Friday, February 25, 2022

Perception, measuring and cutting...

 It has been a particularly 'bumpy' week.

My birthday on Monday began so happy with a visit from Blossom and the children, tiramisu for morning tea, and a much needed new vacuum cleaner from my husband...

...but later that day my mind was taken to a very dark place, a lonely place, and every ounce of energy, both physical and emotional, drained away. 

Such is common for me on special days such as Mothers Day or my birthday, but as the day began so wonderfully I was not prepared for the darkness which followed. 

The following day I stepped outside before the sun made it's way over the mountain and with camera in hand let my attention fall to the beauty of simple things; the God-created simplicity of the garden in late summer, a garden often scorched under this intense tropical sun, but valiantly struggling to keep going until the relief promised as we near winter in a few months time.

Weeds fight for dominion over the flowers, herbs, and our two vegetables which have managed to hang on the past few months - spring onions (scallions) and rocket (arugula) - yet I still see beauty in the early morning light.

The roses have been slow to re-bloom this February, so I added rose food to their pots, moved a few to different areas in the yard, and gave them all a little trim. How joyous to have them flourishing once more.

That half hour in the garden, watering, tending and photographing was balm to my soul, and in the stillness I was able to hear the Father speak into my heart with gentleness, love and revelation.

You probably already know that bouts of darkness visit me every so often, sometimes for a day, sometimes for a season, but every time I go through these valleys I come out the other side with a new and fresh understanding about God, myself, and the direction I should follow going forward. 
This short trip into darkness on Monday and Tuesday was no different.

Uploading the photos on Tuesday afternoon, one word was resonating over and over - Perception - and it was in response to the many photos I'd taken of roses. Most of them were focused very clearly on the flower but the background was unfocused, like this one...

In everyday living we can, in various times and seasons, focus on one negative aspect of our life, one snapshot, even allowing it to consume our thoughts day and night, to the exclusion of all the other wonderful things and people which combine together as a more complete panorama of our lives. That panorama tells the real story, not the snapshot we've chosen to focus our emotions or actions on.

Like with a jigsaw, one small piece connected to another, slowly building a beautiful scene before our eyes, life is very similar. One experience, one relationship, one trial, one success - all coming together over time to create a story: the story of you.

My perception was out of kilter on Monday afternoon as I had focused on a loss from the past, rather than what I already held in my heart that day. Is it normal to still grieve that loss, yes. But is it right to beat myself with it? No. 

There's nothing wrong with acknowledging loss, pain and regret, but those things are in the past and cannot be changed. For me personally, each one was handed over to God years ago and He has comforted, corrected and loved me through them all, but it is I alone who bring them back to mind, subconsciously punishing myself on days when those closest to me are celebrating my life.

Friends, I'm sharing this today because it's on my heart to do so. Perhaps this resonates with you and perhaps not. All I can do is abide in the leading of the Holy Spirit and pray for those of you who also sabotage yourself the way I have done, and ask that He will melt the ties which have bound us to the sorrows and regrets of the past so that we can rejoice on our special days in the priceless love which abounds around us...and so that we can take our eyes off that one thing, and look with fresh eyes on the panoramic beauty of this gift of life before us today.

As I was finishing this design the other day, it made me ponder all the negative emotions which trip me up; and all the extras I do each week to make myself feel worthy of what the Father has given me. 
How we view our past has a huge bearing on how we see ourselves today, and this birthday with those life-altering lessons which came through it, has prompted me to take what is a common sewing quote -"measure twice, cut once" - and apply it to every area of my life.

Taking measure of all I do and every responsibility - whether that be home, garden, family, friendships or business - and being mindful of the hours given me in a day, my age and state of health, what's truly most important in my life, and the motivation which lies beneath my choices...that's where I'm at today. 

Because I need to take that measure, and then measure again, so when I am quite sure and in sync with the Lord, I can confidently cut away the excess and unburden myself in what has (in some areas) become a burdened life. 

Now I promise the next blog post will not be heavy like this one!!
In fact going through this measuring/cutting process has not just shown me what is to be removed, but what is to be embraced more fully...God, family and home.

May His grace lead you into all truth and if you are walking in the valley right now, may His strong love draw you forward into the Light. 

