There are days where I feel like i’m stuck in a trench terrified of bullets firing over me but actually there is an opportunity every day to step out of that brokenness into fields of light and freedom.
I think over the past 10 years I have seen my life as a series of seasons. I move from one season to another. I am not always conscious of when I am transitioning between seasons but looking back, I see that there have been some really significant ones. Particularly those where I feel that parts of my brokenness have been redeemed leaving me feeling more free and alive.
Within those seasons are good and bad months, weeks or days, heck sometimes even hours! Those times when I feel really low like i’m in that trench are the hardest. You know that feeling? When you "just can’t deal with normal life right now" kind of feeling. Where the simple mundane things in life become like an immovable object. No matter how hard you push, nothing seems to work. It could be as simple as getting out of bed, commuting into work, or in my case as an avid runner, the idea of putting on my Asics and heading to the park.
Oh but when I do go for that run, it opens up a flood of emotions. In that moment, it’s a miracle. I am running! Along with those emotions are strings of thoughts racing through my mind. The very fact that I went for the run speaks hugely to me. I feel I can do it. I can face the day. Being a Londoner, I have learnt that it can be very hard to find space for myself and on these runs I allow myself space. The ‘allowing’ is important. But more importantly, it’s what happens internally whilst I run. I try and be mindful - being present - taking in the beauty of my surroundings - being grateful for what I have. I find it much easier to chat with God in those times too. It’s like heaven and earth are close. I feel a warmth on my chest. I allow love to seep down into the cracks of my brokenness.
For many, running isn’t their thing. In fact far from it. I came across an incredible project founded by Heidi Singleton call PEACED TOGETHER. It's a 10 week course supported by the Cinnamon Network that local churches can run. It encourages women to reflect on their lives and helps them set out on a personal journey from brokenness to hope. Each one helps the group explore topics like beauty, thankfulness and positive choices. I was struck at how the course looks at brokenness in very practical ways and through group work helps people to explore their feelings around being broken.
I wonder if for many of the women who have been on that journey of brokenness to hope - got to a point where they knew deep down that they needed to push into the pain of feeling broken - they somehow knew that a new season is coming and its going to need action to push on through. However, they are not alone - they have the support of the group. I reckon being in the pain together and supporting one another is just as healing as participating in the activities on the course. I have been in group therapeutic situations which have felt very much like this. Like the group was somehow ‘holding’ me in my pain of brokenness.
On reflecting at how much pain I have endured through a variety of very challenging seasons, I am reminded of a quote from one of my favourite speakers - Joyce Meyer. An incredibly inspirational and strong women who has pushed into a lot of pain throughout her life and is the author of the profound book ‘Battlefield of the Mind'. She says this...
I’m not where I want to be but thank God i’m not where I used to be
This quote both makes me chuckle but also gives me permission to look back on how much i have endured. The pain has made me stronger. Maybe we are not in those trenches anymore? Or if we are then maybe its time to move on down the line or take that step of faith and go over the top into fields of light and freedom.
Prayer/ ponder point:
- Where am I at and what are there painful parts of me that need pushing into?