to start the rest of the day. What I loved about my time away was the uninterrupted stretches of time that almost made me giddy with joy and excitement. Oh just to be and to be able to stay was so precious. It was like experiencing a sliver of heaven, when we will be completely surrounded and filled with His presence.

So, needless to say, I came home and landed with a bit of a bump. And instead of being light and happy for my time away, I felt heavy and, well, frankly, quite annoyed! It wasn’t until I went to bible study the following week and was asked about my time away that my friend gave me the reason for my disgruntled mood – I was grieving! Grieving the loss of being totally immersed in God without interruption. Grieving not being rushed. Grieving thinking about nothing but Him.

And the funny thing was, once my friend at bible study said it, I felt complete release and was able to move on. It’s funny how, sometimes, things just need to be identified before shuffling off. My mood lightened and I felt myself slip back into the groove of the life God has laid before me for this season.

And then today, after staring at the computer all day, I snuck outside and just stood and looked around me.

My backyard.

And the similarity of the view that greeted me to the view I enjoyed while away didn’t slip past me. It was the same sort of thing – gums, blue sky, birds and quiet just not as much of it but beautiful and there to be enjoyed and revived by, nonetheless. Just like the time I spend with God here versus the time I had with Him at Mt Glorious. Here, it’s bite sized with the knowledge that there is much, much more that we will one day experience but can’t see from this life, from this current view. And I’m so excited about that! But I’m also content to wait here, with this small view and rest in the fact that the big view is coming.

Getting off ‘the facebook’

So on Monday, I deactivated my Facebook account. Shocking I know! I still have an account for work purposes so I’m not fully free of it but from a personal and social point of view, it’s gone. I did it for a few reasons, the biggest being the need to simplify and to stop the incessant noise that is social media.

Keeping in mind my word for the year, I’m looking for ways to rest in all aspects of my life so that my whole being is leaning towards that rest and not just my physical body. I’ll admit, it felt foreign at first, to not have the meme’s, the satire, the cute and fluffy videos, the ‘connection’ to people I know. But oh my goodness, to not see every latest political disaster, every cause that needs my immediate attention, the spiritual posts that remind me how far short I fall (constantly!) – to just have quiet has been bliss! And to realise how often, when I had a few spare minutes, I would pick up my phone and just trawl Facebook mindlessly…well, it’s embarrassing to admit but it was A LOT. Now, instead of reaching for that button on my phone, I can just sit and think, refocus my mind on God, say a short prayer of thankfulness and allow my mind to….rest 🙂

It’s funny too, I now have more coffee dates with friends set in my diary after removing myself from Facebook. See Facebook gives us the impression of connection and community (and I do think there are circumstances in which that connection and community are very real indeed but that’s for another post!) but often comes up short. Nothing, nothing, can replace face to face connection with other people. People may not be able to tell from a status or online chat how we are really doing – put us in front of each other though and you can tell if that smile doesn’t quite reach their eyes or if their hands are shaking or their shoulders are slumped.

We need to actually see one another in order to really ‘see’ one another.

So am I advocating for everyone to get off Facebook? I guess I am! But I’m also realistic and know that the likelihood of that is pretty slim 🙂 I wasn’t disciplined enough to just cut down and limit my usage but maybe you are. All I know is that in our current world, we are generally overloaded, stressed and feeling isolated. Seek real connection. I dare you.

And now for a year of…

…rest. Apparently.

So every year I try to have a word that is my focus and after waiting on God for this years word, I pondered what the year looked like (so far): two jobs, both needing my full attention, studying, continuing in various roles within church groups and, obviously, I still have a husband and family.

And the word that God gave me? REST.

Yeah, right. I thought it would be something like focus or intention or efficiency. But no. Rest.

rest 1 |restverb [ no obj. ] cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.

So I’m trying to rest. I really am. And I’m discovering the true rest that only Jesus can provide – “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Finding rest in this life, this world, is tricky and often unsatisfactory. But I know the One who made it all and if He says that coming to Him and resting is the only way I am going to manage this year, then that is what I will do. I will relax in His presence, refresh myself by remembering Him and all He is and I will recover strength by drawing on His spirit.

And I’ve changed the photo on this blog to serve as a reminder to rest, for there is nowhere I feel more rested that amongst His creation and in particular, when I’m near the ocean.

I’m grateful for this word. Not surprisingly, it turns out it actually is the perfect word for this year 🙂

 

 

I did it!

Yesterday, I took my last photo for the Grateful 2016 book 🙂

The book is so full it won’t close. And it’s representative of the year which has been full to overflowing too! And as I flick through it’s pages, with dodgy polaroids, crossed out words and often indecipherable hand writing, I truly am grateful for 2016. It hasn’t been the easiest one, by far. It has challenged me, caused me to look at myself with stark honesty and it has shown me that, aside from God, I really am capable of nothing. He has sustained, comforted and been by my side through the adventure of this year.

And as I look down the barrel of 2017, there are things on the horizon that scare me, things that I know will bring me joy and plenty of ‘normal’ life in-between. Perfect 🙂

15785382_10211715083769436_1000818183_o

Day 297-299

Only 67 days to go of my Grateful year! 

The highlight of the last three days would be yesterday – last exam of the semester! 

And my Charli girl bought me a bunch of lilies by way of congratulations 🙂 They are still buds; lovely big pods of impending beauty and fragrance. And I kind of like the analogy…they’re not quite ‘there’ yet but they hold the promise of things to come. Just like me and my degree (if only it was only going to take a few days instead of years!). 

And the little basil plant in the bottom photo? His story will have to wait for another day 🙂 

So, yes, this week I am very grateful for the fullness of this life I get live 🙂 

Remember me?

Gosh, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I was here! I’m going to blame uni for the absence….that and some big changes for us work wise 🙂

Yesterday I sat my first and final exam for my first semester at uni *cue big sigh of relief. Whilst it has taken up my spare time, I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m already looking forward to March when I’ll do another two subjects.

Now that I have a little bit more time, I thought I’d get back into posting my Grateful Book entries every day. And check out the book now! It won’t even close, it’s that full 🙂14804937_10211000219778283_1388735858_n

So stay tuned for another post tonight with today’s gratefulness 🙂

Day ‘can’t remember’ to yesterday :) 

Well, the year is rocketing past at a stupid pace and while I’ve still been taking Polaroids and adding to my Grateful book, I haven’t managed to post them up here (in case you hadn’t noticed!). 

It’s been a full and lovely couple of months: some birthdays, catch ups with friends, work, chill time and the start of Uni (eeek!!) and lots of ‘normal’ days in between 🙂  

So here’s some of the past months grateful entries 🙂 Hope all is well in your world! 

Day 106-125

Get ready for 20 days of gratefulness! 

From ‘just because’ flowers to dates to Saturday netball to time with a variety of much loved friends and family to mini beach holidays to painting bedrooms, there is plenty to be grateful for 🙂 

(Day 106’s photo is not included due to privacy reasons)

Day 97-105

The last nine days have included dinner with my lovely mum and dad, a gecko stand off with our small fluffy four legged Vincent (dog 1, gecko 0), celebrating that husband of mine’s birthday, seeing our friend’s band play (they were outstanding), election of my husband to church council (I voted no but he got in anyway), chill time and finally today, some long awaited writing time. 

So grateful for the fullness of life! 

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10 vs 10