Bless you heaps,


Julie said...

Dear Jennifer ... firstly Belated Birthday Wishes to you dear friend!!! Your blog posts timing today was quite simply perfect because I have found myself "struggling" this past week too. I always find such comfort in your words - as if you are speaking to me. Your roses are beautiful & Yes you are SO right my dear Jen ... we focus on one thing instead of seeing the whole panorama. I'm going to re-read this post several times & take it with me in my heart for the rest of the week. Thank You my friend xx

Elizabeth said...

Dear Jennifer, Any of us who have suffered great losses, probably experience similar days...weeks...however long it takes. I find I have to kind of re-grieve things sometimes. And the busier I can stay on those days that carry pain, like Mother's Day...the better it is. And focus on being grateful for the good that is in my life. Having less expectations is something I have worked at most of my adult life...then when good things come, it is usually a surprise and a blessing. There are always other who have suffered more and need our compassion and love too. GOD does enfold us at those very hard times, at least some of them I have experienced...some were beyond description. We do not ask for all that life gives us, good or bad. And when it comes to kin? Heh, not many of them were our choice...yet we have had to deal with them. We have some very good kin...and some we are glad at this point in life have forgotten we exist...yep, that too is a blessing...sometimes gifts come wrapped in odd packages...but eventually we may find it was indeed a gift. And too, the next life will be oh so far as I know, no fences there...the fences people put up in this life will have no place there I think. I hope you are comforted beyond words...and I am glad you had a nice day with your loved ones there.

Nanna Chel said...

Big hugs, Jennifer.

sam said...

Happy belated birthday my dear Jennifer. God surely chose you as his vessel to bring this message. I have been struggling in that dark place too, and your words have given me direction and ability to see the light at the end of this path. So glad you have been lifted from the darkness. May God continue to send his greatest blessings to you and your family and thank you for this post.

Belinda said...


May your day be as bright as your soul!!! We all go through seasons/weeks/days in light and dark, but I would like for you to know how you brighten my day/days!! Happy belated Birthday to you and may God lift you up.

Miriam said...

Happy belated birthday and God bless to you and your beautiful, beloved family.
Have a nice week end,

Anonymous said...

We need to hear this, because we need to hear that we are not alone in our struggles to maintain a pathway to peace.
I need to hear this, I need to learn from this. Thank you.
Mary Beth

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Happy Birthday ! Looks like you all had a fun day :) That vacuum cleaner is a great model looks a lot like ours !
I'm so glad you can get out of those dark places with more of a positive outcome :)
hugs, take care, enjoy the weekend !

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have an adult niece who has been in a very dark place for over a year now and would have taken her own life had God's angels not intervened. Your post helps me understand a little bit about what she may be struggling with. I keep her in my prayers and do see some small signs of hope. She is the most amazing person and I pray one day she will be able to see that for herself.
Thank you for your very valuable insight and willingness to share. It is very meaningful to me.
Wishing you all the best,

FlourishingPalms said...

A belated happy birthday to you, Jenny. But I'm very sorry that your memories leapt up to remind you of loss, and make you sad. I am sure this happens to many of us, because we are human. God uses moments like these to remind us of whose we are. He has marked us as His, and every one of us now and again must be reminded of this. You're a very strong person to see past such darkness, to remind yourself of your dependence on him - the right kind of dependence. May God strengthen and bless you abundantly.

Susan said...

Belated birthday blessings, Jennifer. Maybe you could consider these dark times as gifts or blessings from God since what you gain in insight is very useful not only to yourself, but we your readers. God bless you heaps.

PSValeri said...

Heavy is OK, Jenny. I too find birthdays, anniversaries and holidays sometimes very difficult to handle and I circle the drain of regret. God doesn't want us to waste our- or His- good time doing that, so I'm happy to see you've learned a way to move beyond it- and shared it with us.

Be well-

Farm Quilter said...

Happy belated birthday, Jennifer. Those dark valleys are difficult, but if we learn the lesson we are taught going through them, then it is worth it. It also makes us appreciate the mountain tops bathed in sunshine so much more!

Winifred said...

