Wilderness 2Wilderness Wellbeing
In March this year, many of us found ourselves in an unexpected wilderness, as the Covid-19 pandemic spread rapidly across the globe. It was as if everything familiar that grounded us in reality, was pulled from under our feet.

I don’t know about you, but even though things have improved I’m still struggling right now. Much of what was familiar has changed, and I’m anxious about reconnecting with this new risky world in the way I used to. Thinking through the practicalities and safe practices of what used to be simple tasks, such as shopping, depositing a cheque, visiting family, is fraught with exhausting questions and preparation, and I’m finding it’s just easier not to do them. Yet, life is risky, and I know that I cannot remain in my relatively safe bubble forever. Connectivity is key to wellbeing, and I am missing some of the old ways whilst relishing some of the new....

Wilderness Exhaustion
CalmAny crisis is exhausting, as we struggle to understand the pattern of events that brought us to this unfamiliar place and attempt to negotiate new parameters of normal. We long for calm amidst the chaos, wrestling with the lack of control and the fear of what will happen next. We question things we once held dear and, paradoxically, when things are taken away, it is then that we begin to realise what is truly important in our lives and how little we actually need to live well.
So, I wonder if you have found any calm amidst the chaos of this confusing wilderness, and if so, where your sanctuary has lain?

Wilderness Sanctuary:

Refuge in the Creator
With every crisis encountered in my life, as a follower of Christ my first cry is always to my Father God. Each wilderness experience brings me face to face with my own weakness and inability to cope. Yet it is in my helplessness, that I am often led to rely more on the Creator. It is amid chaos that I find sanctuary. We find God in the eye of the storm.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.God is my refuge and strength, a very help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1-2)

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ ( 2 Corinthians 12:9)

Refuge in creation

Quiet PathsWith few places to go, many of us have sought sanctuary in creation, discovering local walks in parks, woods, countryside or by water. I have struggled with church online, finding it lacking in enabling me to connect with God or community, so each Sunday morning we venture out to meet with God through his Creation. It is in exploring quiet paths and trails, lingering beside water, meandering through woods and noticing the changing hedgerows that we have found connectivity with God, a deeper understanding of our local environment and access to praise and prayer that has been otherwise difficult in these wilderness days. It is through the quiet wilderness that we have found refuge for our spirits.

Refuge in creativity
Creativity has always been a place of safety for me, so during this time, it made sense to utilise this familiar place of refuge. I have stitched and baked, nurtured seeds and grown plants. I have written and read and enjoyed learning from the creativity of others. I have tried to still be involved in enabling others to be creative too, realising once more how much I am both nourished through being creative and in enabling others to be so.

Creativity Flowers of the Field


Refuge in Connections
We are created to be a connected people, and the lack of physical connection has been particularly hard for many over the last few months. Whether our connectivity is with family or friends, we need each other to stay well. We have all been challenged to find new ways of being connected, often grappling with creative new technology to ensure we can still connect with those we care for. Connections encourage us to have a caring heart for each other as we share our difficulties and joys. Connectivity offers opportunity to contribute, collaborate and care.

hands 5216585 1920Right now, there is no certainty of what the future will look like, and we are all anxiously adapting as far as we are able. There are going to be challenges and setbacks, but we have an Almighty God in whom I trust. We may not know the future but when all seems dark, I try to trust that God reigns and has equipped us all with all that we need for the journey ahead. Let us persevere and persist through the fog of uncertainty to confidently run the race he has set before us.

 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures for ever. (Psalm 40:8)

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