chewed: having ragged edges when you want to be whole


I’m looking at our recently planted runner bean and strawberry plants, sighing over them being chewed, frayed around the edges, mirroring my own sorry soul state.

Although instead of pesky molluscs (and maybe an early caterpillar or two), my holey, chewed up state is a result of having bitten off more than I can easily chew, never mind swallow.

I’ve been running (in a tortoise-slow kind of way) on empty for far too long. My previous post here hinted at this depletion. And it’s got to the point where I’ve become more concerned at this slowing down and feeling of overwhelm, not keeping up well with anything. Maybe you can relate?

Usually I think of a tortoise to describe this slow burn way of crawling through my days. But as I sat and contemplated it, I thought of a snail instead and how they slither, glued to ground.

A snail’s progress may be slow, imperceptible to our eyes, but they can truly decimate a plant with their stealthy nibbles! As summer kicks in and we begin to plant hope for tomorrow, potential food to eat and flowers that please, we soon discover how much snail munch-stops have torn to shreds previously intact garden greenery.

Then we may marvel at their ability to cling on (carefully avoiding the snail pellets, of course), and manoeuvre their way around each plant in turn. A glistening trail, a slither of silver remains the most visible sign of their passing….


Mollusc Marvel

She carries the weight of a curled-up shell

upon her slippery frame, its fragile cusp

balancing on a body made for slithering


Movement may be slow but she traverses

stony ground with slimy thread of silver, trailing

her glory marker behind her like a gauzy

veil shimmering in the sunshine, laced

with hope on a journey fraught with danger


This fragile rope follows her from stem to stem

and back again, indulging in a spot of leaf munching

while her carapace crunches its welcoming shade

to protect the delicate vulnerability

residing deep within its darkening glade



How do we cope with our thready lives, ragged edges, chewed up days and lost energy? If you’re anything like me, you might try pressing on regardless for a while. Though, unlike snails, we’re not built to carry heavy weights on our own backs but to give them over to God instead.

The best thing to do is to take a break, take it to God, lean on Him and rest in every conceivable way. We cannot run on empty or we have nothing of any worth left over to offer others.

Therefore, I am having to pull back from blogging for a bit, seek wholeness, rest in God, and spend some quality time with those I love, because our glory markers can become ragged, spread thin, if we fail to spend sufficient time with Him.

I need to come aside, abide and be awed anew at all God can do with a weary woman’s frame when it’s given over to Him. Maybe a season of rest and refreshment also has your name on it?

I will be praying for you all while I am away. Meanwhile, feel free to dive into the archives here and over at Words of Joy. You can also catch a few poetic thoughts appearing on my Facebook page. God bless you, friend, until we gather here again. 🙂 xo

20 thoughts on “chewed: having ragged edges when you want to be whole

  1. Dear Joy,
    I am in awe of the way that you have carried on and managed to give so freely from your heart over this past season of trial! You have walked through incredibly hard days with your husband and yet your heart has blessed us here so often. Now I am praying that a similar blessing will be returned to you, “pressed down, and running over, poured into your lap,” from God’s great storehouse. I will surely miss you here, and at WordsofJoy, but my heart is longing for you to be restored and refreshed! Much Love, Hugs, and Prayers for you, my friend! xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, I’m also in awe of God’s amazing, sustaining grace in keeping me/us going for so long! The time has flown somehow, hard as it has been. I’m grateful for the way God has issued a gentle invitation to savour a season of rest in Him as my man is on the mend. What a beautiful blessing you have bestowed on me! Sorry you’ve had to say “Goodbye” to me twice. Although I do have some folk who read one of the blogs and not the other, hence my need for leave-taking in both places!
      Yes, becoming “restored and refreshed” in every way is certainly my hope and prayer over the next few weeks. I’m going to miss sharing my words on the blogs and visiting friends’ sites like I usually try to do, but I sense rest also means more than closing the door on being busy. I hope to receive fresh inspiration and slowly expand my creativity in new directions, God willing. Do stay in touch via email, okay? Much love, hugs and prayers for you too! xoxo

  2. A snail leaves a trail, and you leave a silver trail of hope, Joy. I truly will miss your words, but like Bettie, my heart longs for you to be restored and refreshed, my dear friend. You will remain in my heart and prayers! Love and hugs to you!

