Small: how being small can be the most freeing thing of all

Small defined my entry into the world as one of two tiny, premature, non-identical twin baby girls. Looking more like a skinned rabbit than a human being; not a pretty sight for parental eyes.

Yet God has taken what was an unwanted human accident of birth and revealed He had planned a life for me all along.

I began small and have stayed that way. I was a girl scared of her own shadow, who lived within the pages of books and deep inside her own imagination. Maybe you can relate?

An introvert with occasional extrovert tendencies – like singing to her next-door neighbours (yes, really) and leading school assemblies.

In a life lived in a minority way, dwelling in compact homes, with ambition reduced by adverse circumstances, it seems I wasn’t destined for greatness.

Although I remained a shrinking violet, on the inside I ached to fit in and belong, rather than being an edge dwelling girl-cum-woman on the margins.

Many years were spent anguishing over being small in every way as life compressed hope and society put me into boxes with labels like ‘disabled’ and ‘insignificant’.

I broke out of them now and then, raised a pipsqueak protest. Then around 3 years ago I began blogging, sharing my writing heart to heart – in a small way of course.

Allowing creativity that had lain dormant to finally be expressed as a writer and poet. I also woke up to the fact that God wants you and me to give voice to His life, light and redeeming power in us as we live out our ordinary lives.

God wants you and me to give voice to His life, light and redeeming power in us. Click To Tweet

Gradually, I grew more confident and confiding, opened up about my painful past -formerly a veiled, secret thing – in the hope of encouraging others to know they are not alone with their struggles.

small - window of freedom WoJA doorway opened. A window of freedom. A gap of grace appeared. A way to live small and be large in God’s sight.

I take comfort in the relative obscurity and anonymity of my quiet corner of the blogosphere. And I take heart in knowing someone may benefit from reading the words I share. Because in the outpouring of our words we can help and encourage other hurting, wounded souls.

God takes, shapes, renews and restores our broken lives by His goodness and grace. Click To Tweet

God has required me to be small in other ways as He asks for a daily surrender to Him, a laying down of hopes, dreams and plans so He can shape and enlarge them into more than I ever imagined.

If I, a chronically sick woman can see fruit and a ministry developing from learning to yield to God, then my friend, just think what He can do through you.

Small may seem ordinary and insignificant but it’s the way of the cross as we follow Jesus. It’s a releasing of all we are and can be into God’s hands. It’s an act of faith mirrored on Christ’s self-emptying.

It’s freeing ourselves from rivalry, comparison, envy and jealousy as we learn to live with holy contentment and rest in our smallness in the eyes of the world. Small is allowing God to be great in us, to be beauty in brokenness, strength in our weakness, hope in our despair.

Small is allowing God to be great in us, to be beauty in brokenness, strength in our weakness. Click To Tweet

It’s seeing how we are already enough, already amazing, unique, precious and oh so special to God. And that’s the most freeing truth of all – a beautiful truth emphasised in Holley Gerth’s latest release (and its book club) which you can discover more about here.

**NOTE** ~ Friends, I’m going to be taking a brief blogging break as we prepare to welcome family for Easter. I’m also feeling very depleted after completing the writing and publishing of my book – which you can access here or in the sidebar of the blog. Feel free to dive into the archives while I am resting my writer voice a while. Normal service will be resumed in a week or so, God willing!

Meanwhile, you can check out my more traditionally Easter focussed posts below. Just click on the links to read them:

  • A reflection (including poetry and prayer) on Christ’s death and its implications over at the Godspace blog.
  • A Holy Week post on the cross, pilgrimage and discipleship at poetryjoy.com.

happy easter - WoJ

29 Comments

  1. I love the passage in 1 Corinthians where Paul says, “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” I’ve always loved this passage because it’s not about us it’s about God’s glory being seen through us. This is what He is doing in you.

    1. Debbie, I love that passage too. It speaks hope into our oh so ordinary souls (at least that’s how we may feel – not how God sees us) and it opens our eyes to the ways in which God can work through a surrendered heart. May you continue to be empowered by Holy Spirit in your daily hours and experience a fresh anointing of grace as you remember and celebrate Christ’s resurrection glory anew this weekend. Thanks for stopping by. It’s lovely to see you here. Bless you, friend!

    1. Hi Becky. It’s good to meet you! Yes, we have multiple biblical examples about being small and how God Himself will lift us up in due time. Thanks for visiting. Have a blessed Easter weekend.

