On a Bank Holiday, many will breathe a sigh of relief as they silence alarm, turn over and allow themselves the luxury of a little snooze, knowing that they can do so with an easy conscience.
Yes, it’s Monday. But school’s out. Office is closed. Work can wait for another day. This a moment to savour. Freedom beckons.
And they rise (hopefully at a time of their choosing) to face a day with choices, potential and liberty from the norm.
A day awaits to spend time with the family and loved ones, or to pursue interests, hobbies, chosen activities instead of facing the daily grind.
Or maybe just an opportunity to sleep more, rest, relax, and be still for a while.
What if that understandable ‘Monday morning feeling’ of being low and blue is still there? What if it never really leaves us?
Sometimes, holiday times can magnify our innate misery as we expect to feel better than we do. How can we feel so bad when this is meant to be a period of relaxation?
With less focus on the mundane, with inability to lose ourselves in the everyday toil, with expectation of enjoyment heaped upon us, we may recoil and remember all that disturbs our days and haunts our nights.
Life challenges and stretches us in numerous ways.
We can feel pulled taut as elastic.
Unwinding feels more like pinging and stinging in all directions.
Discouragement rises as we reflect on our days, achievements (or the lack of them), all that fazes and disappoints, all that we struggle with and try to swallow down.
I’ve had a lot of moments like that recently as hopes, plans and expectations for the Summer months have been eclipsed by the reality of hitting rock bottom in health, strength and energy.
And the August Bank Holiday is a stark reminder that Summer is almost at an end. Autumn stands hovering at the threshold and Winter will creep in without much warning.
With M.E and arthritis symptoms increasing, and pain ever present, it has been all too easy to slide into discouragement, sadness and defeat whenever I compare my inabilities with my desires.
In times like that I forget the tiny steps forward and the ways God is blessing me in other areas of my life.
Progress isn’t always a measurable, quantifiable thing, especially not in the spiritual realm. So much is hidden, waiting to be revealed in God’s timing.
And that’s a familiar trap for many. Maybe you too? With physical and/or emotional burdens and life’s challenges multiplying, we can forget the steps forward we have already taken.
Then we fall into making comparisons with others or with our own (as yet unfulfilled) hopes and dreams.
We live with a world view of accomplishments, achievements and success that only succeeds in sucking the life out of us as we struggle to fit the mould.
This a surefire way for the enemy of our souls to attempt to render us ineffective, worn out, weary and burnt out.
Here, I present a poetic depiction of those feelings in sympathy and empathy for all who may have been or currently are in this position.
As you read and reflect, please feel free to share your thoughts and leave a prayer request if you would like to.
In lifting one another in prayer we can offer great support and encouragement.
are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your
hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God’ ~
is a place where I dwell and
all of its distinguishing features so well.
papered over with disappearing dreams,
goals, dashed hopes and failed schemes.
I sit within its suffocating frame, low
in my soul sit defeat, sorrow and shame.
can stand here strong, tall as tree
all is brokenness, sadness, no taste of victory.
lie drooping with disappointment, having
to raise head or spirit when bowed with discontent.
dark, dim, blurred and grim
senses heightened only to pain within.
and depression hover close by, seeking
to steal, kill and destroy.
our gloom sits heavy as stone when this
feels familiar like a second home.
room with no view, no brightness, no light,
we cower a while, out of reach, out of sight
all that’s good, warm and familiar, our eyes unable
see beyond broken hopes as we drown in worry and fear.
is the Door?
is the Light?
is The Way?
escape from this continual night.
a Hand reaches out to hold our own
“Child, this place is not your permanent home.
with Me. Open your mind and heart to receive
Love and the guidance My Word will impart.
a chink appears as our armour slips and a cry
recognition falls from our lips as we stumble
fumble our way through the dark, looking for
Light and The Way to walk
deep down as we take God’s hand
His home is where we really belong
can stand strong against the discontent
pulls us down with anguished heart and furrowed frown.
the door on discouragement for now, we rise
face the day away from this lonely tent
faith that this too will pass and this place
visit will become history at last.
Hi Joy,Thank you for your beautiful, thoughtful reflection, and poem. As the days go on, the more alien I feel in our temporary home. I understand the feelings you have been having. I have seen the detail of my man made home walls much more than the beauty of God's creation, this summer. My world through the lens of the http://WWW.I'm truly thankful that when we feel discouraged, we can hold onto the perfect view that our Creator has of us.God bless you, my friend.
