Dialogue with a Persistent God

God never gives up on us, but if we’re truthful, sometimes we give up on Him. Whether it be an intentional or conscious decision, it happens and our dialogue with our engaging God falls to the wayside. Sometimes for simple reasons, like our busy schedule. Other times it’s rooted in anger, fear, confusion or defiance. In those cases we take out our problems on God and when we don’t find the answers we need, we block Him out and set out to find them without Him. It’s the easiest way to deal with it, right? Give God the silent treatment while we lick our wounds or try to come up with a solution on our own.

My experience of these wilderness times, of which there have been two this year alone, is that it’s a lonely existence. I was created to be connected to the God who made me. Who knows me fully and loves me wholly, despite myself. During these low and uncommunicative periods I don’t really ask anything of God. I just carry on in my own independence because it wouldn’t be fair to only talk to Him when I need something. I mean He’s not a bloody genie, right?

Well, in my most recent bout of tantrum throwing and silent treatment, the joke was on me…

It had been more than a few weeks, maybe even a couple of months, since I had really given God the time of day. I was stuck because I so wanted to pray for my friends that were going through tough situations, and I wanted to reach out to them, but I didn’t feel I was in a position to. How could I share about a God that I wasn’t even talking to? And though I didn’t think I could pray for myself during this time, could I pray for others? Is that allowed? I was struck with sadness and confusion, so I wrote. I put it down in my journal with simple words. I didn’t pray but I reached out in a very passive way.

I didn’t expect anything but I got it off my chest. Then God did that thing He does; He showed up. During my work day a friend sent me an email with words that she felt compelled to share with me. Her encouragement could only have been God, for she relayed to me such specific encouragement that was so incredibly relevant, and that she couldn’t have known that I was struggling with. She lives in a different time zone, half a world away, and she was able to speak into my life. She stepped out in faith when I was being stubborn with my own.

When I’ve felt so far away from God and felt that He wouldn’t be able to find me if He tried, He’s spoken to me in the very way that He knows I will listen. In the two bad phases of this year, he spoke to me through people and they were spot on every time. People that are overseas and know nothing of what I’m going through, each time. He speaks in a way I can trust, and in a way that cannot be doubted. He knows what I need.

This propelled me forward in to a deeper and more intimate relationship of dialogue and studying. Our God fights for us and is always looking for ways to speak to us, whether we are playing our part or not. I have been so humbled and amazed at how patient and persistent our Father God is and that He doesn’t give up on us. If you have gone quiet on Him, reach out in the only way you know how. Or don’t. Either way, your silence won’t last long because God will follow you to the ends of the earth.

If there is anything I have learned from those seasons of little or no dialogue with God, it’s that His love for us is relentless and His faithfulness trumps our disbelief every time. So remember that even if you give up on him, for a day or a year, He will never give up on you.

***

How does God best speak to you? Do you ever struggle with your faith and keeping up consistent dialogue with God? What happens when you doubt?

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Guest Post: In Line With Our Dreams…Or Not

There’s not a lot to say here other than I totally adore this girl. We met in our early London days and so much has changed in our lives since, but our friendship has only grown. Check out her words, coming from the girl living the good and bad days of her dream. You can read more about her at the end of the post. -Micaela

Here’s the way I like to think about myself in relation to my dreams, and about the line that connects me to them: Strong, solid, as though I’m in a boat and that line is a sturdy chain reaching down to the ocean floor.

With my dreams as an anchor at the end.

After all, isn’t that what Paul says in Hebrews? “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Now here’s the way I more often feel in relation to my dreams: Weak, wavering, as though I’m ten years old again and that line is attached to a capricious kite. The kite being my dreams.

There’s hardly any wind to lift the dumb thing off the ground, and when a breeze does pick up, the kite dips and dives and drops away from me, forever uncontrollable. Up when things go right and I hear back from editors (as a freelance writer, this isn’t always the case); down when things don’t and my inbox is empty.

But a little while ago, I came across a verse, another classic from Paul, that began to change my perspective: “The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.” (Colossians 1:5, MSG).