  2. Hello, Joy. I found you today, probably because God wanted me to see my heart in someone else’s words. I’m also a small lover of God, deal with a chronic condition, blog and write even though I’m an introvert among introverts (I can’t read book reviews for my books, even positive ones, because I break out in a sweat and feel sick to my stomach). I’ve just started blogging about my own path, obscure though it may be, and I found your words encouraging, affirming, and filled with the Holy Spirit, because today on my journey He wanted me to stop here and refresh and bask and feel the comfort of a similar soul. Blessings!!

    1. Hi Jill. It’s lovely to meet you! I tried to go over to the blog link you have here (willowtreeharbor.wordpress.com)and it looked like nobody was writing there. But I’ve just found you instead at sojournofthescribe.com which is presumably your new blogging home? It’s good to hear you have found some soul refreshment here. So often God guides me to other sites which seem to have just the message I need to receive that day. May you be blessed as you find the necessary courage to overcome any natural hesitation to share your words on a blog as well as through your books. Hope to see you again, friend! 🙂

  3. Such beautiful words again, Joy. I don’t see you as insignificant at all, but I know how you feel. I feel so small and insignificant, too. But isn’t it amazing that God is using us to encourage hurting souls? You are very special to God and He is using you in big ways. I love this – “Small is allowing God to be great in us, to be beauty in brokenness, strength in our weakness, hope in our despair.” Such hope in this! I hope you have a wonderful time with your family and that you will be given extra strength in your body. May God fill your heart with joy this Easter!

    1. Trudy, I love how God has connected us as twin souls in pursuit of His full freedom in overcoming a painful past. You always breathe such sweet encouragement here and at your blog. I feel so blessed to know you and call you friend. You’re a gift of grace and means of joy to me. May you see how very significant you are to God and to all who know you. Have a joy filled Easter! Xx

    1. Thank you, Trudy! Your kindness and support mean a lot to me. Hope you enjoy reading it! Blessings and hugs. 🙂 x

  4. “I was a girl scared of her own shadow, who lived within the pages of books and deep inside her own imagination.” This sounds like a description of me, and I totally relate to feeling small and insignificant, but also to finding freedom and being able to speak out.
    I’m so glad you’ve been able to find your voice through blogging- your posts are always really encouraging. And I love that God uses what the world considers small and insignificant to do his work and that he can use us in ways beyond what we can imagine.
    Hope you have a lovely Easter and enjoy your time with your family.

    1. Oh, Carly, how I wish you hadn’t experienced these feelings too as a girl. It might sound idyllic as an introvert to lose ourselves in books, but sometimes we live that way because the adult world has become a painful intrusion and we seek a means of retreat and escape. But how I love how you can relate to “finding freedom and being able to speak out”! Thank you for your kind and encouraging comment. When I write about life’s shadow side I often wonder if readers will see the glint of grace glimmers shining through the words. So for you to say my posts are “always really encouraging” means a lot. Bless you, friend! May you have a beautiful Easter break.

  5. Such sweet words, Joy. I know those “small” feelings and they can often make us feel as if God has shelved us. But He uses the small and seemingly insignificant to show Himself mighty and magnificent. So beautiful to see you embracing your calling – knowing that there is nothing small about what a great God writes over our lives. In the light of His glory and grace, small is right where I want to stay. Happy Easter, friend – enjoy and savor your break.

    1. Tiffany, it does feel as if I am embracing my calling, as if all the years of problems and pain have prepared me to give voice to the way God sits with us in the ashes and rebuilds lives from the inside out. I’m nodding and saying a heartfelt ‘Amen’ to “knowing there is nothing small about what a great God writes over our lives.” I see it in you too as you share your words and provide a beautiful testimony of His grace. And I echo your thoughts here: “In the light of His glory and grace, small is right where I want to stay.” I do so with a caveat because the way God is working so powerfully in you right now suggests a higher purpose and a greater degree of exposure whereby many will be blessed by the words of wisdom you share. I see your influence growing beyond all expectations as you walk into the fullness of your God-given calling. Thank you for being here, friend. You bring insightful sharing to this community. A blessed and Happy Easter to you and your loved ones!

