Wingspan is not enough

We will rise up like the eagle.

We will rise up like the eagle.

Apparently the wingspan of a wedge-tailed eagle is 2.3metres. I was a little humbled by that recently when I bought 2 metres of fabric and realised how long that wingspan is. It is one of Australia’s largest birds of prey and I have always loved these birds, along with the American bald eagle. Initially I think it was because of my fascination with American and native American history (we actually studied American history, here in Australia, when I was a kid). I came to the conclusion, when I was 15, that wingspan on the eagle wasn’t enough.

In order to fly, it needed air currents and thermal updrafts to help it stay in the air. In fact, the air was critical to the movement of the bird. I was thinking about it the other day when I read Isaiah 40:30-31. 

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

It’s fascinating when you read about what is actually happening when an eagle is in flight. But i won’t go into too many details except to say that I used to sit  and watch it soar. I remember one of my first visits to the USA, I was feeling homesick and slightly overwhelmed. The knowledge I wouldn’t see my family for over a year was almost too much. I saw an eagle fly into the blue, Colorado sky. It looked effortless, peaceful. But when I read about what happens to the eagle physiologically to help it fly, when I read about currents and wind and air, I was humbled. It was powerful. And it displays God’s power. The bird worked hard to fly, But the World God created for him to fly in, works just as hard to keep it there in the sky.

When I realised this the Isaiah scripture effected me more than ever.

I try to do everything myself. I think of my own abilities and put trust in them that I can do it alone. If the bird tried to fly without air, he’d fall out of the sky, without it there to hold him up. His Wingspan is not enough to keep him there. He needs air. Just as we need God.

The other morning I didn’t want to get out of bed. I felt like I didn’t have the energy to go on. It was all getting too much. Sometimes I feel like my energy is spent and I simply cannot go on anymore, there are so many pressures mounting up, so many things demanding my time. Then I think of the eagle. He doesn’t sit around wondering if he can go on. He doesn’t have a choice.  He’s not wondering if the air is going to hold him up. It just does. Bird and air are synchronous.

But we have choices, unlike the bird.

We can choose to stay in bed and pull the covers back up over our heads. Or we can choose to keep going, trusting that God will be there, so matter how much we feel like we are failing, or falling.

I think that’s partly what Isaiah means. In our weakness, when we are too scared or tired or anxious to fly, he lifts us up, we don’t have to wonder if he will. He does. Always. Like the air holds up the eagle. The God who invented the air is also a God who holds up his people. It’s a powerful picture. God holding up a weak, fallible, fainting people.

Next time you see an eagle, remember that’s God holding him up. And when you are weak, tired, emotional, you will rise up like the eagle.

Singleness and Grace part 3

I used to dread Valentine’s day. Not because I was a ‘down with love’ kind of girl, I wasn’t. There were usually 2 reasons: I found it really superficial, and it would always remind me I was single. I hate superficial things and I hate being reminded of things I can’t change.

Yet, deep down I wanted someone to share the day with. Funny how we can try to ignore something, yet secretly it’s what we really want.

This year, I have someone to share it with. And yet I am reminded of those years I didn’t have anyone. When I would sit alone on my couch and cry with a block of chocolate and a box of tissues. When I started dating a young man (who would later break my heart) I became confronted by a couple of things. The dilemma I mentioned in my last post.

I had spent years searching, waiting, hoping. I was so used to it and used to taking care of me, that I began to see how selfish I had become, when I finally had to share my life with someone else. Prolonged singleness can do that. You get so used to looking after yourself, having things organised the way you want them, making all the decisions that  it can be hard to give it over to someone else. In fact at times, it scared me to tears. I wanted nothing more than to find the man of my dreams. But then I had to SHARE me.

I remember attending a conference on marriage and dating (perhaps more to check out the young men than listen to the talk LOL) and hearing the speaker say “When you are in an intimate relationship with someone, your life is not your own.” I couldn’t think of anything else that scared me more. The fact that if I got married I would no longer be my own, but belong to another. Could I let someone in like that? I wasn’t sure if I could.

Yet, I felt God had paced the desire for marriage in my heart. So to pursue marriage meant confronting my selfishness. It meant getting ready to Share myself. It meant taking the time now, as a single person, to practice sharing (not giving ourselves away prematurely, but serving and loving others in a Godly way). It occurred to me that Singleness was preparation. Not just for marriage. but for all of life. Perhaps you never married, your singleness has prepared you for service to God with all of yourself. Perhaps you were headed to missions. Your singleness has prepared you for service to a world that is also broken and scarred and empty. Perhaps you have gotten married (or are about to) then your singleness is preparation for marriage. And ultimately it prepares us to trust and believe in God and his Word, come what may.