    • What a lovely thing to say, thank you, Trudy! It’s good to hear how this silver surfer is somehow leaving a trail of hope behind her, praise God! I’m really going to miss your company here for a while. This close contact with blogging/writing readers and friends is probably the hardest thing about taking a break. :/ Although you will most likely see me popping up on social media from time to time and can email me whenever you want to. It’s good we’ve connected there! I’m humbly grateful to be in your heart and prayers. Love and hugs to you, dear friend! xo ❤

  3. I’m chiming in with Bettie and Trudy and also laying claim to this Proverb for you (11:25, I think): “(S)he who refreshes others will (her)self be refreshed.” You’ve poured yourself out for many; now let the inner well (gently) refill—no matter the time frame. Rest, dear Joy. May strength and nourishment flow from myriad sources. May your sleep be sweet and deep. A daily immersion in soul-keeping peace for you both. Amen

    • Chime in all you like, Laurie, it’s always good to hear from you! I love the Proverb you have claimed for me in faith. Oh may it be so, Lord! You are wise to remind me to not rush the slow, gentle infilling God most likely has in mind. I haven’t set a time frame. Being rested, restored and refreshed cannot be rushed. It takes as long as it takes, even if my heart yearns to return to my usual way of things. Thank you so much for the beautiful blessing. Amen to all of the things you mentioned! I may need to return to read these comments when I am tempted to take up the mantle too soon. Keeping you and Dreamer in my thoughts and prayers as you negotiate the hurdles back to strength and greater fitness. Blessings and love, sweet friend. xo ❤

  4. Hello Joy! Inspiring post, as usual. Although I’m saddened that you’re going away for a while I do understand that you need the rest. We all need a break sometimes.
    Beautiful and touching words and poetry. I’ll miss you, but I’ll be here when you get back. I’ll pray all goes well for you and you make a full recovery. ❤ xx

    • Hello Vashti, it’s a joy to see you here and a sadness to know there will be a gap before we gather here again. Yes, I definitely need a rest, having heard the call a few weeks ago and struggled on for a while. There were a few writing commitments to complete and other obligations to get out of the way, but now I am better placed to take that needful break! I’ll miss you, too, my friend. I appreciate your reassurance of being here when I return. Making a full recovery would be wonderful, although I am happy to settle for being a bit less unwell Thank you for your generous, encouraging words! May you have a blessed, creative season ahead. Love and hugs to you! xo ❤

  5. I love your poem, Joy. Enjoy your break from blogging and path toward wholeness. I’ll miss you but looking forward to seeing you refreshed when you return. Peace and love, Deborah

    • Thank you, Deborah, I really appreciate your kind words. I’m hoping to become refreshed and renewed by taking a needful break. I will miss stopping by most of the blogs I usually tend to visit. Most of my reading during this time away will be done prayerfully, thoughtfully and quietly, with God’s leading and guiding, rather than by custom and habit. But I hope to stop by your place now and then. Peace and love to you, my friend. xo

  6. Joy so sorry to see you leaving for awhile. Praying God sends you peace and hope and lots of love that you feel constantly.

    • Hi Debbie, it’s sweet and thoughtful of you to leave a lovely comment! I’m sorry to be drifting off for a while, even though I know rest is an essential priority and also God’s best for me right now. What I don’t know yet is how long it might take for me to recover some needful strength and energy. So I am having to rest in God’s plans, rather than making my own! Yet the wonderful thing is how powerfully Jesus meets with us whenever we decide to spend some quality time with Him. It’s a gift I am truly thankful for. Thank you so much for your beautiful blessing, my friend. I hope and pray God meets with you in a special way this summer. 🙂 xo

    • Hello, Kathrin! Yes, things are a little better than they were, thank you. Though as my husband and I are currently in the throes of some serious sorting and sifting of our years of accumulated clutter, in order to make way for some new carpet and furniture arriving soon, you could say I am far from rested at the moment. But this work (requiring a lot of pausing and pacing, of course) is a fruitful enterprise whereby we can already see signs of having more space to breathe. Thank you so much for stopping by to leave a sweet comment! It’s lovely to meet you. Do drop by again soon. I see you’re fairly new to London. Hope you’re settling in well and that the natives are friendly! Blessings. 🙂

      • Oooh, de-cluttering! I did s lot of that in the summer, before my move. It really does provide breathing space. I especially loved putting my old stuff outside and seeing how other people took it – to them it’s still useful.
        I am settling in well, thanks. Everyone’s been really kind so far!

      • That sounds like a great way to dispose of things! We can’t do that here but we are earmarking stuff for charity shops and possibly to sell. They do say one person’s junk can become another person’s treasure, which is an intriguing thought.
        It’s good to hear you’ve found people are friendly where you live. It helps enormously in feeling happy and settled somewhere.
        By the way, I am blogging about our decluttering process on my other site and you are more than welcome to visit that as well. Have a blessed weekend! 😊 💜

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