There were a lot of words in there I didn’t recognise, not when it comes to feeling secure in my dreams, at least: Never slack, tightly tied, taut.

Each phrase paints a picture of a kite filled to the max with wind, soaring so high it’s actually pulling at the spindle of string in your hand. Certainly not the measly, homemade kite I often feel stuck with, especially when another round of doubts and questions kick up:

Am I really a writer? Will my book ever be published? What am I doing with my life?

Sound familiar?

But Paul’s verse was a revelation – that no matter how far away I sometimes feel from realizing my dreams, if I stay grounded in a perspective of heaven and continually acknowledge my true purpose here on earth, then I’m closer to my dreams than I think.

Pursuing your dreams isn’t easy. Keeping the faith often feels more like a roller coaster of emotions. But that’s where things like belief and hope come into play.

Because ultimately, the spool of kite string isn’t in our hands. It’s in God’s.

——-

Candace Rose Rardon is a writer and photographer with a passion for travel and adventure. After finishing her Masters in Travel Writing from London’s Kingston University, she celebrated by driving an auto-rickshaw 3,000 kilometers across India. Thankfully she lived to write about it and can’t wait to see where her dreams take her next. Read about her travels at The Great Affair and on Twitter.

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Work-in-Progress

I’m figuring out what I think about Sin.

I’m figuring out how to live by Grace.

I’m figuring out where I stand on Calvanism, Arminianism, and every other theology there is.

I’m figuring out what it means to truly love and faithfully follow God.

I’m figuring how to live by the Spirit, and not man-made Christianity.

I’m figuring out how to show Christ in a real way, while being totally crippled by my own humanity and incompetence at the same time.

That’s the truth of it, and because I’m just figuring it out, I can be very mediocre. I sin every single day, some more than others.  I’m not going to lie to cover it up, or tell you that I’ll change. Some weekends I drink too much, I occasionally drop the F-bomb just for effect, I’ve kissed strangers before. Those are the sins we zero on and gossip about, right? Yep, done a bunch of them that I won’t list here.

But my other struggles, that are just as sinful? Unforgiveness, gossip, rudeness, impatience, resentment, gluttony, envy, judgement, unfaithfulness, bitchiness. Unseen or seen, all sin is the same in the eyes of God. The only difference is the consequence that comes with it and how other people (also flawed) judge it.

God forbid, I’ve done this whole walk as a Christian. It’s not my big dirty past, some of it is very much my present life. Forgive me for that and I’ll forgive you for thinking I’m a crappy Christian.

am a crappy Christian according to society’s definition of the word. Thankfully, I’m not looking to please people. I’m looking to please my God who sees my heart, sees all my brokenness and sees how far I’ve come. He knows I will always fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23), but as long as I’m leaning hard on Him, I’m doing good.

Some days I bring Him glory, and I pray that as time passes that evolves to most days. As the weeks, months, years go by, God will continue to change me. I will continue to sin less, but I will never be sinless.

I’m not where I would like to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. For all my self-deprecation, I can see that I’m doing well (my best) on this journey of life, and of that I’m pleased. I’m not squeaky clean, but Jesus doesn’t ask for squeaky clean. He asks for followers and for us to have faith, and He desires us as we are.

So if you’re also a work-in-progress too and you’re discouraged, be assured that in all of your humanity and bad decisions, He loves you. He is willing to meet you where you are. Heck, we’re all the same, just figuring it out best as we can.

Thoughts? Criticisms? Wisdom? 

That Gut Feeling

When something is meant to be, you can’t go against it.

You know the feeling, where your heart burns because it’s the truest thing you’ve ever known? Maybe it’s also the riskiest thing you’ve ever thought, and it has the potential to go terribly wrong. That’s even better. And you can’t help but go and do it, because you just know. It’s the greatest and worst feeling in the world!

