Summer: life lessons arising from a challenging summer

Summer is passing in a blur. Not the sort you see when Olympic athletes run fast as the wind, more of a segueing into a new routine where days blend endlessly together.

Instead of the usual busyness of penning my thoughts on a blog and enjoying social media engagement, I’ve been living a rather covert life for a while.

Now as I come up for air, blink mole-like at the unaccustomed light, I begin to see a few ways in which these weeks are shaping my soul…

Serving

My husband usually provides the daily living help I need and the space to write. After his serious spinal surgery in early summer our positions were somewhat reversed. On his return from hospital I was thrust into supporting him instead, with help from family, friends and neighbours.

The nurse in me came alive again as I transitioned from being predominantly there for others (in a sharing, writing, praying, encouraging capacity), to diverting all  my attention toward him. We became closer, more understanding of one another’s needs.

Being given a fresh perspective from God can shake or make us Click To Tweet

Because my life is sedentary, cerebral rather than physical, it’s been tough to be more active than usual. I’m feeling exhausted and awed by God’s grace, His sustaining power to provide for us in challenging circumstances. Our situation also enabled others to support, pray and be available in new ways, which is humbling and heartening.

Hiddenness

summer hiddenness WOJ - ACWAs a writer, encourager and active social media person, being cut off and disengaged is quite painful. I took a blogging break, little knowing I would barely write a word for two months. Inspiration vanished into the ether and I had to accept it might not return for some time.

I’ve chafed on the inside, because invisibility is part of having chronic illness, never mind deliberately choosing to be absent. Maybe you feel the same when you take a break from writing or following your usual pursuits. We ache to be known, accepted and appreciated, don’t we?

The One who knows and loves us most tends to lead us into places of greater dependence on Him in order to reveal His perspective – how God alone can fill the aching void inside…

**To read the rest of this post and discover what else I am learning, please follow me over to the ACW, ‘More than Writers’ blog where I’m honoured to be sharing my words today. Just click here to join me there. Thank you!**

10 Comments

  1. Welcome back, Joy! I missed you. I love hearing about what God is teaching you through these summer months. I am also finding this so true – “We grow most by abiding, stillness, silence and active listening to God. He gently calls us away from outward and inner rush and hurry, from stress and strain and fear of missing out.” Abiding in Him is the soul rest we need. May He give you rest in every way and further healing for both you and your husband! Hugs!

    1. Thanks, Trudy. The feeling is mutual. I’ve missed you, too, my friend! And I hope and pray you are being strengthened in every way as you abide and rest deeper in God. It’s hard to be absent, isn’t it? Yet sometimes we just need space for our souls to be and to breathe, with no other pressing agenda. This is an ongoing need in me as I wait on the Lord for His timing in knowing when (and what) to write and share again. There is definitely healing going on, thankfully, but it’s very much a process rather than an end point. I really appreciate seeing you here and am grateful for your faithful prayers. Praying for you, too, as you unwind, rest and recover. Looking forward to savouring your words when you feel able to share what this season is teaching you. Hugs! xo

  2. Hello Joy! I agree with Trudy; it’s so good to “see” you back here again! I can relate to so much of what you have said here, and this jumped out so vividly to me: “I’ve chafed on the inside, because invisibility is part of having chronic illness, never mind deliberately choosing to be absent” But yet, what a Blessing to see how open you have been to hear God’s voice through this whole season. Your ending statement struck me as summing up so well the way that a physical slowing down is meant to affect our Spiritual perspective also: “I am learning to pay more attention to: colour, pattern, texture, subtlety, shadow, silence, and how a skewed view can provide a fresh perspective on life, beauty and creativity”. Oh may I open my heart to His changes as well! –Blessings and **Hugs** to you!

    1. Hello Bettie! It’s good to be back to blogging again, though it may take some time before I return to my previous schedule. Thank you so much for leaving a lovely comment and letting me know what has spoken to you here. However, I truly wish you weren’t able to relate to the part about having chronic illness and the way it makes us feel. But we are both discovering just how much “a physical slowing down is meant to affect our Spiritual perspective”, as we are also given grace to cope with chronic illness and the necessary slowing down it imposes on our days. It intrigues me to see how you’ve viewed my summing up, because it was left open to a purely literal artistic/creative interpretation or one whereby life lessons offer a Spiritual perspective as well. I’ll be praying that your fervent desire to open your heart to God’s changes for you will be abundantly answered. Blessings and **Hugs** to you! xo

  3. Ah, dear friend across the sea…I can so relate to your words: “I took a blogging break, little knowing I would barely write a word for two months. Inspiration vanished into the ether and I had to accept it might not return for some time.” I too have been dry…restless…questioning…not wanting to blog. A post on May 16 sat alone on my site till I posted July 13 and now I am quiet again. God is leading me in new, unchartered directions the result of which is yet unknown, but every step along this way reveals to me more and more how much I need HIM…and how he is growing me into HIS woman. All is good. Praying for you and hubby to be blessed today and always, spirit, soul and body. <3 xxoo

    1. Hello dear friend across the sea. It’s so good to see you, Sheila! I’m sorry to hear you’ve also been “dry..restless…questioning” and not knowing when God might give you the green light to begin blogging again. The most telling thing about your time out is in these words: “God is leading me in new, uncharted directions”, because they convey the confusion, the need for clarity and an awareness of change in the offing. When God brings us to a new thing we often have to release something else that has captivated our time and attention in order to have hands open for what is coming next. It sounds as if the spiritual journey you are on is one of growth in the dark places, of hope being birthed from uncertainty and a promise of becoming more like the woman He intends you to be. That’s an awesome thing, indeed! No wonder you can attest that “All is good.” Thank you for your prayers. We value them greatly, especially as he takes another backward step after overdoing things recently. Such is our life, forever moving back and forth as we lean on Christ the solid Rock! I’m so thankful we have the stability of our faith to cling to. Blessings, hugs and prayers. Xox

  4. Beautiful! I took a peek over to read the rest of your words. I have been hearing a lot recently about Shelley Millers book and I am sure this is one that I would benefit from greatly. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about the book.

    Your summer, though not what you imagined or planned, sounds like such a gift. There is so much to learn in the pause and also so much to gain from reversing roles. It seems like you still have an outlet for some creativity and your writing today showed me that you have this beautiful gift that God will continue to use.

    I am blessed by your honesty and love that you stepped back into writing at least for today. Thank you for catching us up on your summer.

    1. Hi Mary, it’s a joy to see you here! I’ve really missed connecting with you like I used to. Yes, I am beginning to see the gift hidden within this summer of being set aside for a different purpose, and I sense it will continue yielding lessons as I learn to listen better to what my days are saying to me.

      I love this thought you share: “There is so much to learn in the pause and also so much to gain from reversing roles” because it reinforces the thoughts God has already given in the pulling back and pressing closer into Him.

      It’s also been a revelation to see how creativity can be expressed in different ways, especially as I particularly favoured words before. Now as I pause and ponder, take snapshots of my day, keeping memories of scenes from life around me, I breathe a sigh of relief for being able to create in a whole new way. I am truly blessed by your visit and beautiful comment. Hope to reconnect with you again as soon as possible. xo

    1. Dolly, I was pleased to be your blogging neighbour recently and have an opportunity to reconnect with you. it’s good to see you here! Sorry for the delayed reply. Things remain challenging health-wise and I am not quite as on top of emails etc as I want to be. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to leave a comment here and on the ACW blog. Bless you, friend. xo 🙂

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