Tension produces growth

“You would not know it from this blog that Catherine Mullaney loves to write.” Any one of my readers would be justified in making such a statement. Since starting this new blog at the beginning of 2014 I have only posted 16 times. This is not even noteworthy but the fact is I do love to write. Currently, I have three handwritten journals going: one for healing, one for spiritual growth/leadership development, one for prayers and ideas. I write at least one 3×5 index card a day except on Sundays. I love to write. I also love to read.
This morning I woke up thinking about Hayley Hutchins who writes here. I hadn’t read her blog in a while. And this is the first summer that I did not get to see Hayley face to face in several summers. She is a younger friend, contemporary and comrade of my children. So this morning I went to her blog to read. It was good to catch up because her blog could be called “Have you seen my heart lately? Here it is.” Hayley wears her heart on her home page. I SO appreciate her musings. This led to my thinking about how I have fallen short, way short, of my goals to be writing here regularly.
However, I have been writing daily since last September, mostly by hand. And for the most part, I have been in a season of being disarmed by love. The love of God that flows through my fellow human beings can be overwhelming at times. I find myself wanting to pull back from all these new relationships that have blossomed in the past 11 months. I do need to breathe and I am a person who needs to take time to recharge in solitude, but it does not mean that I need to retreat. Growth happens in the tension of developing these relationships. Can I be this old and I’m still learning about this aspect of deep friendship?
I thought maybe I ought to share something from one of my hand-written journal right here:
This is from my spiritual growth/leadership development journal entry August 10, 2014


“Jesus, son of David have mercy on me.
This morning I woke & picked up Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus. At this point it is so good that I need to read through the rest of it and then go back the rest of the week and note in here my highlights and reflections.
Yesterday I attended my Sat AM ACA Meeting where hearts are shared – it is weird but I didn’t feel like I shared my heart but I pray and hope that in my brokenness through the cracks the Light of Life shown thru.
After I met with my friend A. for coffee. A. is the newest person to join us for our Thursday evening Bible study. She’s so open to the LORD and He has called her back to Himself.
A. shared with me about centering prayer and explained it to me. It is very appealing to me – in its simplicity. Right now I feel like and know that I am trying to pack too much into my quiet time with the LORD and I need to leave more room for breathing where the Holy Spirit can comfort me, speak to me, and refresh me. I need to learn from my 2 days away and incorporate 20 minutes or even 30 of a relaxed time with the LORD. Perhaps schedule another time away and even return to a morning of planning my week as I continue in the steps, gear up to write a resume, and start applying for work. Get back to exercise – especially strength training.”

 Originally I wanted to title this post “Writing as a Tool” and it is, both in hand writing and at the keyboard. And as I read back through the post I realized that what I shared so far has shown me that the writing reveals a disarming love through the people, my love for Hayley and A.’s love for me. I do experience the Love of God through writing but it is hard for me to admit that I need to be engaged in relationship with people. For the Love of God to be manifested in it most vulnerable and true form I must be in relationship to my fellow human beings. For God himself came down and took on flesh, in order to be like us and to reveal Himself to us. Normally, I would not quote such a large passage of Scripture, however for me to support my statements concerning God’s love and being in relationship with my fellow man, I find it necessary. 

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18 ESV)

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:13-21 ESV)


Published by: Catherine Mullaney

First and foremost, I am a child of the Living God who is found as One God in Three persons, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. I have been married to the same man for over 25 years, together we have three adult children. I love my family and God’s and I know that both are trying to love me. Over my lifetime, I hope that I have also been a good friend, faithful citizen of the Kingdom, thoughtful, kind, open, and that I will continue to do so by God’s grace. If you were to look at my weekly calendar, you might describe my life as diverse so no one can stick me in the Christian box or the recovery box or any box for that matter. People don’t belong in boxes anyway. I am grateful to be human. I enjoy living in New England. I love a great game of golf, catching a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, a good book, to write with pen and paper, fruitful conversations, to sing and dance, to walk. One of my signatures in this life is my laugh and I love to “sign.”

Categories The Power of Love, UncategorizedTags, , , , , , 1 Comment

One thought on “Tension produces growth”

  1. Aaaah! This is why you asked about my neighborhood! Oh man, it’s so embarrassing to be reminded that other people read what I write sometimes. 😛 “Growth happens in the tension of developing these relationships.” Something I struggle to learn daily! I often feel too empty to pour love on others, and I hear His gentle prodding that He will grow and fill as I follow Him in loving.

    And as George Macdonald quoth in Phantastes, “Be thy heart a well of love, my child, Flowing, and free, and sure; For a cistern of love, though undenIed, Keeps not the spirit pure.”

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