From my office window, I watch the nose of a plane thread through cloud cover like a needle pulling through fabric above a row of terrace houses. The roar of the engine reminds me that life is a journey though I’ve been stationary in front of a blinking cursor for hours.
Book tents and open journals on my desk frame an empty tea cup and blooming African violet. The evidence of inspiration is right in front of me but my mind is snagged for days on a conversation with my daughter. An innocent, random, heartwarming conversation translated as “all the ways I fall short as a parent.” Tears begin puddling.
Like Hannah, I can get so tangled up in identifying my lack that I miss the signs of God’s love standing in the room. Knowing God as provider in my heart doesn’t match the scarcity mentality flowing from my mouth.
“I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.” (I Samuel 1:15)
If the Truth we know in the heart doesn’t match how we live, we have mistakenly, unintentionally, and innocently believed in self-reliance over God’s love and faithfulness.
Allow circumstances to be an indicator of the Truth and make false conclusions like Eli. Or translate circumstances as an invitation to experience the Truth and be set free like Hannah.
“Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” (I Samuel I:17)
God is sending love letters by way of divine arrows, pointing to what may seem like random details but are significant signposts of his covenant with us. (page 131, Rhythms of Rest)
As I replay the conversation with my daughter on the flat screen a few days earlier, cataloging the things she needs that I am unable to provide while living an ocean away in London, the doorbell rings interrupting the caustic cacophony. I spiral downward 32 steps, reach the front door and open it.
Two girls her age stand on the front stoop, smiling.
They explain a dilemma: Work for a production company in my neighborhood has them knocking on doors in search of a kitchen to film an advert. And the client, they say quietly, is very particular. Might I be interested in allowing them to film in my kitchen for a sum of money?
“Come in,” I tell them, “I have just been cleaning up.”
As I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I notice my red, splotchy face is now clear and luminous with God’s favor.
On the day we choose to abide on Sabbath, God appears like a gift delivered on our doorstep or an arrow shooting across a cloudless sky. Rhythms of Rest
Download your free printable July calendar with prompts from the seventh chapter of Rhythms of Rest and keep persevering in making rest realistic, not just miraculous. If you know you need rest but struggle to know how to find margin in your busy life, join the Grace Table Summer Book Club here and find practical help. I’ll be joining club members live to answer questions and provide mentoring in finding your unique rhythm of rest beginning today, Friday, June 30.
What a beautiful story illustrating how specific God’s golden arrows of love can be! I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that your daughter receives what she needs, as the result of specific golden arrows from heaven for her. These words from your post spoke to where I am today: “If the Truth we know in the heart doesn’t match how we live, we have mistakenly, unintentionally, and innocently believed in self-reliance over God’s love and faithfulness.” May God remind me of this wisdom, to affirm his love and faithfulness when my emotions don’t line up with His truth. I know better than to think self-reliance will save the day. Thank you, Shelley!
I can so relate to this Shelly:
“Knowing God as provider in my heart doesn’t match the scarcity mentality flowing from my mouth.”
I pray that I will learn to truly trust Him, not just say that I do.
You are such a beautiful, wonderful mother, whom Murielle and Harrison adore. It has to be so hard to be separated by an ocean. But I just know the reflection of yourself that you see in their eyes is one of utter beauty.
Love you, dear one.
This sums up where I have been stuck the last 2 weeks, “Like Hannah, I can get so tangled up in identifying my lack that I miss the signs of God’s love standing in the room.” What a timely reminder as I sit here and look back over my week wishing that I did more or could be more. Busy can be comfort for my need to achieve but I know it’s in the rest that I find connection with God- His approval and love.
I had no idea how this message would effect me when I read it. my husband and I are away on a working break on our canal boat on the river nene in Cambridgeshire. usually this is a relaxed time, combining work with all the beauty of God’s creation all around us everyday. this trip had been different, I couldn’t relax properly, my prayer life was struggling and I couldn’t find that peace I had at home. on sunday morning I was sitting in a log looking out across the backwater, across wild flowers, crops, trees towards red brick farm buildings on the hill when suddenly I felt my peace return – just as though it was being poured over my head and was flowing right down through my body… and then the arrow I nearly missed. the willow tree to my right had been cut down, and the stump that was left was in the shape of a heart! I believe this was the Lord reminding me of how much he loves me, which I sometimes struggle with as I often feel so unworthy. I thanked him for his precious love and promises, ran to grab my camera, and took a photo which will always remind me, and I think this time I will remember that he ALWAYS loves me.
God bless you for your faithfulness in sending such wonderful encouragement to us all.
Barbara, thanks for sharing your sweet story with us. It put a smile on my face and I’m so honored to know how God revealed the arrows of his love for you. May he continue to point out his nearness.