Due to a small book club group for women started in 2012 by a friend at my church, I actually picked up & read Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts, in early 2012. I began listing gifts then & am planning to continue for years to come. It's a WONDERFUL way to remind myself of God's tender loving care for & faithfulness to me -- and to all his children! I've always been one to get super excited about the little things from God - seeing a mother deer & her fawns while out walking early in the morning, the way the clouds look on a cold -- but sunny -- winter day, the lighting or angle I was able to catch in a photo, the quiet snoring/breathing of the LOML as he sleeps beside me, new fuzzy socks or slippers, an apple right off my tree, etc. Often times my descriptions make no sense to anyone by me & God. So, I decided to expand upon those thoughts in a few posts. So... for today...
Open Spaces - #JoyDare No. 2289
Among other things, I've struggled with insecurity & anxiety issues for years. As you can see from my posts over the years, I've struggled with a lot :) Usually each struggle happens independently. But, there's one situation that used to be the "double whammy" for me every week. It happened every Sunday morning at church. It was the church narthex -- the old term for the entry area just outside of the sanctuary. We began attending church at "North Anderson Church of God" when we moved back to Indiana for the LOML to finish up on his degree. Within a few years, I was singing in the choir, active in a Young Married Couples class, volunteering for the Worship Arts pastor & ministry, and more. I met a LOT of great people through those smaller groups. I was at home in each of those groups.
But, Sunday mornings after church, when we all poured out from the sanctuary, my chest tightened and my breathing became quick & shallow. I never could seem to make it from point A to point B without feeling a lot of stress. I felt swallowed up in that sea of smiling (and familiar) faces. It was just too much... too close. I was constantly questioning myself... did I miss someone's eye contact because I was staring at my feet moving toward my goal... did I miss talking with someone when I stopped to say hello to another... did I... did I... did I? In the 17 years we attended church at that location, I struggled with those feelings.
When our church relocated to our new location, Madison Park Church, it only took a few Sundays for my family to notice that things had changed. The person who had avoided crossing the narthex at North was now almost impossible to get in the car after church. I was running all over "The Commons" at Madison Park. It was freeing. My deep connection & joy come from the intimate moments I share with those I see before & after the services. The open space in our new "Commons" area freed me to move about & make those connections.
When we moved from Durbin Manor out here to the sticks, I had NO IDEA how freeing the open spaces would be. I can't even describe how much I love sitting at my place at the dinner table. I look out our front window (to my left) for over a mile to where the White River bends below the river banks and then glance to the right out the back window across a mile of fields & small wooded areas. There's sheer joy in those moments as I look out for a distance while safe inside of my home.
Whether I 'm walking down a country road for a few miles with no one in sight or walking through a crowded room, I envision myself as being covered & protected by God Himself. I can navigate all those places without fear knowing that God will bring me through.
His Promises are TRUE!
"He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection." Psalm 91:4 NLT
"You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word." Psalm 119:114 AMP
My #JoyDare list for Sunday, 2/9/14:
2289. open spaces
Linking with Ann Voskamp - A Holy Experience today...