A Spacious Place?

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“He led me out into a spacious place.  He rescued me because he delights in me.” 
(Psalm 18:19 NLT)

As I look at my blog title, it seems ironic – because, if I’m honest, right now this place doesn’t feel so spacious!

Today marks day 40 of spending most of every day in a one-bedroom flat, venturing out only to walk in the local area or to buy food.  I think in that time I’ve only once been more than two miles from home.

It feels small and restricted, and sometimes it gets frustrating, thinking of the things I long to do and the freedom I used to enjoy.

I know I’m not alone, and I’m grateful.  I’ve had Zoom chats and phone calls and social media messages every day, and there are several people I could turn to if I needed anything, but since the lockdown began I think I’ve had four short face-to-face conversations (from a two metre distance of course!) and, while I’m so grateful for Zoom, its not the same!

Yet I don’t write any of this looking for pity.  While I wish things were different, I’m absolutely fine.  As Jeremiah put it in the midst of his own time of disruption and separation:

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  (Lamentations 3:21-23 NIV)

The restrictions and the time alone have brought up memories of the time I spent in the past in a not-so-spacious place, but, more importantly, they have brought up memories of how God got me through.

I remember a time when, though I was not alone physically, I felt alone.  I remember the utter loneliness of feeling there wasn’t a single person who understood, but I also remember how it drove me to God, recognising that he was with me and he was the only one who could help me.  I remember that, even through the darkest times, he was always there.

And as I remember, I am reassured that God is enough.  

I remember the frustration, the feeling that it would never end.  I wondered what I had to do, and if I would ever be free.  I remember looking at others, wondering how they had reached a place of freedom I could only dream of, wondering if I would ever make it.  I remember growing weary with the seemingly-endless prayers, but I also remember that in the end God answered and it was worth the wait.

And as I remember, I am reassured that God’s power is great, his plan is good, and his timing is perfect.

I remember the tears and the anger and the endless journaling as I tried to process my pain, but I also remember how God used that time to grow me and to help me learn to trust.

And as I remember, I am reassured that God can use even unfavourable outward circumstances to work good in our characters – that often those times that are the hardest are when our faith has the potential to grow.

I remember the joy of finally reaching the spacious place, and the ongoing transformation it brought.

And as I remember, I am reassured that this too will pass.

As Queen Elizabeth encouraged us in her address to the nation a few weeks ago:

“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

These words have power when they come from a 94 year-old who has lived through a World War and experienced countless other challenges throughout her long life, but who still clings to God’s faithfulness and testifies of her hope in him!

And it reminds me that that is where our hope must be placed – not in other people or in our circumstances, but in God alone.  And he is enough!

The day I made it into the spacious place, an image came to mind immediately.  It was from the start of “The Sound Of Music” where Maria is out in the hills.  Arms out, spinning joyfully, surrounded by space and beauty – to me, it was the picture of perfect freedom.

Three weeks today, I was meant to be there – in Austria, on those hills, maybe even doing a bit of spinning myself 🙂  Now I’ll just be grateful if I get to drive an hour to visit family!

But today I’m choosing to be grateful – that I have a family to visit, that I have good friends and a wonderful church, that I have a job I enjoy and the best colleagues, that I am, so far, safe and healthy, and, above all, that no matter what freedoms I may lack right now, I do live in a spacious place.

I love how the Message version of Romans 5:1-2 describes it:

“By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us – set us right with him, make us fit for him – we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus.  And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us.  We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand – out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.”

That is true freedom!

Inspire Me Monday

    Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up          Tell-His-Story-button-newest-200x200  purposefulfaith.com     

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30 thoughts on “A Spacious Place?

  1. Leslie, for today … we can choose to be grateful. No truer words! We must choose to be grateful for all He has done and for all He will yet do. He will bring us into a wide open space in His time, in His way, and when it is best. Blessings today!

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  2. The verses from Romans that you quoted do sound like they are describing the image of Maria, free in the mountains, throwing her arms out and singing. God will indeed lead you to this spacious place. It is good to remember challenges we have faced with God before to remind us that He will once again set us free.

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  3. Thank you for your honest reflections, Lesley. Your title will always be more meaningful to me now. I LOVE the picture of Maria with her “arms out, spinning joyfully, surrounded by space and beauty.” Such a powerful image of the freedom from confinement, not only from this crisis, but also from the bondage of past abuse. And I LOVE the picture the Message version gives, too. How God has already thrown open the door for us and we can now stand tall in the wide open spaces of His grace and glory and shout His praise. Thank you for these powerful images of encouragement! I am so grateful for you, my friend. Your posts often breathe hope. Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Thanks, Trudy! I’m grateful for you too and your writing always encourages me and gives you hope. I love your blog title too and the image of the butterfly is such a powerful one of freedom too.

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  4. My days look a lot like yours. When I do go out, it’s to get groceries or for a walk through the park, or I sit on the stoop to get fresh air and sun. Our movement has definitely been limited. Thankfully, I talk to a couple of friends every day. I feel the same about Zoom; it’s not the same. In spite of it all, I am learning daily to be like Paul; content no matter the circumstance. As I mentioned in my latest post, last week was frustrating and that’s okay. I extend grace to myself and take it one day at a time. As God has kept me in the past, he is keeping me in the present.

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  5. I so resonated with this, Lesley! I leave my home for space and have been feeling it is so inadequate for my needs of nature! Yet, God has me here for reason, and I must trust His timing. My favourite photography spots are closed or off limits. Remembering how God pulled us through tough circumstances His way deepens our trust in Him in what He is doing right now. May you see His working in all your moments today!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Lynn! I agree, the restrictions can be so hard. It is important to keep our eyes on God and to remember that he is with us and he is faithful. Praying that you see him at work today too.

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  6. Yes, I have been where you were and have found God deeper and better because of the darkness. Funny how that works and how it gives me courage for whatever’s ahead. Just read Lam. this morning : Therefore, I have hope is a great battle cry on zoom or otherwise.

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  7. Praying for more spacious days ahead. No matter what size the four walls are….they all seem to be closing in. The gorgeous weather here is also calling me out…and past these walls. Oh but these are challenging days! Praying for you –

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    1. Thanks for your prayers, Jennifer! Praying for you too. Ironically the weather has been unusually good here since the lockdown began, but we had some heavy rain today which definitely helps make staying inside seem more inviting!

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  8. Lesley, I so appreciate your perspective. God is so good to help us remember His track record . . . those times in the past when He showed up and brought us through not-so-spacious places . . . great reinforcements for the reality that He will again bring us through.

    Saying prayers for you, friend.

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  9. Beautiful thoughts! Somehow we all are feeling a bit cramped in our houses and neighborhoods. But physical space is one component of our lives. If our hearts aren’t open to receiving the life God has planned for us, we have lost the freedom of emotional and spiritual space too.

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    1. Thanks, Mary! Yes, I think we can put up with the lack of physical space if we have the emotional and spiritual freedom. I think of Paul writing to the Philippians from prison, and his joy, even though he was confined, because he stayed focused on God.

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  10. Lesley, hi! Jeremiah’s words are perfect for this season, because if we let it, we will be consumed with the virus and all the baggage that’s coming with it.

    God is not consumed by this. May He give us grace to have peace as we wait this out.

    Sending love your way today, friend …

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  11. Lesley, I am cheering and clapping my hands (at least mentally) after reading this. I love how you tie the current situation into the name of your blog. And this: “As I remember, I am reassured that this too will pass.” Amen, my friend!

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