Tag Archives: spirituality

Simply Begin Again

As always, a new year begins again. And I am still reflecting on one particular Christmas letter. Initially, I was caught off guard by the authenticity of the young woman I met several years ago and spent time with before she moved to another state. Moreover, I am inclined to keep her letter at the ready to receive the gift of inspiration for my own practice of what the apostle Paul’s encourages in three short verses of 1st Thessalonians:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; 

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. vs.16-18

The following is a portion of the letter (I left out their names and the place). I invite you to consider how you would adjust to unfamiliar living circumstances.

We are entering our 4th year of living here! I still rely way too much on GPS to get around, and I am constantly surprised when I make it to my intended destination! (Honestly, this happened in California too! HaHa!) The weather still keeps us guessing daily, but the predictability of the season changes is just so magical to us. The crisp winters, the awakening of spring, lush green summers, and my favorite – the colors of fall! Seriously, it looks like the most amazing confetti when the leaves hit the ground! I sound just like a travel brochure don’t I!!?!…We do miss everyone in California, but I guess you can say we really have hit our stride this past year. Isn’t it amazing how life can surprise you like that? In 2020 we actually didn’t think we would last another year here. We realized that our original vision of what our life would be like here did not match reality. This was a hard realization, but we both decided we were going to change our thinking and adopt an “attitude of gratitude” for our space and surroundings. Well, here we are Happier!

I am amazed by this couple’s year long adoption of an “attitude of gratitude.” Most often I create a long list for whom and what I have deep gratitude. But this couple was grateful for one thing all year: the space and surroundings of their new home. It was intentional. It was life-giving. And like any spiritual practice, I am sure they had to do as Benedict of Nursia reminds us:

Always we begin again. 

This is a new way to begin again. Simplifying the practice of gratitude by giving thanks for one “thing” at a time be it a person, place, thing or even a pandemic can be life-giving. And I am convinced it includes being generous and gracious with ourselves to “always begin again” with the hope that we will be happier and even rejoicing always!

If you are a spiritual director or in spiritual direction, consider how simplifying gratitude might be incorporated into your spiritual directions sessions?

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Nearer to God’s Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. ~Matthew 5:8

Nearer to God’s heart:
Hope-filled,
Encouraged,
Accepted.

Hope-filled,
Rested,
Accepted
Thankfully.

Rested,
Encouraged
Thankfully…
Nearer to God’s heart!

The nearer we get to God’s heart, the more we can see him. How would you describe being nearer to God’s heart? I look forward to reading your insights in the comments!

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Wondering and Waiting

Maybe you noticed there was only one Blog posted last week. As thunder roared and lightning flashed and rain fell in Holland, Michigan, I was busy praying. I needed to get out back to California by Friday at noon for a Prayer Retreat that I was co-leading. Through the night, I wondered when the storm would end! Thursday, I waited for the storm to end! But reality set in when the travel agent called to tell me the flight was canceled. It didn’t matter when it ended; I wasn’t going anywhere.

I prayed for “plan b.” Thankfully, I didn’t have to wonder or wait very long before my travel agent called with a new itinerary. If I flew out Friday morning at 5:45 am with a stop in Detroit, I could be in California before noon. That could work. I just needed to step back for a moment in order to ask God how to make it work. I wondered and waited.

For months I had been asking God to give me a glimpse of my “prayer story” to share at the Retreat. We all have a unique rhythm to our prayer lives based on our unique relationship with the Author and Perfecter of our faith. For as long as I can remember, my prayer life has consisted of asking questions of God.

Why is this happening, God?
How long will I have to endure, Lord?
When will I be absent from the body, but present with you?

These are the kinds of questions that make wondering and waiting an integral part of prayer. These are the kinds of questions that make prayer a conversation. What is God inviting you to wonder about and wait for?*

*Take a few moments to “comment” on what you are wondering about and waiting for I will pray along with you.

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