April Reflections

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It’s hard to believe it’s the end of April already!  I don’t know about you, but for me it has been a busy month which seems to have flown by, and it’s good to take a few moments to pause and reflect on the lessons learned.

New Discoveries/ Highlights:

After a month off from trying a new fitness class in March, this month I tried Sh’bam.  It’s similar to Zumba but with pop and hip hop music instead of Latin, and it is lots of fun.  As I said in February, this was not one of my goals for 2017- it is just how this year seems to be working out.  This time it was to help a friend who had to make a video as she was being assessed to be an instructor.  Who knows what fun May will bring? 🙂

On a more serious note, I had a very difficult work situation to deal with at the start of the month but was so conscious of God helping me through, filling me up when I was empty, enabling me to keep going in his strength when I knew I was completely inadequate on my own.  In the midst of one of the most difficult and stressful days I have experienced in a long time, a word of encouragement came from the source I least expected and it was amazing how a single sentence of affirmation had such an impact and reassured me that it was all worthwhile.

Easter is always a special time and this year it was amazing to take part in the orchestra for an event called “Resurrection”.  We played along with a band and choir, and around 2000 people came to celebrate together that Jesus is risen!

origin resurrection 2017

My word for the year (Voice):

My focus this month has been listening.  I’ve had the privilege and the challenge, in two different situations, of listening to people who were very angry over suffering they had experienced, telling me that God doesn’t exist, and if he does he can’t be good.

I think the temptation in these situations can be to jump in and try to “defend” God, but actually their pain was legitimate and they needed to be heard.  Arguments for God’s existence and God’s goodness were less important than knowing that someone was listening and cared about their pain.

It’s not easy though.  I’m in the middle of reading “The Listening Life” by Adam McHugh, and it talks about the importance of listening to voices that are different from ours: “The voices we want to hear are not always the voices we need to hear.”  It also explains that listening is about servanthood: giving power away, laying down our own agenda of how we think the conversation should go, and acting on what we hear.

I’ve been wrestling with what it looks like to actually live that out.  How can I listen in this way to people who express things that are very different from what I believe (e.g. that God can’t exist because of suffering)?  How can I really hear them and try to understand their perspective while still holding to what I believe is the truth?  How do  I know when to speak up to challenge their thinking and when to remain silent?

I don’t have answers to these questions (if you do, I’d love to hear them!) but I think it has been helpful to think about these things.

April Playlist:

Do It Again- Elevation Worship
Someone in my church small group introduced me to this song and it has been going round in my head ever since.  It’s definitely one of my favourite songs of the year so far!

Song Of My Father- Urban Rescue

Looking ahead to May, it might be a little bit quieter around here.  The importance of rest is something God has been reminding me of lately.  I’m taking part in the launch team for Bonnie Gray’s new book, Whispers Of Rest which comes out on May 23rd,and I want to make it a priority to engage properly with the book and the challenges to make time to rest so that I can better hear God’s whispers.

whispers of rest for blogHaving said that, there will be posts about this book and a couple of others and I will also have a couple of guest posts appearing elsewhere (including one extra special one that I am super-excited about!) so I will still be around, just maybe a little bit less than usual.

How has April been for you?  Feel free to share a highlight or reflection in the comments.

Embracing Every Day  “God-Sized  Holly Barrett     purposefulfaith.com             

    

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44 thoughts on “April Reflections

  1. I love the part about laying down your agenda when listening and how listening is a form of service. It can be so hard to do, but you’re right… It’s so very important. Validation is key in healing.

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  2. I’m so sorry about the difficult work situation, Lesley. It’s so amazing how God sent a word of encouragement to you from an unexpected source. I love that you listened to those hurting people instead of jumping in to let them know what you know is true about God. It reminds me of that quote that goes something like – “People don’t want to know how much you know until they know how much you care.” Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Thanks, Trudy. I love how God knew what I needed and how powerful that word of encouragement would be.
      That saying is very true. Really listening and showing we care makes a big difference. Thinking about those 2 situations, I’m sure both the people knew what my opinion was anyway. It didn’t really need to be said but they needed to know that they were heard. Love and hugs to you too!

