I live in Scotland, and this year, it has been a long long winter. Granted, much of our weather is on the colder and rainier side throughout the year, however, we had some of the heaviest snow we’ve had for a few years. Now, that in itself wouldn’t be so bad had some of these snow days not stretched right into March, with rainy and wintry spells during early April as well. There has also been forecasts of snow to follow towards the end of April and even into May!
So if you’re from a warmer country and think it unusual that we walk around in summer clothes on what you would consider a sunny yet cold day, perhaps even wintry on your scale, you might understand a little better how excited we get to have our little dose of warmth and sunlight.
I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to finally see some sunny days as we approach the beginning of May, and we know that we can’t predict a long hot summer, and that we have forecasts of rain intermittently between those sunnier days, so we really do lap up the goodness when we can. At last, the parks are full, people are out walking their dogs, running, skateboarding, cycling, meeting with friends, and the birds are noticeably chirpier as they sing their little springtime hearts out!
There are few things in life sweeter than basking in the warmth of the sun streaming through your window. Time seems to slow down on days like this, especially when we have a cool breeze as well so that we can enjoy the warmer weather without feeling stifled by it. We wake up slowly into life again. Time slows, and the simple things, like listening to the sound of birds, relaxing in the warmth, enjoying nature, and taking time to notice the here and now, take on a richer significance in our experience.
The best things in life are free, and we embrace them when we can, for many are not so fortunate to be blessed with both sweet weather and peaceful circumstances….we are not cocooned from the troubles going on in the world, and yet, the sweetness of the simple things in life is still to be enjoyed and appreciated, that as we are refreshed in our souls, we can give out more love to a world that so greatly needs it.
So my little gift is to share with you the joy of spring’s arrival in a cold country….the weather forecast for tomorrow is rain…so we make the best of each season of life as it comes to us, and share with each other the goodness along the way. Be blessed. xx
p.s. what is spring like where you are? 🙂
Weren’t we all created to soar? And yet how many of us feel like we have been buffeted by too many a storm, have had our wings clipped, and our hearts broken? Maybe the dreams we once had never took flight, and now we don’t see much point in ever seeking to soar the way we deep inside feel or wish that we were meant to.
Do you feel like that? The world we live in is replete with things that might dull our sparkle, burst our dreams, and render us unable to soar. Have you experienced this? The unkind words spoken to or about you perhaps not long ago, perhaps decades ago, that just don’t seem to leave you, affect your mental health, your view of yourself as valuable or worthy, your view of how others see you, and the opportunities you let yourself (or don’t) take. Maybe you have been bound and caged by more than just words (not that words themselves aren’t powerful and can be deeply harmful)…perhaps you have suffered abuse, physical harm, neglect, fear, uncertainty, and a whole host of things that I couldn’t perhaps imagine.
But somehow, you have found yourself here. Right now. Today. Reading this blog. And you feel like you are a failure or are not good enough, that your life hasn’t amounted to very much, and maybe you just need a big friendly virtual hug from a friend you don’t know, but who longs to encourage you. If you are that person, thank you for being here, thank you for reading this, and thank you for being you. Do you know what? I am that person too…and that’s why I’m reaching out to you. I’m not here to preach to you and I’ll mention this only briefly in this particular post, but you can find more in my ‘faith posts’, however, the Only true way to be released from your prison or cage is by the unfailing LOVE of Jesus Christ, and however long that journey might be for you, I hope you one day find rest in His love for you.
That being said, you might be wondering what the title of this post refers to. The small things are the big things. Friend, we may have been bruised, broken, tossed by tempest, storm and winds of circumstance and change, we may have felt (or even been) caged, imprisoned, oppressed, mistreated, made to feel unlovely, unlovable, unwanted, undesirable, unworthy, and so much less that we actually are.
But, listen….we are here. Now. And do you know why the small things are the big things? Because every time you get up again after being knocked down, you are doing something incredible. However small you might feel your achievements are, if you have taken the next breath through anxiety, depression, darkness or fear, you have made a great statement – you *are* worthy, you *can* do it, you *will* persevere, and you *are* special.
If you have continued on despite feeling like you have ‘fallen behind’ your peers, you are exceptional. If you have faced opposition from within and without, if you have not given up, if you got up when you felt like disappearing, if you went outside when you felt like hiding, if you spoke to someone when you felt afraid, if you took care of yourself, your health, and did the next small thing when it was most difficult to do so, whether through depression, anxiety, fear, pain, loss, grief, loneliness or whatever it may be, you did a great BIG thing, and dear friend, if you did it before, you can, you will do it again. So don’t underestimate yourself or the value of your small achievements…for at the end of the day the small things are actually the big things, and sometimes the small decisions and choices we make are the ones that will change our course and change our lives! Be blessed. xx
God, the Living God, desires a relationship with us. Individually. He communicates with us in so many ways, through His creation, the intricate weavings of nature around us, through people, our circumstances, and that ‘still small voice’ within.
