This morning I couldn’t quite decide where to go on a dog walk. I normally just stride out into the fields next to our house without a lead, knowing I won’t see another soul for miles around. However these fields are now shoulder height with rape and even though the farmer has left a very decent verge around each field they aren’t tended by lawnmowers and strimmers and so they grass is almost as high as the rape! Each morning as I battle my way around I promise myself I will try a new walk the next day, but I never do. I love the field and the freedom it brings me too much, so I persist in my daily battle regardless. However today I thought I would make a slight adjustment. Maybe if I tried the side of the field which I have thus far not ventured to (because it’s even more overgrown than anywhere else!) I might have an easier walk. Maybe I have been misjudging its voluminous overgrown everglades?! Maybe it’s not as bad as it looks?! Maybe let’s look at my cover photo again:
Hmmmmm, or maybe not! This was me once I appeared at the other end of that side of the field. What I had been expecting was tall wild flowers and weeds tickling my nose, the odd scratch from a thistle and maybe a bout of rape induced hay fever. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be attacked on all sides by the wily (yet harmless) looking sticky willow! In fact it was so wily I didn’t ever actually see it until had my legs and ankles in its clutches. What I was particularly surprised by was how unpleasant it felt to be caught up in the sticky willow. It isn’t at all strong, you can easily pull it off with no difficulty, yet having it’s sticky vein like threads wrapped around my thighs, kneees, calves and ankles wasn’t very pleasant. I felt constantly under attack and and helpless because no matter how many times I yanked it off it was back scaling my leggings wuthin seconds.
Yet what was amazing was that despite these feelings of annoyance and attack I was honestly smiling and laughing every time I reached down to pull yet another talon off. I was still able to feel the sun shining down, I still enjoyed the freedom that the wide open field always offers me and I continued to sing along to my worship music without fear of being overheard or seen.
Now I’ll let you into a little secret. Sometimes when I walk around that field I am in my pyjamas with a mug of tea in hand singing at the top of my voice to Elvis Presley! I am myself in that field and today was no different even with the problems at hand. As you can see not only did I get grabbed by green fingered plants but I also got a number of cuts and scrapes:
I couldn’t help but think that walking round that field is like walking in relationship with God. A total and utter sense of freedom and acceptance which nothing can defeat, where you can be completely yourself, pyjamas and Elvis welcome! Yes there will be battles, yes there will be attack and cuts and bruises, but these don’t need to take that freedom from us. If we remember what that field means to us, if we always keep our eye on the hope and security it provides us then those cuts and bruises will never take away from us who God is and what He can do.
I eventually did come to a clearing and I took a moment to stand, rest, drop my head back and look up at the sky where the sun was still shining and feel joyful that no matter what, He is there and He is on my side. He is there for you too and He’s on your side as well, in freedom, in hope, in sunshine and in love. And the clearing will come and you will once again stride out.
The song below is one of my favourites and it is one that will raise your spirit up in times of attack and darkness and show you the light.
“Take my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting, hold onto your hope, watch your triumph unfold He’s never failing. And You who will hold the stars? Who calls them each by name? Will surely keep His promise to us and I will rise in your victory”.