Silence So That…

Just a note before I begin, this post goes with the book Living So That By Wendy Blight and is specifically written for the online Bible study that I have the honor of assisting with.   With that being said, even if you are not in the study and have never read the book I strongly encourage that you read this post.

Are you going through the motions in your prayer life? I know life is super busy, your lucky that you have a few spare moments for a quiet time. We know that prayer is a dialog, not a monolog that we are so often tempted to have. We know from the Bible that God speaks to His people. He speaks to us in many ways such as dreams(Joseph), the Bible, other people(Moses spoke to Pharaoh) , an audible voice (Samuel or Moses), or a gentle nudge at the heart.

To sit with the Lord in prayer is powerful. Putting anxiety to rest and our chaotic thoughts to rest. Just being present in The Savior’s arms. Allow Him the chance to renew you. Allow Him the chance to speak to your heart.

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Around the time I was seventeen years old I had the privilege to travel to Taize. Taize is a retreat also known as a pilgrimage with over 5,000 teens and young adults from around the world held in France. This is where I encountered silence. This is where I encountered God’s nudge on my heart. This is where I encountered a deeper relationship with Christ. Worship was three times a day accompanied by eight minutes in silence.

Towards the end of my stay there, our Bible study leader asked us to spend an hour in silence. Let’s experiment and see what it’s like to spend an hour in silence.

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Just kidding! That never gets old. I know the look on your face was priceless. Anyways back to my story. After being told to go find a place to spend in silence, I ventured down to a place called the source. Its beauty is breathtaking. When you breathe in it’s as if you are breathing in peace and when you breath out along with the breath that escapes your lungs all your worries vanish too.

The time there flew by. That is where I let go of many things. Surrendering the future and letting go of the past.  Where God called me into ministry, though I am learning that word is used to describe so much more than pastoring. I cannot fully captive in words my experience with God in silence. The peace surpasses all understand. The joy is unthinkable.

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God speaks to us today. We need to have ears that hear and we must be intentional in seeking His voice. “Planned times of quiet and solitude are a good balance to a busy life. Cultivating a heart of prayer helps you see God’s perspective and to more fully experience His presence throughout the day.”

My challenge to you precious friend is for you to take two to five minutes of silence at least once this week. Silence is a break from the chaos of life, a chance to reconnect with God, and to worship Him in a new way.

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I am helping lead an online Bible Study. We are reading the book Living So That by Wendy Blight. This afternoon I am preparing for an online event later this week. One of the topics spoken about is resting at Jesus’ feet. Sitting silently; just being with Him.”Time spent in silence seeking God’s will is not time wasted, but time spent wisely.” I know it’s hard to get time away. To get a couple of quiet moments. To still our hearts. To actively listen. A few seconds to a few minutes of silence make a difference.  Of course, this takes me back to my journey to Taize, nearly five summers ago.

Taize is a Christian community in France were thousands of teens and young adults gather to draw closer to God. The silence was an essential part of worship there. Learning the simplicity of just being with the Lord.

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I begged God to give me a map for my future, as I sat on a bridge in silence for an hour. That hour changed my walk with Christ allowing me to grow closer than I knew possible.

Now I am certain I never would have understood all He had in store for me.  I wouldn’t have understood that I would minister to those who are chronically ill- I didn’t even know what Lupus was. I wouldn’t have understood that I was called to an online mission field, not Brazil or Africa. I wouldn’t have understood that I needed to slow down or the weight of this quote, “Sometimes we need to care for the 5,000 before ourselves, but sometimes we need to care for ourselves before the 5,000.”  There is still so much I don’t understand, but I trust in God to guide my every breath.

 

 

Called To Ministry

I first considered going into ministry around the age of fourteen, before the chronic illness world ever crossed my mind. I had been reading the Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn. I was introduced to missionaries through one of the books and instantly I wanted to be a missionary. My dream was to complete college than spend at least two full years on the missions field.

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Many events continued to shape me spirituality and as a person from short-term mission work to retreats. I was given unique opportunities to serve. I also faced typical adolescent struggles.

Two years later I went on a pilgrimage to Taize France. It is a community organized by brothers who dedicate their lives to serving God. Their main focuses are teenagers and young adults assisting them in growing in their relationship with Christ. http://www.taize.fr/en

I am convinced there is nowhere in the world that possess the Godly peace offering a transforming experience. It is difficult to wrap it up into words that paint a clear picture. Taize is a community. A journey. Silence and simplicity are hallmark aspect of the three daily worship services. To an energetic young American the concept of spending seven minutes of silence while surrounded by hundreds of people was a foreign concept. To many this concept causes them to tense up it seems unnatural.