But you must listen to your instincts, even if you don’t want to. Because really, deep down, you do want to. You want to know why you feel this strongly and if there’s anything in it. Well, as the old cliché goes, you won’t know until you try. But usually those really strong feelings are right. They don’t come around often but it’s a pretty big deal when they do. From my experience, anyway…

It was end of 2007 and I had just finished high school in my hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. My heart was set on moving to London after I had been talking with a family about becoming their nanny in the new year. But (there’s always a but), I had no money, no visa or passport and I was meant to be starting work in the UK in a mere 4 weeks time. Plus, moving across the world seemed a little drastic, right? In circumstance, everything was going against me. But God had spoken and I listened, because I knew in my Spirit it was the right thing. In my eyes I had no other choice.

Everyone doubted and questioned that I had heard right, including my supportive mum who had always trusted me in the past. But He had said I would get the British passport that I was barely liable for, and I knew that I would. I just knew. Partly because God is faithful to His promises, and because there was a fire in my gut that couldn’t be extinguished. I simply had to go.

Then my future employer apologetically asked me if we could move my starting date back a few months, as things had changed for them in London. Little did she know that this was perfect for me! It meant I could save some money and it bought me more time to wait on that much coveted British passport I had been promised.

Yes I was scared of moving so far away to effectively no one. I had a one way flight and no back-up money. If it didn’t work out, I was screwed. But thankfully I did have a job to start and a house to live in. That was more than enough, because the ferocity of my desire to travel and my faith in my conviction outweighed all fear.

Obviously I got the passport, and moving to London is the best thing I’ve ever done. It will always be high on the list of my big life decisions, because it was purposed and the timing was absolutely perfect. God knew what was coming and he took me out of my home-town and my only known reality, so that I could flourish as a young woman.

These words do not justify what I went through before coming here, and this ‘knowing’ business may have been an experience unique to me, though I have a feeling it isn’t. I suspect you know this fire I speak of, either because you’ve been there or you’re there now.

I trusted God and I trusted myself. If there’s a fire in your belly to take a big step, probably with large repercussions (in either direction), I encourage you to trust in what your heart’s telling you. Only you can make these big changes in your life and only you really know what’s right. Don’t be told by anyone.

God is in you, He has given you free choice and He has given you those very real human instincts. Pray to him, submit to Him, trust Him with all your plans.

Then…. Listen to the fire.

Have you ever felt something really strongly and followed your instincts? Share your story in the comments!

That Gut Feeling

When something is meant to be, you can’t go against it.

You know the feeling, where your heart burns because it’s the truest thing you’ve ever known? Maybe it’s also the riskiest thing you’ve ever thought, and it has the potential to go terribly wrong. That’s even better. And you can’t help but go and do it, because you just know. It’s the greatest and worst feeling in the world!

But you must listen to your instincts, even if you don’t want to. Because really, deep down, you do want to. You want to know why you feel this strongly and if there’s anything in it. Well, as the old cliché goes, you won’t know until you try. But usually those really strong feelings are right. They don’t come around often but it’s a pretty big deal when they do. From my experience, anyway…

It was end of 2007 and I had just finished high school in my hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. My heart was set on moving to London after I had been talking with a family about becoming their nanny in the new year. But (there’s always a but), I had no money, no visa or passport and I was meant to be starting work in the UK in a mere 4 weeks time. Plus, moving across the world seemed a little drastic, right? In circumstance, everything was going against me. But God had spoken and I listened, because I knew in my Spirit it was the right thing. In my eyes I had no other choice.

Everyone doubted and questioned that I had heard right, including my supportive mum who had always trusted me in the past. But He had said I would get the British passport that I was barely liable for, and I knew that I would. I just knew. Partly because God is faithful to His promises, and because there was a fire in my gut that couldn’t be extinguished. I simply had to go.

Then my future employer apologetically asked me if we could move my starting date back a few months, as things had changed for them in London. Little did she know that this was perfect for me! It meant I could save some money and it bought me more time to wait on that much coveted British passport I had been promised.

Yes I was scared of moving so far away to effectively no one. I had a one way flight and no back-up money. If it didn’t work out, I was screwed. But thankfully I did have a job to start and a house to live in. That was more than enough, because the ferocity of my desire to travel and my faith in my conviction outweighed all fear.

