I’m just back from an amazing day at a Women’s Retreat, with women from the church we’ve made our home here. I know women’s retreats aren’t everyone’s cuppa tea, but this was relaxed, very chilled and full of good food and great company. So when you have that as a starting place and then add the invitation, space and freedom for God to do whatever He wants to do…..well then…..it is no surprise that I’m not ready for the land of nod yet.
Part of this morning’s portion of the retreat was led by a neat lady who is a Spiritual Director. A what? Yep. That’s what I was wondering. To put it very simply, (I like simple), Fran helps people explore what is going on with them and God. What is God wanting to say to us, in our right here and right now? Spiritual Directorship isn’t really counselling, just a re-directing of good questions, to enable us to hear from God directly.
So we did an activity. With magazines and scissors and glue. And no it wasn’t scary as activities such as these can be for the Anti-Marthas (Stewart, not the bible one….) We could take a magazine and cut out pictures and words that spoke to us – that God spoke to us, in some way, somehow, and put them on a piece of coloured paper….and God spoke. He really did. Here’s the thing though, I believe God is speaking ALL the time to us, we’re just not always tuned in to listen. Anyway – once we’d had our time making our pictures we could then share with the group about how God is relating to us, individually, using the pics as illustrations and starting points.
I could have shared with the group, it was a safe place that’s for sure, but you know me and spoken words. Nah. But maybe, just maybe something of what God spoke to me in and through my picture will mean something to you…..so I’m gonna share it right here…
Right. So there’s a beautiful work of art right there aye…..stunning….you know I came this close to failing Teacher’s College Art…anyhoo…now for the meaning…and this is what I found fascinating…
That pic on the right there…..anyone know what that is? Well I’m a gonna tell you….those men are hauling tumbleweeds away from a field…tumbleweeds. You know when you read books set in remote places in America and they mention the tumbleweeds rolling by….well who knew they grow so big? Now you know. In my mind’s eye they are just small cotton wool ball type thingies….not so. And here’s the thing about tumbleweeds….they thrive when they can get a foothold in loosened ground. They are invaders. Imposters. From a tiny seed…they become these massive balls of weeds that just go wherever the wind carries them. A right proper nuisance. Now I knew nothing about the tumbleweed before I saw that picture and read the corresponding article about them….but as it captured my eye I felt God clearly say ‘you’ve got these big balls of weeds in your life, because you let the seed of disappointment grow’. Disappointment in God. The ground of my heart was loosened by tiredness, by apathy, by all the ugly, and these seeds had taken root, and grown and become the invaders that weeds are.
So I was digesting these humbling thoughts when I found the next picture that leapt out to me….the picture of the hand outstretched. And God whispered deep down into my soul…that’s how you keep the soil of your heart healthy…that’s how you stop the tumbleweed seeds from taking root…by having your hands outstretched to Me…….More of the Lord, more of that desperation that I am nothing without Him, more of what You would have me do. Reaching up and out…that’s what keeps our ground firm and solid. Resistant to weeds. Resistant to the barriers that would harm our closeness with Abba Father.
And next on my page? The reservoir. A picture I’ve had for a while for my life right now. Now, being a time to just dwell on the Lord’s goodness, to take the time to store resources and to not feel guilty about that. To have resources that run deep, veins of liquid gold for resources for the next storm.
And finally? The words ‘The World Changes When You Are Thirsty. It Shrinks’. Now I know that those words were written to illustrate what happens geographically when drought occurs….but to me, what I got from God with that was that the thirstier I am for Him, the deeper I build my reservoir, the looser the boundaries will be in my life. The smaller the limitations. My world can shrink in the sense that all the things that bring distance from me and friends all across the world aren’t actually barriers. The thirstier I am to be there for people – no matter the geographical distance – the more that distance shrinks. Because God. I just need to rely in His leading…for that word in season, that prompting to reach out and speak out…no matter if its someone right beside me, or oceans away. And for me, as someone to whom people matter – this is just such a good thing to remember…now and always…..
All these crumbs of God’s goodness, just from a magazine and a pair of scissors. God is so good, right? He reaches down and speaks to us when we so need it. And like a kindly Father, he steps in and alters our course, when that course needs re-adjusting. I can’t hold onto past disappointments any longer. No more tumbleweeds for me.