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As I write I'm at the midpoint between taking a personal getaway with God and leading one. The memory of the weekend is still sweet and I'm looking forward to facilitating such a time for others on the weekend of 9-11 December.
I shared the experience with my friend Ank. We were actually guests at a men's retreat. Ed Haagsman of the Navigators has opened up his network to us, thrilled that like-minded women are available to offer getaways for women. He instructed us to 'stay in the background'. This was a men's retreat after all. We smiled at the thought and the challenge he'd given these two highly social women. It was no problem though. The men welcome us warmly and we, like them, were there for one purpose: to meet with God.
And it was a lovely meeting! I've been thinking about what facilitated it...
Intention. I really wanted to connect with God. I know that the Lord loves us to prioritise time together, and sometimes you just need extended times together with the One you love.
Expectancy. I know that God loves to speak when we stop to listen. So my ears were tuned to listening and I was confident that this was going to be time well spent.
Aaaah! The beauty of unscheduled, non-computer time. (My life is ruled way too much by the computer screen.) For 48 hours the only 'have to' on my schedule was a 'want to' - to be alone with God.
God spoke. And in such a beautiful way, as he drew me deeper into intimacy and assured me afresh of his great love for me.Does this speak to a longing in your own heart? Are you in the area? Join us! (Doe mee!) Registration closes 23/11.
During July and August 2011 Refreshed hosted a series of reflections on Nouwen's 'secret journal' which he wrote as he moved through a deep personal crisis. He writes, "What once seemed such a curse has become a blessing. All the agony that threatened to destroy my life now seems like the fertile ground for greater trust, stronger hope, and deeper love." Excerpts from his work provide fertile thought for our own reflection. Begin the reflections
Dawson Trotman once said, "Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the pen." Read my take on the power of journalling in the Conversations Journal blog.
June's reflection topic over at Conversations Journal was What are you viewing that is forming your soul? I pulled a movie out of our dvd collection, The Thorn Birds. Made for television in 1983, this 8 hour movie ranked second to Roots as the most-watched mini-series ever.
I'm a softy for a good love story, but this one contains some especially good soul-forming content.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)
Lord, it will take me my lifetime to unpack this gift you have given, but keep me marvelling at every discovery along the way.
"The Christian life is not about what you do for Me but about what I have done for you."
How easy it is to slip into performance mode, to put the emphasis on doing over being, on achieving rather than receiving. Yet the doing has already been done and the Doer stands ever ready to be received. Lord, I choose a receptive heart today!
I've celebrated Lent only for the past few years. My earliest memory of the season was to wonder at the seemingly odd tradition of my Anglican friends who had an ash cross applied to their foreheads on Ash Wednesday.
The beauty of the symbolism doesn't go over my head any more.
In fact, as I've endeavored to live more contemplatively, I've made a full about face. Now I love Lent! I love taking an intentional approach toward Good Friday. By preparing myself well, once we arrive at the celebration of Christ's atonement, I can experience its meaning with fullness.
The practice which has helped the most in my preparation is to journey with Jesus through the gospels as he makes his way toward Jerusalem. So this year I'll celebrate the new Deeper Devotion Facebook Page by sharing reflective thought throughout the season of Lent. I invite you to follow, either here or there!
Note: I updated and re-ran this series in 2013. It's accessible here
Deeper Devotion is now on Facebook. Please come on over and consider becoming a fan.
I've another post up at Conversations, a pretty tender mother-daughter confession which would probably make my mother cry. Mom will be 89 this week and doesn't read blogs so I think I'm safe from causing her tears.
My hunch is that my story rings true in the lives of many women, and I hope it might speak some hope for the arduous path toward spiritual maturity.
Head over to the Conversations Journal Blog to read my reflection on simplicity. This not-so-simple practice is my adopted theme for 2011.
It's now February and that means I'm expanding my practice to include a second location. I'll continue to work out of my home, but as of this month I also am working a couple of days each month in Uithoorn.
Eliagg is a cooperative of Christian psychologists and psychotherapists with multiple locations throughout The Netherlands. The Uithoorn group has just moved into a larger location and I'm happy for the opportunity to offer spiritual direction in this setting alongside other professionals.
Do tough circumstances tend to deplete your joy? They do mine. I know in my head that true joy runs deeper than surface happiness but my head doesn't always manage to convince my heart of that. I recently dove into a word study on joy and, within an hour, joy was resonating within me again. Here are some of the gems I gleaned.
In the first passage which caught my attention, Moses was instructing the Israelites about the annual harvest festival: "The Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete" (Deut. 16:15).
The harvest had a special significance for the crowd that stood before Moses. These children of an enslaved nation were about to take possession of their own land. It would take a huge communal investment to win the land, settle it, and bring in their first harvest. When they did, they were to stop to celebrate and to give thanks to the Giver of the bounty. The celebration would complete their joy.
There is an earthy quality to their celebration which is not easily shared by urban people like me. Continue reading