Obviously I got the passport, and moving to London is the best thing I’ve ever done. It will always be high on the list of my big life decisions, because it was purposed and the timing was absolutely perfect. God knew what was coming and he took me out of my home-town and my only known reality, so that I could flourish as a young woman.

These words do not justify what I went through before coming here, and this ‘knowing’ business may have been an experience unique to me, though I have a feeling it isn’t. I suspect you know this fire I speak of, either because you’ve been there or you’re there now.

I trusted God and I trusted myself. If there’s a fire in your belly to take a big step, probably with large repercussions (in either direction), I encourage you to trust in what your heart’s telling you. Only you can make these big changes in your life and only you really know what’s right. Don’t be told by anyone.

God is in you, He has given you free choice and He has given you those very real human instincts. Pray to him, submit to Him, trust Him with all your plans.

Then…. Listen to the fire.

Have you ever felt something really strongly and followed your instincts? Share your story in the comments!

I’m a Sunday Christian

My best friend called me out tonight. I love it when she does that because that’s what good friends do. This time it was hard to take because she hit me right where it hurt. She was right and I couldn’t deny it.

Let me give you a bit of back story.

I have my good and bad days. I have my good and bad moments. I went to church on Sunday evening and I was having a really good moment. I even tweeted about it, probably a little too righteously. There I was, worshipping Jesus and declaring how much I trusted Him, and really, truly, meaning it. Now that doesn’t happen everyday. We declare these song lyrics in church in faith, even when on the inside we are freaking out about how we’re going to pay the rent. Any honest Christian will tell you that.

But this particular Sunday, I meant it and knew it was true. I’ve had to trust God over the past few months just to get out of bed. And I can hand-on-heart say that He is faithful and He has never left my side. It brought tears to my eyes on Sunday to know that I trusted Him and that this would overjoy Him. I want to overjoy my Lord.

Then what happened? Well, I went home and screwed up all that trusting! I literally forgot what I had just been through at church, all because I saw something I shouldn’t have, and I immediately lost.the.plot. Within moments I was a snotty-nosed, un-trusting and pathetic mess. Poor old me, eh?

That right there, is the perfect example of ‘Sunday Christian’ behaviour. And it was still Sunday! I don’t want to know what kind of Christian that makes me. (Disclaimer: Not the sarcasm, people.)

Long story short, I cried, called my bestie and then fell asleep feeling rather ‘woe is me’. Bring on Monday (today) and cue previously mentioned bestie with ‘What was that tweet about? Did you really mean that or was that for show?’ OUCH. ‘Yes, I really did mean it… and then I came home… and… and.’

I didn’t have a good explanation except that I forgot.

I momentarily forgot the promises and faithfulness of God, and instead I welcomed fear, confusion, and sadness. I was the hostess (with the mostess) for my own spectacular pity party. I would have invited you but you’re probably not depressing enough.

It’s natural to forget and God definitely ain’t upstairs cussing me out for forgetting His goodness. He is right where He’s always been; with me. In that moment when I was hurting, He was holding me. Today he walked beside me because I was strong enough to walk by myself. But He never leaves me and whenever I fall, He is there to lift me back up again.

He wants us to trust Him because it’s the best thing for us, and it allows Him to do so much more in our lives. When we don’t, He doesn’t throw a tantrum and say ‘well, I told you so kiddo’. He is too big and mysterious for us to put into a box and to always understand, but that doesn’t mean what He is doing isn’t good. He teaches us and it’s important that we learn.

I’ve learned from last night, so I journalled it and hopefully next time I’m tempted to throw all my toys out of the pram, I’ll be reminded.

He is good. Please do better than me at remembering on days Monday to Saturday that He is good.

Do you know what I’m talking about? Let me know about your trusting journey in the comments.

Please ‘like’ or tweet this post if you enjoyed reading. Thank you.