And yet the clearest communication we have with our Great God, our Loving Heavenly Father is through His Word and times spent in prayer.
How much God desires us! To be with us! His heart could not bear heaven without us, so Jesus Christ came to be among us, die for us, and bring us to new life in Him at such immense cost to Himself.
His arms open wide to us in His suffering for us on the cross dispels our doubts over whether or not God could love us, whether He wants to hear from us, to be with us, to take care of us.
And yet, we do struggle. For those among us who desire a deeper relationship with the God Who loves us so much, whether or not we are yet convinced of His love for us, for those of us who are seeking to find a way back to closeness with God, and for those who want to know whether there is a God out there Who hears us, what small steps can we take in our journey forwards to Him, Who Is waiting, arms outstretched, to Love us, sacrificially love us (agape love) for our own good, as no one else ever could love us?
Might I suggest a simple step if you are struggling to pray? Pray the Scriptures, the True Word of the Living God, found in the Bible, back to Him. Perhaps begin with a psalm or a proverb, or some of the beautiful, passionate, heartfelt and triumphant expressions of the apostle Paul in his letters to the churches, expressing the Greatness of the God he once was opposed to, and yet in Whose purpose and love he has forever been taken up in, to the point of counting everything else as less than rubbish in comparison with the greatness of knowing Christ.
Start small if you need to, knowing that God loves you, hears you, and also loves to hear from you! Ponder each truth as you slowly pray it back to God, talk over it with Him, and listen.
Sometimes the seemingly simplest things yield the deepest pleasures. Be blessed. Christ loves you and died for you and Is the gateway of your life with the Father, by the Holy Spirit. Much love. xx
It’s 12.57am, and I can’t sleep. It is not insomnia as such, but more of an underlying anxiety and restless or nervous fear. I know there is nothing to fear. My Great God shelters me under the shadow of His Wing, and covers me with His Almighty protection. However, I have had times over the years of quite troubled sleep, and perhaps these feelings of unease are remnants of that. And yet, my Beautiful God speaks through the darkness to say: “Peace. My Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give unto you, do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.
He calls us to “consider the birds of the air” who do not sow nor reap nor gather into barns” and yet, our “Heavenly Father feeds them”. I hope the picture above brings you some feelings of calm, peace and joy. This afternoon a friend came over for a cup of tea and a chat, and we spoke about solitude, community and retreat. I told her about the walk in which I took these photographs and how it touched my heart to see that these beautiful birds, this little squirrel were so uniquely cared for by God. Having an interest in photography and a passion for capturing beautiful moments of beautiful things, I am able to hone in on the detail and marvel over the intricacy of a bird’s feathers, the ridges on its feet and tiny claws, and just how wonderfully designed the life around me is.
In a world where there is so much noise, uncertainty and fear, it can be hard to find peace. There is so much that feels tumultuous, uncertain, frightening, terrifying even for those people living in war zones, areas of unrest, famine, drought, violence, and sadly the list goes on and on… We tend to think of peace as the absence of conflict, of calm and steady waters, of our circumstances all in alignment when all is well. However, this surface calm is not the true Peace that our souls long for. We need an anchor of Peace for our souls, for we are all at some point in our lives tossed upon restless waters. I searched long and hard for years to find peace, and just as a bubble on a stream, such peace was so fragile, and temporary, certain to burst and vanish with the slightest friction. Temporary peace or calm means that we are forever restless in the ongoing pursuit of calm. The same goes for happiness or joy, of love, of acceptance. However, I have found, or been found by, a Peace that Is enduring, and that is a tangible, real and experienced comfort to my soul at the deepest level. This Peace is the very Person of Jesus Christ Himself. He Is with us.
We are called to “seek peace and pursue it”, and I believe the only real way of doing this is in our pursuit of God, and in our resting in Him. However, there is something to be said about drawing aside from a busy world if and when we can, and to take time out, to pursue quiet surroundings, times of focused reflection and sharing, times for creativity, healing, letting go, rejuvenation, of solitude, and of companionship.
My friend actually came over today as we are planning a spiritual and creative “staycation retreat”, perhaps for three or four days, as something we can pursue and encourage each other through, together.
The process itself is quite special, as I have not found it a common thing to find people with whom these things can be shared with.
And so, as we reach the mid-point of a somewhat wintry feeling April, I continue on with my monthly themes – this month’s being hospitality and planning a creative and spiritual retreat.
I look forward to bringing you on this journey with me as we venture onwards together into quieter, more relaxing terrain.
For anyone joining this series, I am an amateur home cook, and for most of my life I have been vegetarian, however, more lately, I have been moving towards more of a vegan / plant-based diet. Therefore, this has taken me on a journey of experimentation, to create my own quick, easy, healthy vegan recipes […]