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  3. Hi Lesley! I’ve also had the opportunity to listen to someone who has decided not to believe in God. For the same reasons you mention. I appreciate your perspective here. And Bonnie Gray’s book sounds wonderful! In April I learned all over again that fun can change your life. 🙂

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    1. It’s not easy knowing the right way to respond to people in pain but I’m glad you found these reflections helpful. I’m glad you rediscovered fun in April!

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  4. April has been interesting for our family. We’re prepping for an international move and currently in limbo with our stuff all packed and shipping. We’re making the most of our last few weeks here, hiking and exploring, and trying not to get on each other’s nerves. We’re ambivalent about getting back into an American vibe.

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  5. Thank you for sharing pieces of your life. I imagine the Resurrection production you were part of was amazing. I love that kind of thing. You shared a new book that I have not heard of. I will have to add it to my “to read” list. Wow! I wish I had time for all the books I want to read.

    I love visiting with you and pray you have a wonderful week!

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    1. Thanks, Mary. The performance seemed to go well and it was certainly a lot of fun to take part in. I agree with you about the problem of not having time to read all the great books there are out there. Hope you have a lovely week!

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  6. Lesley, I love your wide open heart. Your concern for people, and for hearing them in the midst of their suffering. Sometimes the best way we can share the truth and reality of God is through listening and empathizing. You’re right. There is a time to speak and a time to listen. It sounds like you’re living that out well. May God give you opportunities to share Him with those in your circle this coming month.

    My April was very busy with two boys in sports. This translated to conflicting practices. God helped me through a friend helping me with carpooling when hubs traveled. God always has ways of providing for us, doesn’t He?

    I love the Urban Rescue song!

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    1. Thanks, Jeanne. Sounds like you have had a busy April too. I’m glad you sensed God providing for you. I love that he cares about the little details as well as our bigger needs. I’m glad you liked the song too. Hope you have a great week!

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  7. I am so glad to be joining in with the launch of Bonnie Gray’s latest book also! It really is so important to be intentional about finding soul rest with Jesus, isn’t it? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book–you have a wonderful heart of compassion! I am blessed to be your neighbor at #TellHisStory this week.

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    1. Thanks, Bettie. Lovely to connect with you. Look forward to getting to know you more through the launch team and hearing your thoughts on the book too!

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  8. Lesley, isn’t it wonderful when encouragement comes out of the blue like what happened on your bad day at work? And to think that one sentence was exactly what your heart needed to hear. I love that! I’m glad you got to be in the orchestra for the Easter event … how fun! April was pretty heavy at our house. Some of that burden has lifted, but I’m still having plenty of opportunities to practice being in the moment and doing the next thing! I’m excited for you about the guest-posting … will you be linking to them here too?

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    1. The right encouragement at the right moment us incredibly powerful! It sounds like April has been tough for you all butI’m glad things went well last week. Praying that May is less full of burdens and more enjoyable!
      I will post links to the guest posts here. There will be one next week and one later in the month.

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  9. Hi Lesley,
    I admire you tackling a new exercise class! Zumba always looks far too intimidating for me to try but I love your initiative! I really love your word listen and how you are pondering and putting it into practice — and sharing it with us as you included some music for us to listen to — I love it when a post is all packaged with a beautiful theme! xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Valerie! I seem to have tried a lot of new exercise classes lately but I agree, they can be a bit intimidating. This one wasn’t because my friend was leading and there were only 5 of us there!
      Glad you liked the music and the thoughts about listening.

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  10. I’ve not heard of Sh’bam, Lesley. It sounds interesting and fun! April’s highlight here was a visit from dear, out-of-state friends we haven’t seen in several years. And May? It’s overflowing with my son’s graduation activity. Thanks for visiting KristiWoods.net, and have a fabulous May!

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  11. So glad you feel the freedom to rest, Lesley. So often we forget to give ourselves permission to take a break and breathe. Good for you! I pray it’s a refreshing time for you. And, I look forward to reading your extra special post. 🙂 ((Hug)) P.S. this sounds like a good book, and one I should read. I like Bonnie Gray. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Brenda. I don’t find it easy to switch off and rest but it is important. I would definitely recommend Bonnie Gray’s book from what I’ve read so far.

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  12. Thank you for sharing glimpses of your life. Even amidst the hard work situation, I am encouraged by God’s faithfulness to bring peace. I love all I am hearing about Bonnie’s new book. Rest is something I so desperately crave. I look forward to reading more your thoughts as you move along in your own journey of rest.

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