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Seasons of Life: Walking with Dusty Sandals

I probably rolled my eyes the first time I heard ‘seasons of life’ from a fellow Christian. It sounded chintzy to me, like something you’d find engraved on a plaque mounted next to a Thomas Kinkade print. Can you picture it: a painting of a too-perfect gazebo surrounded by a pristine English garden? Maybe it even has a little painting light mounted above it, to better sear the saccharine display into your mind. It makes me want to pick up a charcoal pencil and sketch in a kraken devouring the flowers, shooting laser beams at the sky in wild, blissful rage. The raw sweetness is sickening.

It can be maddening when you’re waiting for something in your life to happen–a change you want to occur. This can happen in seasons of rest or reflection, or during those times when Dusty Sandals* is preparing you for what comes next. It’s a “Wait here and trust me” or “Walk with me and trust me” kind of thing. I’m not an expert at this, but I think this is how it works.

I’m in such a season currently. A foundation in my life recently changed, somewhat dramatically and suddenly. Like a chess game, I am trying to figure out which piece to move next. I made a couple of foolish moves in the beginning chaos, but am stepping back to take a look at the bigger picture. Dusty Sandals is ever understanding and sympathetic–He gave me my queen back. Then He asked if He could sit down and play.

I said sure, but I would get unlimited handicaps. He agreed. There may have been a chuckle while I prepped the popcorn bowl and drinks.

Whenever we’re uncertain, those who follow Dusty Sandals can (see: need to) remember that He is always present and ultimately in control–even in the midst of evil (see: war) or otherwise very bad situations. When we suffer, He is suffering with us; when we rejoice, He rejoices and joins us at the taco bar for seconds. Sometimes during these seasons of waiting, we need to get out of His way and let Him work; other times we need to sit down with Him and break out the chessboard and talk it through together. But just be reassured–He’s there and He’s not leaving you. He promised you that long ago.

I hope everyone is well. To any readers in India, my thoughts and prayers are with you especially as your country continues to suffer so much with the pandemic. Please do your best to take care of yourselves and each other.

Until then, happy writing.

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*Dusty Sandals: I refer to Jesus sometimes in my blogs as “the guy in the dusty sandals” or “the guy with the dusty sandals”. I shortened it this time to Dusty Sandals. I don’t think He would mind.


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Like An Anchor Study Guide: The Beatitudes available for preorder and ARC

To my readers: please check out an upcoming Bible study guide on The Beatitudes by Marissa from Like An Anchor. I’ve read Marissa’s blogs throughout the years and it’s always been a refreshing spot of light and love on the internet. I’ll be reading this and giving it a review as well, so stay tuned for that sometime in June.

Be sure to like the author’s original post as well, if you so can, to show support and share with anyone who you feel may be interested. Cheers and take care.

In Christ,
A.R. Clayton

Like An Anchor

I’m so very excited to announce that the first book in my Like An Anchor Study Guide series is available for preorder. The Beatitudes releases on June 22nd, and you can order an ebook copy now. If you’d rather have a print copy, then you’ll need to wait until June 22nd to order it (for some reason I can’t set up a preorder option for print books).

This book has been a labor of love for several months now and I’m so happy I can finally share it with you all. If you read my blog series on The Beatitudes that started back in September of last year, then you’ve already seen the first draft of this book. The Study Guide version expands on those posts in each chapter and includes discussion/journaling prompts. The book also has a brand new introduction and conclusion, as well as scripture lists with each…

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“People Suck”, Compassion & Naivety: Thoughts

I was in a meeting for work once, years ago, when an associate shared a story from working at a children’s psychiatric care unit in a hospital. I believe she was in charge of intake and associated data collections with the children.

She shared a story of parents leaving (see: dumping) their children at the hospital, apparently “done” with parenting and sick of dealing with their kid’s issues. This happened more than once, I gathered from her tone. Just imagine if you would for a moment, being a child again (see: no money, no resources, limited education, a most vulnerable state of being overall) and being abandoned by your caretakers. Your brain (for whatever reason) isn’t working correctly; you may be in fact hallucinating. You’re sitting in a hard, plastic chair in an unfamiliar environment, trying to understand what’s happening to your life. And then you hear several words that vibrate across your heart:

“I’m done; you take him.”

I remember silence descended after the story ended. It was a solemn moment, as we all (to one degree or another) worked with vulnerable children and their families. The woman was clearly upset, even now, from witnessing these events. And then she said a bold statement, as we sat waiting for our next meeting to start:

“People suck. They just really suck, you know?”

I agreed wholeheartedly, but sadly. People do “suck”–they’re selfish, ignorant, vindictive, hurtful, and the adjectives could continue, but let’s not weary ourselves too much from one blog entry. The adjective that bothers me the most lately however, especially in America, is uncompassionate.

When people experience suffering, I believe their true self is revealed. All the playacting, the pretty self they put before public, gets ripped away. As a general rule, people don’t like to suffer–they want to be comfortable and seek the easy way out of situations, often times even if it does go against their moral compass. Sometimes this is disguised by the oft repeated phrase “I just want everyone to get along.” No, I don’t believe you do–I believe you just want to go back to the status quo, as it suits your comfort level, your nexus of power and control–your idea of “truth” and reality. Sweep all the uglies under the carpet and just idolize the pretties. Let’s be honest.

This and other reflections of humans and their bumbling behaviors have wearied me lately. Every time I see a Trump flag supporting hatred and white supremacy, a medical mask dangling uselessly under a flapping mouth, or someone cutting me off in traffic because they couldn’t see the merge sign from three miles back on a clear day. It’s soul tiring.

The only ‘solution’ to this I’ve found is to continue walking with Jesus. The true Jesus I mean, not the fake one selling you books for $29.95 with a Crest sponsored smile and Republican endorsements. No, I mean the Jesus who lived with us on earth, suffered in the most horrifying ways, and knows all too well what people think in the deepest chambers of their heart. He is the embodiment of compassion, of love–the truth, the light, the way. He came to serve, and showed us how in turn.

I found myself getting too sucked into the noise of the world and deactivated the social media accounts I had tried out earlier this year. I continue writing my WIP, and prepping for starting to submit my work. I also took the time to redesign my webpage–snazzy, isn’t it? I hope you all are doing well and taking care of your headspace and well-being. Take care and happy writing.