      1. Joy…your words are just so kind and a warm hug to my heart this morning. I’m blessed to have such a cheerleader in you. 🙂 I think when our hearts surrender to “small” it gives God the freedom to do those exceedingly abundant things…because we aren’t chasing “big.” Very recently He’s reminded me that He is big enough to handle it ALL, my part is to obey the call, do the work, and then get out of the way. Very practically, it’s much less stressful to let Him handle all the “big” stuff. 🙂 Hugs, dear one.

        1. Tiffany, you write wisdom here. God elevates the humble and reveals Himself large through our seemingly small lives. I love what you say about your part being “to obey the call, do the work, and then get out of the way.” It’s how we should all be playing our part in the scheme of things, with willing obedience and surrender. Yes, it is much less stressful to hand our cares and concerns over to God. And in His eyes it’s all big stuff, each person’s offering contributing to the work of the Kingdom. Hugs returned to you, dear one. I’m blessed to support you and call you friend! 🙂 x

  6. What a tender post, rich with love and recognition, vision and peaceful acceptance. To adapt the old adage: “God things come in small packages.” You inspire me, Joy. I love what you offer in your corner of the blogosphere. I too was small for my age and pushed ahead in school, the youngest in my grade and always feeling I was lagging behind classmates socially/emotionally as well as physically. I pray your Easter break for hosting company also allows sweet rest.

    1. Laurie, it seems I’ve struck a chord with these words about being and feeling small. And it has resonated in your heart too. Thank you so much for your kind encouragement! I love what you offer in your space too; it feeds and nurtures me poetically and spiritually. May you also have a time of sweet rest and soul refreshment in the days ahead.

  7. Such tender, freeing words, my friend. I know the Lord will use them to bless many, as He has blessed you as you’ve come to learn the truth about yourself – how beautiful, and valuable you are in His eyes. Your friendship blesses me daily. May your spirit be restored as you rest – and a very blessed Easter to you and your family!

    1. Thank you, June. That is my hope and prayer. I firmly believe God uses all we experience for us to learn, grow, change, mature and be able to pass encouragement on to others as we speak of the way His love, goodness, grace and mercy have sustained us in life’s hard places. I’m truly blessed by your friendship too. Happy Easter, dear friend! May you receive a fresh anointing of grace and wonder in this season of new life and hope.

  8. I have been blessed over and over by your writing and friendship. I treasure the encouragement you leave for me and the beautiful words that cause me to pause and reflect. May you and your family have a beautiful Easter!

    1. Dear Mary, you are definitely a gift of grace to me and I treasure your words, friendship and encouragement so much. May this Easter bring a fresh perspective on grace and renewed wonder at the hope we have in Christ. Have a safe journey to Nicaragura and know you are being covered in prayer every step of the way as you share your beautiful self there. Looking forward to hearing from you soon! Blessings and hugs. Xx

  9. Thank you for being obedient to write, Joy. I love your words and I love your gentle spirit. I have a daughter who reminds me of you and your love for poetry. Emily Dickinson is her favorite, understandably. Praying for you as you spend your Easter loving others because you love God. 🙂
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    1. Dawn, your sweet daughter is a woman after my own heart because I love Emily Dickinson’s work as well! Thank you so much for your kind words here. I will hold them close on days when health is challenging and words don’t flow so freely. I’m thankful for the way God works in and through us more than we know. Have a blessed Easter, dear friend. 🙂 x

  10. When I think of small, I think of how we are to die to ourselves so He can grow bigger in us. From your words, He see Him ‘large’ in you. What a blessing you are to others who can see this through you including through your gift with words.

    1. Hi Lynn. Yes, we do learn to die to ourselves, often on a daily basis. It can be a painful process, can’t it? The fruit it produces is for God to manifest Himself large in us and out to others. And that is mostly hidden work too. Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging words! Our hope and prayer is to be a means whereby others can see vestiges of the grace and light of Christ in us and thereby be drawn to know Him for themselves. Bless you for stopping by, friend.

  11. Hi Joy ~ I’m guessing if we’re all really honest with ourselves, we’re all feeling small in one way or another. Thanks for going there with this beautiful post.

    Blessings as you rest from your labors …

    1. Hi Linda. I totally agree with you. Life has a way of rendering us small or making us feel as if we are. Sometimes God gives us a fresh perspective on it which is truly freeing. Thanks for stopping by. Now that family have flown and life is a little less hectic, I’m slowly taking up the reins of blogging again, one small step at a time. Rest remains a top priority as I ease my way back. Blessings to you, friend.

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