The grace to roar

Silently, silently this gift has come.  And suddenly in the space of two years I find myself with an authority which I would never have believed.  The sowing of my twenties, seed into darkness underground, waiting, waiting, waiting.  And now death into life, barrenness into fruitfulness, silence into words of weightiness.

I never sought it, this gift.  Wanted only to survive, to know that perhaps I was OK.  Wanted that I too might be a minister to his church, though I was not a man nor an extravert nor an intuitive thriving on big-picture breadth of activity.

And how often I heard that I was not OK.  How often I heard that I was not this enough, or that.  How often my gifts with the text and in the prophetic and in the intellectual space were disparaged.  How often the fledging contemplative yearning to sit long in the silence was dismissed as naive, unreasonable.  How often the capacity for extraverting detailed logical propositions was rejected because they wanted me to judge the world through the lens of feelings.  How often I heard that I was not OK.

They never meant it that way, of course.  They wanted me to be well-rounded, to mature in ministry.  Which, for them, meant that I become just like them.  And whilst I grew into the areas which were not strength for me, I could never become them – though I tried.  For I was me and in that was the gift itself.

Twenties gave way to thirties and, for years, the death and barrenness and silence continued.  Still, I had to learn to accept my belovedness.  Still, I had to learn to trace the uniqueness of its every contour, to own the gift that it is.

And then mid-thirties.  Another gift began to sprout from the first.  From the gift of who I am has come this newer one.  An authority.  For now I know who I am and I am no longer ashamed.  Most days, anyway.  And I hold it and I own it and some people hate it but others receive overflow of blessing from it.  From it flow my Nos because I am now unequivocal on my Yes.  And from it, too, flows my capacity to call out the beauty which I see in others and to fight on their behalf that the gift of who they are might not be quenched but fanned into flame.

Authority to be.  But also authority to bless.  The grace to roar on behalf of the other, to counter the efforts of those who want to make the other in their own image, to use my strength to make space for the flourishing of the other.

And I don’t know how this has happened in the last couple of years nor why there has been acceleration in the last six months.  But, more and more, he shows me that not only am I no longer that storm-tossed twenty-something who can barely find space to breathe and to be.  No, he has given more than this.  For now I am not only able to own my strength and beauty but I can also hold the space that others might discover theirs.

What about you?  What are the areas of your life right now in which you see God acting sovereignly to do something beautiful whilst you simply watch in wonder-filled awe?

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4 thoughts on “The grace to roar

  1. Praise God! Somehow I’ve been waiting to hear something like this from you.
    Christina x

    • Thanks, Christina. Funny, I didn’t know what I didn’t have until he gave it. And now I realise it’s what I always reached for yet didn’t quite step into during the LGC years! How are you? x

  2. Dear Chloe,
    I was delighted to read this latest post of yours. I have long been aware of the need of a deeper spirituality within the Church. At a younger age one was most grateful because dependent on those who nurtured one in the faith and to whom one constantly turned. Now in older life, where does one find such kinship?
    One Christian leader of previous generation described the membership of his mainline denomination, no doubt rather unkindly, as being 25000 miles wide and one inch deep.
    In my reading of Russian Church literature I have become intrigued by the mentioned of “staretz” who were so close to God they could minister accurate spiritual counsel to all comers. They were apparently able to read immediately the depths of the hearts of the supplicants who presented themselves.
    One longs for such insightful leadership to-day, but the price is as you describe
    Every blessing,


    PS I did respond to your blog “Becoming an obstreperous old woman” somewhere but perhaps you haven’t come across it yet.

    • Dear Michael,

      Yes, the staretz is a concept about which I know only a little, mostly from reading the Russian work, ‘The Way of a Pilgrim’ (freely-downloadable, I think, and an interesting read if you have not). I wonder whether the concept may be similar to having a really good spiritual director? After having a few failed attempts at spiritual direction, I found somebody very helpful to me a few years ago and it is hugely beneficial to be on the receiving end of such wisdom!

      Blessings, and thank you for commenting!


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