Anita, I know you understand and experience similar things to me, my friend. Though we long to see and participate more in the beauty of God's creation, our hearts will never truly be at home in this world either. Yet we can hold on to how God views us and anticipate His perfect plans to be fulfilled in time to come. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Bless you :)x
Joy, Thank you so much for this writing. I realize within my heart, that the Lord causes things to be ~ nothing happens without His divine purpose. Your reflection on discouragement struck a chord in my heart, and was much needed today. Blessings my friend.
Kathy, such a realisation is a great comfort when we go through tough times, isn't it? I am so pleased to have written something that blessed you, my friend. We need all the encouragement we can get in this dark world.
Oh, Joy, such an achingly poignant piece of writing and such power in the words of your poem. You amaze me that you can deal with overwhelming emotions with such deftness and economy. There's a teary thing going round the internet tonight, I think. This post made me cry. Full of longing and sadness and yet wonderful hope. We are all just children desperate to feel His arms around us, aren't we? And waiting to hear that it will all be alright. It'll all be alright; He said that it would be. Thank you for baring your soul. This will reach lots of people I think.
Dear Helen, your latest post made me cry too and there have been others I've read recently that have achieved that as well. I thought I was going through some kind of hormonal spell, but maybe not! God seems to be mightily at work as He draws His children to His side. We all desperately need the reassurance of His presence and those arms of love to encircle us. Yes, in time, all will indeed be well and all right. For now, we live in a fallen world and await the days of fulfillment of hopes and joy to come.Baring my soul seems to be a regular thing on the blog! I'm blessed by your kind words here. Thank you, my friend. xx
Thank you Joy, that made me cry with recognition being an M.E. sufferer too as you know. That feeling of being in a sunken tent, and just wondering how to keep mustering the strength to keep going through the quagmire of symptoms and the overwhelming exhaustion. Bless you, you are right, there is hope, but it is hard to see some days! x
Yes, it is, Keren. But we always have hope of better things to come, whether in this life or the next. Sharing our sadness and pain help us to feel less isolated and alone in our tents of discouragement. Thankfully, God knows how very frail and all too human we are and His arms are ready to support and pull us out of the pit of despair we may fall into. Praying you may feel His presence bringing strength and comfort to you in the days ahead. x
Some tentslie tattered and groundedflattened by galestrodden by careless passers bywho fail to seewhat they destroy.But others -like yours -whilst worn and torn,still offer shelterto othersfrom disasterand storm.Thank you and God bless
Jeannie, this is SO beautiful! Thank you very much for sharing your lovely poem here. I am honoured. Bless you 🙂
Thank you! Having stupidly ignored pacing myself this summer, I am paying the price highly. Your words reminded me I am not alone on this silent walk of m.e, which threatens to isolate and rob the dreams. Like you, I long for my eternal home and body….wow, won't we have fun running, skipping and just having energy to spend with other people. Thank you for your vulnerable honesty, which though it made me cry, also made me feel less alone and washed away some of the shame of always having to say 'no, I can't do that today'.
Oh, we all go that route so easily, don't we? Pacing can get boring and we become tempted to go beyond our abilities in a desire to be a part of things. Such a shame there is always a payback price to pay. My friend, you are far from alone, though we can feel isolated. Many walk this path with us. And with God we are never left alone for a second. The painful things of this life can leave us yearning for our eternal home. To think of holding hands as we run, jump, skip, dance, laugh, and sing with full voiced abandon (maybe all at the same time?) is a truly wonderful thought. What a day that will be!I am praying for you to feel less alone and to recover soon from this latest relapse. Meanwhile, may the Lord sustain and strengthen you to fight through this battle too. Please don't beat yourself up about having to cancel plans. It's very hard not to feel guilty but its the effects of the M.E that make it happen. So try not to let shame steal your peace as well. Life with chronic sickness is unpredictable, prone to change, and those who can understand this are friends to treasure. Blessings xx
Wonderful post, Joy. I am sorry to hear of your health issues; but it sounds like you take it in stride and handle it well. I love what you said: "Progress isn't always a measurable, quantifiable thing, especially not in the spiritual realm. So much is hidden, waiting to be revealed in God's timing."Isn't that the truth? Thanks for sharing your heart. Blessings to you.
Hi Dave. Lovely to see you here! It certainly helps to have an eternal spiritual perspective, especially when life is really challenging here. And the greater the need the more grace is given to sustain and strengthen us. I am deeply touched by your kind comment. Thanks very much.