A Love Letter [The Invitation]

(I would like to clarify that I didn’t write this for you, I wrote it for me in a special time. Then I remembered that I made a vow to myself and to this blog that I would write on here with relentless honesty, in the hope that it would break down walls, encourage and inspire. This is my letter, yours won’t look like this. God has written you a love letter too, it’s within you somewhere. He loves you, He sees you.)
Dear Micaela,I created you to be beautiful and that you are. You have made me proud since the day you were born, and though sometimes you felt unnoticed, I always noticed you. You are pure of heart, kind, funny and honest. You are mine and I truly delight in you. I am your Daddy, and though you struggle with that word now (yes, I’ve seen you laugh/cringe when others have called me that), there is a time coming when it will flow naturally from your heart and mouth. I’m patient for that day.Micaela, my heart aches for you to understand how much I love you. You truly are the most precious and priceless diamond to me. I created you to shine, and though life has thrown dirt at you and you have tarnished yourself, my purpose for you is ever the same. Does a diamond lose it’s value if it’s soiled in mud? You are still worth the whole world to me, despite the dirt, which I am continuing to remove every single day, as you heal. Shine, my beauty!Let me in to the innermost parts of your heart, because I will never force my way in uninvited. Everyday, seek me and welcome me so that my Holy Spirit can fill your cup to overflowing and show you how valuable you are. No human will ever be able to show you that the way I can, I assure you. I am your source.

You’ve grown up to be a strong and independent woman, but don’t go your own way. Stay close to me, lean hard on me, trust my faithfulness. Let me be your fierce protector and defender, because you’re my daughter and thats what Daddy’s do. I know you’re not used to it, and letting a man love you is a struggle because it’s foreign. And you’re scared, I know. It will take a while but all you need to do is keep whispering yes, because we’re in this together. I will restore the fatherless years; the years that the locusts have stolen.

Precious girl, you make my heart smile. You are a blessing to those around you; you carry light and joy everywhere you go.

I love you,

Father God (your Daddy) xxx
What does God want to say to you?

Confession: I can’t fix myself & I don’t know everything

I like to think I’m pretty emotionally stable. I process my emotions, I don’t run away (I try not to anyway) and I cry a lot.  I’ve even been known to call myself a ‘self-analysing pro’ because I can come up with a reason for every single one of my behaviours. I’ve got my sh*t sorted right?

Wrong. Turns out I am somewhat of an ’emotional perfectionist’ (self-diagnosed, of course. See previous paragraph!). No but seriously, I like to be so in control of my feelings and know exactly why I do everything that I don’t let things happen organically.

This is my greatest blessing and my greatest curse, because while I’m very emotionally ‘in-touch’ (are you loving all this psycho-babble?) I also over-think to the point of insanity and exhaustion.

When I talk to my friends I like to sound like I’ve got it all together. Then in the dark of the night I break down, because emotions and grief work on their own schedule that you can’t really control. Turns out being human has some painful disruptions, and I don’t have my sh*t sorted at all. 

So I told my over-active mind to go on holiday and called in a professional.

Yes, I’ve started seeing a counsellor; someone who has qualifications and actually knows what he is talking about; someone who can help me fix me so I don’t have to do it all by myself.

I went to my first session with a heavy heart; I was sad, lonely and running on empty. On the journey there I prayed ‘Please Lord let this be good for me, let me gain something from this because I’m spent and don’t have any strength left’. God heard me. I sat there and released months worth of tear-stained words to someone who is paid to listen to me. I didn’t feel guilty for ‘dumping’ on him, I just went for it (pray for him, poor guy!). He helped me reach some important conclusions in that very first session and I  left feeling so light I thought I might just fly.

The second session was a little harder, grittier and a hell of a lot more painful. That’s when the good stuff happens though and hey, I’m still alive. During these sessions my pain is justified, understood and accepted, but our (my counsellor’s and mine) ambition is my healing and I’m not allowed to sit in my pain and pity for longer than necessary. I must keep moving forward.

