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!
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.
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.
Having 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.