I don’t know how to write this blog post without being personal.
Many of the extracts over the past few weeks have either left me untouched or I have actively disagreed with the implied emphasis in them. Others have made sense and triggered interesting thought-processes.
This one… this one has struck right to the heart of my current situation.
I have begun 2013 with a huge question mark over my future path.
We moved house in August 2012, after 27 years in our previous home. It hasn’t been easy. However, it’s also been the best thing we’ve done for many years.
In the 6 weeks running up to Christmas I have been travelling a very painful road as God has uncovered and then healed an awful lot of shit from my past. I have learned, for the first time in my life, that anger rightly expressed can be a cleansing, healing thing. I have learned that I no longer need to allow myself to be the scapegoat for the damaged-ness of others or for the abusive behaviour of others. I have learned to move out of my head (I retreat into over-thinking when under pressure… there’s been an awful lot of over-thinking going on in the past 3 decades or so!) and into my heart. I have learned to wait, to watch, to be still and to accept each stage of the process as it happens, embracing it fully. I have experienced the utter love and acceptance of God in Jesus at a far more profound level than ever before. And while all of this has been going on I have found myself in situations where I have been reaching out to others in their pain and have been used by God to help them also move towards healing.
At the candlelight carol service on the evening of 23rd December, the final item was the young teenagers with their puppets ministry – the puppets were miming to a recording of the Slade song “Merry Christmas Everybody”, complete with foam machine blowing mock snow over the congregation. And the line in that song “Look to the future now. It’s only just begun.” hit me with the force of a sledgehammer.
I don’t know what the future holds for me. I do know it will be different – I am different. And as I’ve been sitting quietly with various possibilities I have felt, more than anything, inadequate. I know so little, have so little to offer. Some of the options seem terrifying and carry with them a fear of failure. And yet… and yet… today’s extract from Nouwen, and the story of the feeding of the multitude both speak to me of the sufficiency of God in the face of our own insufficiency.
The little boy with his five loaves and two fishes gave Jesus all that he had – and Jesus took that and blessed it and with it fed a multitude. So also with us – we give to Jesus all that we are and He will take us and bless us and with us and through us feed the world.
To focus on Jesus is not to turn our backs on the world – it is to allow Him in and through us to reach out to the world. And as we experience His goodness to us so we will have so much to share with all whom we meet.
May we, today and every day, be so rooted and grounded in the love of Christ that we are free to respond to the needs of those around us as Christ would do. For we are His hands, His eyes, His feet.
And another touch of Disney… 🙂
PS and if you’re the praying type, I’d appreciate your prayers as I discern the way ahead.
And here are other people posting on the Advent Book Club: