Off Track..

When writing my blog posts, if I make a mistake I just tap away at the delete button and correct it. Simple.

If I am painting and I make a mistake I adapt that mistake and use it to evolve the painting. Less simple.

When fixing my car, if I make a mistake it requires more knowledgeable assistance. This is costly and complicated.

The key thing in all is acknowledging the mistake! Next comes evaluation, what to do with the mistake? Ignore it. Perhaps I should start over or gloss over it. Maybe use it?  And so action comes next. Erraddicate it’s exsistence or incorporate it or ask for help. The choice is mine to make. 

In any walk  of faith, mistakes happen. By mistakes I mean sin. Willful disobedience. If you are a Christian you know the rules, because they are laid out for you in the bible. And if you are a Christian, chances are you know when you have sinned. Acknowledging your sin, can be tough not to mention a bitter pill to swallow, but it is the first step to repentance. We are going through the  Set Apart series in church at the moment and it is exciting! It challenges you to evaluate you, without comparison.

When I neglected to trust I, I veered off the track and wrote the rambling below. I had started reacting to my own situation rather than trusting in God and His promises. 

Looking inward and assessing yourself is uncomfortable!! Searching within for the mistakes you called part of your character; for example: using your past as an excuse or letting current circumstance justify your reaction (“it’s just the way she is”), is the surest way I can think of to derail your faith.

Letting your mistakes define you is the ultimate mistake. It exposes and weakens you. The enemy constantly lies in wait, you are tiring yourself out for the attack. You start telling yourself all kinds of lies and slowly but surely you believe them. Things like resentment, jealousy, apathy, fear, self-loathing, shame, pride and hatred start dominating your feelings. It is a heady cocktail for the wrong kind of vulnerability.

I know that I I said at the beginning how I cope with my mistake is my choice and even in sin that remains true. Sin and lie to yourself about it, see where that gets you. Sin and repent and see where God gets you.

Remember, God is faithful! But, it is a choice, a personal choice. If you stumble and fall or willingly divert cross-country style that’s ok, because devine roadside assistance is free and available anytime you need it.  His mercy is new every day.

No matter how much I try  

All I do is cry

My tears unrelenting 

My soul ever repenting

I fell so empty and hollow 

Where is the path I chose to follow?

The cycle goes round and round 

I’m troubled and bound,

I’ve deviated off the track

I can’t see a way back

The fear overwhelming

These myths need dispelling

I so wanted to be the change, 

To proclaim His wonder in the strange

To call myself His daughter

I’ve tasted living water

A voice within shouts “FLEE!”

Another whispers “Come back to me”

“Only I can see you free”

Shadow Boxing

Shadow Boxing

I recently mentioned I was going through the terrible twos in my What does God sound like? post. I faltered in my faith, and pretty much isolated myself ironically to try and minimise the damage it caused but really only amplified it.

I tend to scribble, a friend calls it poetry, to get the negativity out my system. I call it my ramblings. I ‘rambled’ during a service one Sunday during the start of the service and it is below for you to read.

What is mind blowing about this, is that what I thought it was about and what it actually was about were too very different things.  Sharing it with friends, they gave me their thoughts on it and I saw the hidden truth in it. I was disappointed with God!

I’m sharing it with you because, so often we fight with ourselves. Making mountains out of mole hills.  Believing the lies we tell ourselves over and over again. Going it alone, instead of with Him. The fight is already lost if you are alone! Fact!

I’m on my knees
My knuckles are bloodied and bruised
I see my opponents boots
Dancing in front of me

I strain to hear the bell
I just need some respite
To be safe in my corner;
I barely hear the countdown

I refuse to lose and heave myself upward
I stumble and collapse again
The count down continues
My vision blurs with black and white

Suddenly I’m standing
And, I hear the bell;
The relief is immediate
I stagger to my corner

I sit and gasp for water
Only, all I receive is a punch!

A warm trickle reaches my lips
I taste of iron and recognise it.

I’m dazed and confused, I can’t understand
I’m safe! I’m supposed to be safe
I haven’t heard the bell
I’m still sitting down

I glimpse the referee again
But he seems far far away
I see the next blow in slow motion
I’m knocked off my stool

I claw at the ropes to right myself
As I rise up, I realise I’m being helped
I squint into the face helping me
I look past their shoulder

I see my attacker
I’m shocked , and lose all strength
Attacked by my own inner circle; betrayed
The crushing revelation

The roar in my ear dulls
I realise I’m cacooned in black and white
I rest my head on that collar
Tears mingle with coagulated blood

No wonder I’m losing
Almost blinded by the fight
To the deafening count of defeat
No counter move to make

The bell rings loudly
I register this bout is done
Thankfully the referee called it!
I may have lost the battle
Only to discover the war is won.

Dropping the Mask

Two years ago I was new to the fold (again). My creativity was encouraged and put to use at several women’s events at my church. I created a masquerade mask, having spent time in Venice for Carnival a few years back it seemed logical to me the mask should be ostentatious, glamourous and secretive.  As I got involved in the aim and requirements of the gathering, the conception of the mask made me think alot about social media, about projection, about being real.

Below is the mask I created for the event. I specifically used peacock feathers for the bird has an element of pride associated with it. The pearls and diamantes have a deliberate fakeness about them. I picked copper to signify how malleable our identity is to change when we personify a chameleon who has no identity! It was also key for me to keep the eyes looking hollow, I hoped to convey the despair we see when the mask is firmly in place. This was my take on the masks we put in place to hide who we really are in the mirror. The eyes are the window to the soul -right?

Fasçade: what are you hiding from?

We all create our own masks, then we project it and live out the illusion. We cover up the scars and wounds that we think define us. Take that well known social media site where “likes” are said to validate someone’s worth; as they see it. I know that I have been judgemental of a friend who dares to be honest and  actually post how they really feel! Initially my response is caring acknowledgement and a ‘comment’ or private message  a of support. However, several real posts more and I get annoyed or “like” without actually reading the whole thing! Guilty! I don’t want to have to deal with it. By ignoring them I suspect I am helping perpetuate their hurt when I really think it’s in their best interest to not indulge their dare I call it self-pity.  For  the majority of people it is about projecting the good and great in their lives. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! I just question sometimes if it is an authentic or projected reality. And sadly that is because I do not have a friendship of depth with that friend.

Then there are the forward/repost if statuses! I intensely dislike them; A: because I watch too many TED talks on algorithms, as it’s probably a marketing ploy/phishing scam/something to increase my inbox, or B: because I find being told to do something or appear heartless (my perception) annoying and I would rather not be annoying to anyone else. So I scroll past. Yet again by ignoring the post I feel I am perpetuating rather than solving the problem.

I read somewhere, I forget where, that you shouldn’t ask someone how they are unless you are willing to hear the truth.  So now I don’t ask people “how are you?” Unless I genuinely have time to listen. I’m not sure if this makes me rude or aloof or both!?!? However I feel that I would do more harm than good if I encountered someone and made them feel worse just because I’m going through the motions of saying hello. Keen to know your thoughts on this; comment below if you have any.

I digress.  Back to the mask. The mask was designed to be an interactive piece. You can see the flip side below. So here is my logic: the words inside the mask disappear when the mask is in place. However, they still remain. Embedded in the skin. You can cover it up but you cannot remove it. When the mask slips, and it always does… be that due to the heaviness of the situation or the method used to subdue it (substance misuse) or a rare moment of reality or someone; then the scars become visible again. They hurt and diminish strength.

Fasçade: what scars lie behind your mask?

In those moments of weakness, desperation, it can go either way. You could get help or spiral further. The hardest of these is of course asking for help. Admitting you are vulnerable. But you need that vulnerability to get help. It is never easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. Authentic relationships need vulnerability. They need honesty. They need communication.

Help, in this construtive form, comes in many guises. Therapy, friendship, pastoral care, medical help and all because an authentic relationship was established. A trusting relationship that is a safe space.

Getting help with whatever you going through is incredibly brave. I salute you. But, can you imagine having peace too? No more residual hurt to upset or destabilise you? Being able to talk openly about it without shame? To not hate anyone who contributed to your suffering? Can you?

Well if you can’t the only tried and tested way I know of to heal, truly heal, is to be saved. If you can find a grain of sand space in your heart to let Jesus in then you can have healing and peace. It won’t be easy and it requires said vulnerability, honestly and communication.

Your true identity will be revealed to you in Him. No more masks required. No more hiding. No more fasçades. The scars will still be there. Be certain of that, but, they will only serve as a reminder of where you were and how far you have come. If you fall over and reopen a scar, worry not! He has got you! Just hold on tight to your relationship with Him for your life really does depend on it!

Thanks for reading this post on how my mind takes on an artwork with purpose. All thoughts and feedback welcome. Be blessed and take care of you!

Lastly, I’m thinking of and praying for all affected by and in the path of Hurricane Irma. Be safe, I pray all see God in the aid, volunteers, in the communities locally and internationally pulling together, in one another as survivors. I’m thankful the people I know in the area (4 couples) are safe. May help be given financially in aid and in prayer. Amen.