What a gorgeous photo of your grandchildren. They must be such a blessing to you to help you through the dark times. Yet I know we often grieve for what we've lost. It's natural, if we didn't what kind of people would we be? As you say you know you come through these dark times and can smell those glorious roses again.

What a gorgeous throw the children are sitting on, you make such beautiful things Jennifer and you're creating some amazing happy memories for the children.

Happy belated brithday Jennifer & here's wishing you many more to come!

God bless!

dewdrop said...

This message from you spoke to my heart. You see, I lost my mother just over one month ago, she was 92 years old, with a number of health issues, so it was not totally unexpected. Even so, I have been having a hard time with regrets. Why didn't I ask her for more stories about her life, especially the childhood? Why didn't we about...take care of..? I know that this train of thought won't change what is done and gone, but I have been beating myself up over all of these regrets. Your words are helping me to see that this will only ruin the time I have now, the joy I need to see in my life. Thank you for sharing and I sincerely hope that you continue to dwell in the joy and love of your family and home. Wishing you all the best....Diane from northern Minnesota.

Dee said...

Happy belated Birthday Jennifer! Hugs and prayers. Be well. Dee

Unknown said...

Jennifer, you are amazing in how you are able to find beauty amidst the suffering. I admire you so much! I also have depression, have had it for years. It is difficult to find clarity, motivation and perspective during these times. It can be very scary and overwhelming. I am going through such a time right now, as I have separated from my spouse, because the stress of the marriage was causing exhaustion and physical illness. But now the grief and fear of the future are here. Overwhelmed too. Thank you, Jennifer for sharing the depth of your experience.To me, this sharing is always meaningful, always touching, always helpful. It is truly validating for people like me that we are not alone in our suffering. I wish you joy, inner peace, hope and healing. May you be extra-blessed!

Ondrea said...

I am so glad that you tend to bounce back quickly and sharing your journey will help many others. With life's ups and downs we can lose sight of all the good things sometimes . While some of us cope, others do not find it so easy and some of us teeter between darkness and light frequently. At least the light shines brighter so we can find our way if encouraged. Bless you. Xx

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

There was so much heartache and trials in the last 7 years for us I finally just gave all those years and more to God! Interesting. I am sleeping much better and my energy is coming back at a great pace (not as fast as I wanted). I felt like I had lost 7 years of my life but I quit looking back as it would bring me to a negative place - Hang in there! Life is good even if the world around us is going nuts! Hugs

K Reeves said...

I don’t write often enough to say how much I appreciate your honesty and your consistently pointing us to Jesus, Thank You!

Pink Rose said...

Hi Jenny hang in there ,hope you are feeling better by now ,though I just saw from Wednesday onwards we are in for 3 extremely hot πŸ₯΅ days ,take care my lovely friend πŸ’•

Robin in New Jersey said...

Happy Birthday, a little late. 😊 Thank you for sharing your life with us. The lovely and the difficult. Your honesty is refreshing and has helped so many of us. Thank you for always pointing us to the one who comforts, Jesus. Prayers for you today. πŸ’ž

Marta said...

Happy Birthday.
Very nice what you wrote about sewing that I may not have learned well yet, measure twice and cut once, which applies well in our life. Thanks for your sharing. God bless you.

Createology said...

Dear Jennifer. I celebrated your birthday however did not get to wish you Happy Birthday. Why do your words always resonate with me so deeply? You always have just the right message for me. Thank You my friend. I am grateful for this new month of March begnnning, for the longer days of sunshine and for the Spring that is near. Blessing Sweet Jennifer.

Unknown said...

Gracias πŸ’•

KingsailK said...

Thank you Jennifer aBelated Happy birthday. Tears came to my eyes when I read this. I can relate to some of this. I am reading through the book of Jeremiah at the moment. Bless you heaps I love your photo of your Beautiful Grandchildren. πŸ’œπŸ’•πŸ˜ŠMary-Lou X

KingsailK said...

Thank you Jennifer aBelated Happy birthday. Tears came to my eyes when I read this. I can relate to some of this. I am reading through the book of Jeremiah at the moment. Bless you heaps I love your photo of your Beautiful Grandchildren. πŸ’œπŸ’•πŸ˜ŠMary-Lou X