{New} Heart Connections

Finding spiritual whitespace isn’t about carving out an hour of time to escape the things that stress us.  It’s the opposite.  It’s getting away from everything we do to distract ourselves from all the hidden pieces – in order to nurture our soul.  (Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray pg. 49)

One of the ways I find Spiritual Whitespace is to take Faithwalks.  I pack a small back pack with water (& Diet Coke) and I put on my headphones and I start walking the trails.  I pray, I sing, I worship, and I take in the beauty.  I snap pictures and sometimes I walk fast and sometimes I go slow.  This isn’t just exercise.  This is exercise for the soul.  This is isn’t just sweat.  This is tears.

On Monday, I was reading Finding Spiritual Whitespace and on page 59, the Whitespace prompt was this:

“Are you facing a dilemma?  Rather than drawing up a pros/cons sheet, which can separate you from your heart, picture yourself as a little girl.  What would she choose and why?”

Deep breath.  Eyes closed.  Gulp.

~I had to pause.~

I put the book down and got dressed to hit the trails.  I was thinking about how in my ‘walled up’ heart I can endure uncomfortable circumstances with an exterior smile.  I can work extra hard to appear ok and to be okay and to make things okay.  If I can just be funny, and crack the tension we can all just get along.  Throw me in the middle of conflict and I am like a ping-pong ball that freezes inside while I bounce off of each paddle.  These are my logical, fix it and forget it responses.  These responses are far from my heart.

Picture yourself as a little girl…. What would she choose and why?

Lord Help Me.

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I rounded the corner and was on the trails as I prayed for clarity to even see the answer to this question.   I am in my own world on the trails.  I pass people and bikes and I am looking deep into the woods past the movement and past the noise to see Him, and to hear from Him.  I look up and above me is a tree full of green leaves, with one beautiful yellow leaf.  I hear God whisper to me,  “It’s okay to be different.”

I didn’t snap the picture but I said it out loud.  It’s okay to be different and I texted it to a friend and said pray for me.  I continued walking and saw another yellow leaf among all of the green.  “You don’t have to blend in”.

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Now He has my attention.

I have my camera out and I start to see yellow heart leaves back to back in various places.  It was amazing.

It’s okay to be different.  I don’t have to do things the old way.  I can respond with my heart.  I am made new.  I can respond in new ways.    He created me to be unique.  He didn’t design me to blend in and appear okay or to make things okay.  He created me to be me.

Who am I?

It just so happened the images I snapped that day were reds and purples along with the yellows, and even those that were similar were not alike.  We are all unique.  Your red doesn’t have to be my red.  Your purple doesn’t have to look like my purple.

I am different.  You are different.  We are beautiful.

If you understand the need to never stand out, to desperately not want to be different, to not want to be recognized… any attention can make your heart anxious, just blend in…. maybe you will hear the beauty of His response in this whisper…

“It’s okay to be different.”

You don’t have to hide.

New day, new way.

The old has gone, and the new is here!

Be who I designed you to be.

Be new.

Be you with all of your little girl heart.

Be you.

Be beautiful you.

Ephesians 4:20-24 (NLT)  

But you did not learn anything like this from Christ. If you have heard of Him and have learned from Him, put away the old person you used to be. Have nothing to do with your old sinful life. It was sinful because of being fooled into following bad desires.  ~Let your minds and hearts be made new.~  You must become a new person and be God-like. Then you will be made right with God and have a true holy life.

 

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A Path to Rest

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I thought I was breathing.  I exhaled.  My soul was taking in nourishment.  Deep cleansing nourishment.  I started dreaming.

and then…

Last Thursday I woke up and felt a deep dark heaviness surround me.  I grabbed colored pencils to take to work with me that morning because I wanted to draw what it felt like to show my counselor.  Having just returned from Mexico where many of the roads were cobblestone …I had planed to draw a narrow path of bright cobblestone rocks, and along the path would be birds, rainbows, flowers ….and as I walked along this path I had a pink umbrella covering me and all of these beautiful things were under the umbrella and the path was shimmery sparkle, but all that surrounded this narrow path was a foggy darkness.  A Heavy Darkness, and it was pressing in on the path.   That was what it felt like that morning.

I took the colored pencils to work but was so busy I never did anything with them. I headed to my appointment and on the drive there as I was switching channels, I heard this song for the first time  – “Human”, by Christina Perri.  It hit a nerve.  A very raw nerve.

“I can hold my breath.”

That is the first line in the song.  Then the chorus, “But, I’m only human, and I bleed when I fall down.” and later…  “I can turn it on.  Be a good machine.  I can hold the weight of worlds if that is what you need, be your everything.  I can do it!  I can do it!!”

Hearing this song was overwhelming.  Music does that to me.  It screams the things I dare to utter.

I made it up the steps holding emotion and opened the door to this on the wall.  I was all alone in the waiting room.  I stood there and took a picture.  It was my vision.  This narrow bright path surrounded by a foggy darkness.

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I tried to explain it to her even though I am not sure I even understand it all myself.  I feel shielded and protected and loved by God.  I feel like He is carrying me.

But I am so afraid.

So much fear.  I don’t want to be afraid.  I struggle to even say what I am afraid of but the fear is intense and its surrounding that path.   When I left and was headed home, a huge storm came through and it was pouring so hard that traffic had almost stopped completely on the interstate.  All you could see was flashing lights in front of you.  It was loud and intense on the outside …but I was dry, covered, protected.  Safe inside.

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I was encouraged after the session and later posted verses with the path picture on Instagram to remind me of His goodness along that path.  Yes, I am only human.  But HE is my Lord. He guides me and protects me.  He leads me in the way that time has proven true (Psalm 139:24)

I don’t have to hold my breath anymore.    On this path with Him, there is fresh air for me to breathe.  Air that smells like cotton candy.  Air that reaches my depleted spaces to replenish and restore.

~Fear~

On Sunday, we had a “Nail it to the Cross” service at church from Colossians 2:7-14.  I took my paper and I nailed FEAR to that cross.  I have seen His Power and His Might and His Provision firsthand and I know I don’t have to be afraid.  The human in me knows that I will be afraid.  But, I am surrendering it to Him.  I took my fear and then pounded it with that nail and with each pound it reverberated my insides.

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I wish I could tell you that I am not afraid now.  I’d be lying.  I am afraid, but I am breathing.  This bright narrow path limits me.  It pauses me to rest.  To remove distractions and obstacles.  To move carefully and to move slow.  In fact, on Monday the book arrived.  I waited until everyone was in bed and then I opened it.  I held it, flipped it open and read.  I sat quietly and stared.  I read some more.  My husband looked over at me and said,  “What are you doing?  It’s been two hours?”   I had only read a few pages, but I was breathing.  Deep.  Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

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Jeremiah 6:16

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

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