BLDG retreat 2018

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”

Says the Teacher.

What does man gain from all his labour at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea,yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.

Eccelsiastes 1

It gets very hard. Pursuits don’t go as planned. The grind and churn starts young. Age will not get you out of the grind. Money cannot escape it, degrees cannot outsmart it. Age and maturity won’t deliver you from pain and death.

Yet, there is a turn to the corner. In the midst of the grind:

Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favours what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. (Eccel 9)

The responsibility we have in the daily grind is to enjoy life nonetheless. We can do nothing to escape the grind; so in the meantime, choose joy.

A little like staring at the fat-folds of little Naomi, perhaps?

Afloat, soul

One has to follow the rules of life. It is the only way we organise society, and our lives. We follow the rules of love, of marriage, of house and home and child. Of insurance and protection. Of mourning and goodbyes.

But the problem with rules is that they imply a right and a wrong way to do things. In fact, much of what I feel is simply ways, not quite wrong or quite right, and nothing really to tell me for sure what side of the line I stand on.

It comes, over and over, down to this: what makes a union? And what does a union make?

In honesty, this question terrifies, as does the thought that I am missing out on something. That I gave up on many of what has gone because I didn’t know I wanted. But perhaps the most terrifying is that people aren’t the best at seeing the future clearly. They make decisions based on collective social wisdom.

Change in the heart doesn’t just happen. It has to be planned.

And maybe I’m getting ready to push past this hard shell of past experience, ready to acknowledge that what I thought were solid walls were actually bars, but with spaces between, wide enough to slip through.

A boat with an anchor is protected from wandering. The Anchor that always holds is in us, people of the Promise. So I ask – be my anchor. Lead me to a whole new place, to a greater vision of the future You have in store for me. Stand with me, great promise-keeper, and I will start to learn anew, apart from what I have known all my life to be true.

I wait.

Until next time

Stages in life – changes that keep coming, even as we grow and give our best attempt to move on quickly.

So many words get lost in the laughter. Things left unsaid because it makes us feel too deeply. Yet, from what we do say, I gather this much:

The fellowship, a blessing. The friendship, lasting. The support, real.

I am grateful to have friends to journey this season of life with, and to remind me that I need to show the same level of grace to myself as I desire to show to others.

Onwards, friends! And we will see you again, very soon.

Big and scared

…the wise are the hidden who hold out for heaven — and the applause that comes from God.

This is to choose the far greater.

I know you’re brave … and you’re scared. Because you keep doing big things that seems so small and you wonder where all this is really going and you only get one life here —

And though you’re weary, you do hard things and you keep getting out of bed and this is always the hardest part —

and you keep believing that Christ didn’t leave this world until He showed us His scars — and He won’t ever let you leave this world until you live to show Him.

~ Ann Voskamp