I’d rather be dealing with this at 22 than at 42, 52, 62 when I’ve caused other people pain from my own wounded heart. Have you heard? Hurt people hurt people. All of my hurt has come from hurt people, and out of that hurt I’ve hurt more people. It’s a vicious cycle, BUT I have the power to break it and it’s my choice whether I do or not. No I won’t ever be perfect but the goal isn’t perfection, it’s wholeness in Christ so that I’m not operating everyday life out of brokenness.

You might be thinking ‘gosh she is so honest, telling the blogosphere she is screwed up enough to go to counselling’. If it helps you, then heck yes I am honest enough. Frankly we are all screwed up at least a tiny bit, even if we like to act like we’re not. It’s what makes us beautifully human. 

Here’s a tip sponsored by moi: if you have faced trials in the past that you still haven’t overcome, or if you’ve never been to a counsellor, or just think it would be good for you, then go and talk to someone. Who knows, you may only need one session, or you’ll need loads. Whatever the case, deal with your pain so that it doesn’t deal with you. Also I personally think that if you’re in a relationship then it’s even more important; there is a lot of stuff that comes up when we share our lives intimately with someone, and sometimes they can’t carry our baggage. Oh and because I don’t like to leave anyone out: if you really are emotionally stable and this doesn’t apply to you, then that is great and feel free to ignore this paragraph!

All this was to say it’s nice not having to figure everything out by myself. Yes I still have to think, feel, process. However I am externalising it in a healthy environment instead of running circles in my mind. Oh and in case you were wondering, my over-active mind came back from her holiday and then handed in her notice of resignation. Turns out I don’t need her anymore, anyway!

If you can closely relate to the above and need to talk to someone about it, then feel free email me. Sometimes it’s just nice knowing someone understands and is there to listen. 

Hey You, Be Better!

Sometimes, I’m very impressionable. Occasionally, I make bad choices. Every now and then, I lose sight of who I’m living for.

Most of the time, I know I can be better.

Whoever you are and wherever you are; you can be better too. Don’t get me wrong, you’re already great. Chances are we’re friends if you’re reading this and I’m only friends with great people. (If you’re reading this and you’re not my friend then that is GOOD and you’re great too because it means I’m gaining more readers!)

Trust me, I know my good points and I know I’m already pretty great. But my point is that I can be greater. I can stay the same as I am now but that wouldn’t do me any good, because I can be better.

I’ve realised that I can be very influenced by my world around me to the point that I reduce my ideals and standards according to others, either for their approval or just to fit in.

Then I remember I’m not like everyone else; I am from the world but I am not of the world. I’m living for the audience of One, the One who loves and adores me as I am. The One who believes in me and knows I can be better too. The One who makes me better.

Always be inspired by the great people around you, but never try and be them. Be you.

Don’t excuse yourself from certain behaviour because you saw someone else do it.

Never think of yourself better than anyone; you haven’t arrived and you never will.

And don’t live for the approval of people, you will die trying.

Better is whatever you make it. Better is one step further than where you are now. Your better and my better are probably different. That’s okay.

For me, better is

+ Smiling more on the tube where no one smiles (I am honestly too scared which is ridiculous, I know)

+ Sitting down with the local homeless guy and chatting

+ Giving my friends the time they deserve

+ Living with an open hand

+ Being on time all the time

+ Giving God the praise He deserves

+ Working hard at my craft

+ Living with integrity

+ Persevering, committing

+ Forgiving

+ Giving my very best in my job

+ Worrying less, trusting God more

You get the picture. What is better for you? Define it and live it. But also encourage yourself. It’s a journey. Perfection is not the aim, growth is. That can be one step or five steps, the point is that you’re growing and being better.

St Valentine

I sit and ponder you
In constant wonder
I am in want
Always wanting more
Of your magnificence.

You are above St Valentine
You are the epitomy of love
Love personified
So be my Valentine
Forever thine.

You have this way
It makes me blush
In your transforming light I bloom
In your constant nurturing I flourish
I want to be all that you see
And know me to be.

You are the keeper of my heart
I wouldn’t have it any other way
You are my Valentine
Forever thine.