When I realised this, I started to live my singleness with purpose. Not to win a guy, or focus on marriage. but to focus on my growth. To trust God when it was just Me and God. Because I knew, if I couldn’t trust God without a husband, how could I trust him with one?

 

May you be blessed in your preparation. whether for God or a Husband. May you know his hand on your and his grace is sufficient for all those times you feel alone. 🙂

Singleness and Grace Part 2

There was nobody standing in line. That metaphorical line of men waiting to date. Zilch. Nada. I couldn’t even pay someone. It hurt. I would drive home from a wonderful party with friends and cry the whole ride home. So many times I would pull out a little box I nicknamed my dream box. It had some pretty baby clothes, a series of letters i had written to my future husband, my purity ring, and other special things inside it. I would pull it out and cry. I would weep into the baby clothes, with a deep ache of regret that  I may have lost my chance to ever have a child. What did I do wrong?

I learned some things during that period. Firstly, God is still God whether I am single or not. Thank the Lord his love and grace is not dependent on my being married. He is sovereign. I am saved. No matter what happens neither of those two things will change.

I should seek a spouse that God wants, not that I want. Too many times I got caught up in ‘The List’. It’s easy to do when you are so desperate to be with someone who loves you for you. I had a list of things my spouse had to have, be, do, look like, say. It probably bordered on ridiculous. He had to be Mr Darcy, Mr Sully, Prince William, Charles Spurgeon and Mr Miyagi all at the same time. No wonder he didn’t exist. Two years ago I felt my singleness pressing down on me in a big way. I was really burdened by it. I remember taking a walk to the beach and crying into the sunset. Then I took out a notepad, wrote down everything I wanted in a spouse, and then tore it out. I prayed for a long time. Then, I ripped it into hundreds of pieces and held the torn pieces up to the wind. I wrote later in my journal ‘I’m not going to be bound by a list anymore. I know that you will bring him to me, Lord, and that we’ll know each other when we meet.’ It changed me. To let go of that burden I’d been carrying around. Those moments of fear at His silence. To trust that God knew what I needed even before I asked him for it.

I also learned that Singleness is tough. Those who say ‘Things are so much less complicated when you are single’ would make me scoff. If only they knew, I wanted to say. It’s tough being alone. Maybe some people can enjoy it. But I’m not one of them. I would be glad to have sole reign of the remote. Yet, long to have someone to share it with. I would be glad that I didn’t have to clean my house every day to impress someone. Yet, long to have someone help me clean. I would sigh happily in the quietness of my house after a demanding day of fulfiling other’s needs, yet long to have someone break the silence. It seemed I was constantly pulled in two directions. Glad to be standing on my own two feet, yet longing to have someone stand beside me. I was working full time, serving in church, helping my family, trying to have a social life, looking after children, doing extra work and the list went on. Some days I would fall into bed exhausted. Wake up exhausted. Continue to wear myself out, mostly to hide the emptiness that always snuck up on me. It was tough. It was also hard to fight temptation. The temptation to think that you can do it all yourself, that you don’t need God.

I also learned that  God’s Grace covers us. There’s not one portion of grace for the married people and another for the singles. God’s Grace is for everyone. Freely given, because we trust Him. And if God’s grace covers us, and it is freely given, it means my identity is found in Him. Not in me. Or Mr Darcy, or whoever else came across my radar. My identity is in Christ. And that changes everything. It gives you joy in the here and now, even when you feel the pain of loneliness. Your heart might be deeply scarred by past relationships you really counted on. But when you find your identity in Christ, He gives you the strength to stand. I find that comforting. Those moments I was paralysed with pain, unsure if I’d ever be able to ‘walk’ again, He came through. He always does. He took my hand and guided my every tiny faltering step. And I found peace. New hope. I found life again.

But eventually I reached a crossroads and a dilemma….

(continued next post)

News, and I’ll be back soon!

Havent posted for ages. Sorry to leave you hanging. I’ll return shortly to finish up my series on Singleness and Grace (its awesome- don’t miss it). I recently Got engaged, something I never thought would happen to me. I dreamed about it, and prayed for years. but it seemed so many times that God was silent. Not to go into too much detail, because I’ll expand in my new posts, but I think I started to give up on that dream. So as you can imagine, I am filled with incredible joy. And peace. It’s amazing how both of those emotions go hand-in-hand when you are living God’s plan. Despite the joy, I have been really busy, starting back at work, making crazy wedding plans, and all the rest of the things that accompany a new year. But I wanted to take some time to say. God knows you. He loves you. and even when He feels silent, His plan continues. Back soon!