We all go through dry seasons in our faith journey. They can feel arduous and frustrating, as well as painful and isolating.
I am a very bubbly, extravert Welsh 35-year-old who people may find it hard to believe can find life and all its strains sometimes too much to handle.
Depression and anxiety have been a very real part of my story for many years. So these dry seasons come and go in different strengths as the years go by.
I remember two years ago as one of these seasons raged raucously in my heart, heading to the bench I go and sit at most days to pray.
When I say pray, I probably mean just oneliners as it was all my heart could muster in that time.
A simple 'help!' or 'speak!' - the kind of prayers that seem like they are an invalid ticket!
I sat on this bench overlooking the Welsh valley I live in, at a scene I look at most days, and as the word 'speak' tumbled out of my heart with very little faith behind it, after many days of it being followed by silence, I looked up at the familiar surrounding scenery, only to see it in a different way than I had ever before.
It reminds me of a line in a worship song that I love: "Give me vision, to see things like you do."
Or that well-known passage in Psalm 121: "I lift my eyes to the Hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord."
I looked up to the high-standing hills and the bright blue sky, but what caught my eyes in this moment was the pylons! I know right?! Out of the majestic beauty of the Welsh countryside and the beaming sunshine, I saw the ugly pylons!
What unravelled before me felt like a script from God's heart about the beauty of these pylons as a metaphor for our lives as His children.
Isn't it amazing how God uses the seemingly mundane to magnify a magnificent narrative!
Here's what I saw:
Pylons stand with what look like open arms.
This is a posture of both receiving and giving. It's an invitation to allow God in and not be closed off to His heart. It's also a posture of welcoming the least, the last and the lost. It's an invitation that echoes our Saviour on the cross, and the wide stretch of His everlasting arms of welcome, salvation, true security and deep love.
Pylons stand tall.
They give the illusion that they are touching heaven, yet are so firmly rooted in earth. We are citizens of heaven and God's higher perspectives hold true. Yet in this time on earth we are to live in the world but not of the world. Touching heaven, changing earth. "What is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal."
Pylons also stand available.
They simply stand while the power of electricity blazes through them. Our greatest ability isn't our gifting but our availability to God every day. Our 'remaining' allows room for His power to work in and through us. We are called to STAND surrendered while the 'all powerful' One acts in our surrender.
Pylons stand in line with other pylons.
They are different shapes and sizes but all attached to each other by these powered lines. This was a picture of unity over uniformity. As the church of Jesus Christ, we are to fight for unity. Although different in expression, we are to recognize the importance of connection and the strength of standing together.
My eyes were distracted by the glare of the sun for a moment but God's heart called my eyeline back to the pylon landscape.
I pondered how these pylons probably feel like they stick out like sore thumbs, spoiling the scenery; they probably feel so inferior in comparison to the elaborate landscapes or the powerful glare of the sunshine they get to mix with. This was a correlation to the heaviness of my heart in that moment!
In the way?
Ring a bell? Might be their dialect, and was definitely mine!
But is this actually true? Or are our pylon pals disillusioned, just like us?
Because maybe the pylons are missing the point!
When they remember to take their eyes off their present predicament and they realize that they are connected to a source and when they are connected to the source they are: integral, highly valuable, and their reach undeniable.
There were many other spheres to this picture but the last one I want to share is this: as I sat there and watched this heavenly theatrical vision play in my mind, the weather dramatically turned from a blue skied delight to the usual rainy narrative of the Welsh grey skies.
As the rain and wind battered at the pylons, they remained standing, beaten by the elements yet unscathed.
It spoke to me of how these pylons both survive and thrive in the summer and winter, in all weathers! Pylons are in it for the long haul, through the sunny days, the rainy seasons and the wind torn moments! These pylons are resilient because they were built for the same power to be able to work through them in every season!
Likewise, God is the lifter of our heads and is with us in every season!
I sat there and wept at the beauty of God's unravelled heart!
As we head into the first few months of the New Year, they can feel uncertain, full of anxieties, wind torn and full of fear, especially in the current state of a global pandemic.
But: may you know in these days that you count; that the mundane can be magnificent with God on your side; that His embrace is a continual invitation that never ceases; that His grace and power in you remains and flows through you in every season; that when you feel like you are not enough that you are His highly valuable child and that your availability to Him is the greatest ability you hold; and finally, that you may know Emmanuel – God is with you.
This is a simple introduction to a 40 day, devotional book I recently wrote called 'Pylon People'. It is a 40 day journey of art and meditation to empower your spirit. Through scripture, art, story, meditative moments and an invitation to be creative in your response, this book unwraps in more detail some of the thoughts I share above.
You don't have to be a Van Gough to engage; this is for everybody! And this call to creativity isn't about perfect creations. Creativity doesn't wait for that perfect moment, it fashions its own divine moments out of ordinary ones. We are all creative as we are made in the image of our creator God! So I invite you on this Pylon Pilgrimage.
The book is available from www.pylon-people.com and all other platforms.