The experience was amazing beyond words. It is a unique place and experience. The silence was incorporated in each service for a few minutes. In addition, we had Bible study. Towards the end of the week, one of the brothers told us we were going to spend an hour in silence. I was beside myself. I thought it would be impossible for me to do. They had us pick a spot to spend this time. I ventured down to the source with two of my friends. I sat on a bridge. There God called me into ministry but did not provide details. I knew my life would be dedicated to serving Him in one way or another.

I shared my calling with some people in my church. Their reaction shocked me. They had said they had known I was called into ministry. Apparently I was the last to find out.

I questioned my calling and still do at times today. I wonder at times how I will serve with my illness.I have considered a number of possibilities, but God did not give me a road map.  It is not important for me to know this moment how I will serve God. I have the willing heart and I know in His timing He will guide me.

My Faith

I’m fairly certain that I have mentioned my faith on my blog a couple of times, briefly. I have been a Christian nearly my entire life and my faith plays a big role in my life. I was saved at the early age of three years old in Sunday school.  People tell me from a young age I knew a lot about the Bible. I had an extremely close walk with God. I would tell my mom that God talked to my heart. I understood that prayer was a dialogue not a monologue. I understood the meaning of communion and a lot of Bible stories. I adored going to church, Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School. With all my heart I wished that Sunday School was five days a week and actual school was one day a week. Things made more sense to me at church and I fit in much better.  I counted down the years until I would be able to join the Youth Group. My favorite television shows included The Donut Man, Veggie Tales, Mrs. Charities  Dinner, and other shows on the Christian station. Outside of the American Girl Doll books every book I read had a Christian aspect to it. Despite the fact I was a shy girl, I was bold and confident in my faith growing up. I wasn’t afraid to speak up about it, even if that meant I did not have many friends and that kids would tease me. It was me and Jesus and that is all that mattered to me.

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Once my middle school years rolled around I overflowed with excitement because I was finally old enough to join the Youth Group. I was extremely involved in my church during my middle school and high school years. Anything and everything I could do, I did. I spent as much time as possible at church. During my middle school years in addition to Youth Group I volunteered at every function the church had, was in the bell choir, puppets, and attended every youth group meeting. I enthusiastically participated in 24 Hour Famine. Just before we broke our fast I grabbed my friend informing her I couldn’t see, then passed out. Once I woke up I wanted to know when the next famine was. Despite passing out I had a lot of fun.  I did not have many friends at school so I would bring my awesome looking Revolve Bible to lunch to read. (If you are a teen girl check out the Revolve Bibles! They look like magazines, are super cool, and have lots of epic things in addition to being a Bible.)

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Even though I struggled with my faith a bit in high school, it was still vital to me and I was just as involved in my church. I went on missions trips with the Youth Group and feel in love with mission work. I went on several retreats as well. I still adored reading. The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn impacted and changed my life. During my teenage years I battled some depression. It was difficult but in the end I became closer to God. I learned many valuable lessons through that chapter. Things changed in my home church, some ministries crumbled. I was on a committee and still volunteered frequently. I also helped run a retreat for five years. When I was sixteen years old I went to Taize France with the conference through my church. It was a pilgrimage and an indescribable experience.

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My dream had always been to go to a Christian college, which is what I did once I graduated high school. However that was not God’s plan for me. (Of course I was less then happy about it). The school I choose was three hours from home. I had high hopes for my health. I thought the doctors there would be the best and would help me feel better. But that was not the case. None of them wanted to help me and my health quickly declined. After finding blood in my urine over Thanksgiving break I had to stay home indefinite.  Having to come home was bitter sweet. I knew I had to do it yet I wanted to prove that I could be on my own. A lot had changed in my home church, as I mentioned before. As much as I loved everyone, I wanted a fresh start. Something different. But that’s not what God had in store for me.

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I have been back home for a little over a year now. Things have gotten better at my home church. The spiritual growing pains have eased and I am able to see how blessed I am to have my church family. My walk with God isn’t where I want it to be. There is always room to grow. I have learned to trust him in new ways. I know that He will guide me and provide for me everything I need. Though I don’t know what the future holds, God does. I am content where I am right now, waiting for His direction and learning.

God Bless. Sending lots of Spoons, prayers, and hugs ❤