Calming the Storms Within

Calming the Storms Within

“So, they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.

The storm sank to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were stilled.

They were glad then that all was calm, as He guided them to the harbor they desired.

Let them thank the Lord for His enduring love.” (Psalm 107:28-31)

Biblical Note: This passage describes the power of God even as passages in the New Testament refer to Jesus’ ability to deliver people out of storms, literal and figurative (see Matthew 8:23-17, Mark 4:36-41, John 6:16-21). Since the Hebrews were people of the land, this nautical theme of this Psalm is a novelty.

For your Meditation: This meditation may be especially valuable in a period of stormy times. Harbor can represent a “safe place” to which you can return.

Meditation:  (To be read very slowly with eyes closed.) Take several, slow deep breaths and get in touch with the depths within…Now visualize yourself in a boat…Notice the size and type of boat…Discover who is with you…Become aware how you feel being there…Now you notice the water is very troubled, a storm is surrounding you…Stay in touch with your feelings in this storm…When you are ready, become aware of the calming presence in your midst…You might call out to that presence to calm the storm, or you may simply become aware that the presence is calming the storm…Let yourself experience that movement from storm to calm and reflect on how you feel and what is occurring…Now move into the harbor and stay alert to your feelings and thoughts as your boat nudges into its harbor…Before you disembark, look around on the boat for a symbol or image which represents this deep calm for you, and take that symbol with you as you get off the boat…Become aware of your thankfulness for the loving presence enabling the calm…When you feel ready, open your eyes.

Debriefing:  Write or draw whatever image emerged that might represent calm for you. And about how the storm in your life is affected by this deep sense of calm. Notice any changes in attitude toward the storm in your life. If you were unable to allow the calmness to occur for you, simply acknowledge that this is where you are right now. Feel free to do this meditation again and again. And feel free to write out the stormy feelings too.

 

(Source: Opening to God: Guided Imagery Meditation on Scripture. By Carolyn Stahl.)

 

 

 

A Holy Journey with Pain

A Holy Journey with Pain

“Somewhere along my journey, I became aware that angels of God were accompanying me. I saw the angels and knew that I belonged to God.

Well into my travels, messengers came to tell me, ‘Pain is coming to meet you and he brings death to some, great pain and suffering to you, your family and friends.’

At first, I felt as if God was telling me, ‘Do not be afraid, this will be a holy experience for you, and a gift and a blessing to many others.’ Almost immediately, that began to happen. As I was invited to tell my story, and it proved to be a source of hope for me, and inspiration and hope for others.

But then my health began to deteriorate, and I became afraid and distressed. And I prayed, ‘O God of my ancestors, I want to remind you that you said this would be a holy experience and a gift and a blessing. It no longer feels that way. Deliver me please from the hand of Pain, for I am afraid of what he will do to us.’

And as I continued on the journey, I found myself unwittingly out ahead of my family and friends—leading and loving them. I bowed in front of all kinds of Pain challenges and honored them. Pain in turn honored me, weeping for me because of the pain he was subjecting me to.

I said to Pain, ‘You may well take all that I have—everything that I own. But, God has given me everything I need, and you cannot take that: community, family, friends, intimacy with God and friends, vulnerability, authenticity, powerlessness, brokenness, knowing I am God’s beloved in whom He is well-pleased, finding my own voice, finding my own identity, interior freedom, meaning and purpose, and a rich interior and spiritual life.’

Then Pain said. ‘Let us journey on our way together.’ And I replied, ‘My family, friends and I are weary from our struggles with you. You go on ahead and we will travel at the pace at which we are capable.’

Further along the journey, I encountered the Dark Night, and I found myself all alone. And Pain came and wrestled with me until someone died. And there was great wailing, moaning, and grieving, followed by a great silence…

And still I continued to wrestle with Pain. When Pain saw that he could not prevail against me, he struck me on the hip socket and my hip was put out of joint.

Then Pain said to me, ‘Let me go, for I have taken your beloved and it is time for me to move on.’ But I said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ Pain replied ‘You shall no longer be called by your name, but rather be called ‘wounded healer.’ The wound you have endured at my hand has made you whole.’ And then Pain blessed me.

So, I called this encounter ‘holy,’ as I said, ‘For I have seen God face-to-face in this disease and yet my life has been preserved.’

A new day came after the death of my beloved and the sun rose on me as I moved forward with my life—now limping because of my hip—moving forward as a wounded healer, bringing a message to a world in need of all that I had learned.”

Sources:

Jacob Wrestles with God. Genesis 32:22-32

Who are you God?: Suffering and Intimacy with God, by Janet O. Hagberg. Adapted from Tom’s story pages 185-186.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing Hospitality

Practicing Hospitality

Questions for Reflection:

  • What or who do I think of when I hear the word “hospitality?”
  • What Bible stories come to mind when I hear the word “hospitality?”
  • How does Jesus exhibit hospitality?
  • In what ways has God provided hospitality to me?
  • How am I extending hospitality to God, myself and others?

Download the complete reflection below.

At the End of the Day: A Mirror of Questions

At the End of the Day: A Mirror of Questions

Using John O’Donohue’s version of The Daily Examen, At the End of the Day: A Mirror of Questions, is a helpful framework for discerning what life-creating forces remain in our lives and which may need to be released.

Where did my eyes linger today?

Where was I blind?

Where was I hurt without anyone noticing?

What did I learn today?

What did I read?

What new thoughts visited me?

What differences did I notice in those closest to me? Whom did I neglect?

Where did I neglect myself?

What did I begin today that might endure?

How were my conversations?

What did I do today for the poor and the excluded?

Did I remember the dead today?

Where could I have exposed myself to the risk of something different?

Where did I allow myself to receive love?

With whom today did I feel the most myself?

What reached me today?  How deep did it imprint?

Who saw me today?

What visitations had I from the past and from the future?

What did I avoid today?

From the evidence, why was I given this day?

(Source: Rewilding Wheel Workbook by Mary A. DeJong, M.A.)

 

The Gift: A Guided Visualization of Epiphany for a New Year

The Gift: A Guided Visualization of Epiphany for a New Year

Ask the Spirit of the Beloved to open your being, to quiet you…

Picture the scene of Three Wise Ones coming to offer homage and gifts to the Christ, the One sent by the Beloved…

See yourself as one of the Wise Ones…

You come to offer a gift…

There is a wonderfully wrapped gift in your hands…

Inside the gift are aspects and qualities of your life that you most enjoy and appreciate. Reflect upon these aspects and qualities…

Which are especially meaningful to you?

Which have been most apparent in the past year?

Which have seemed hidden or absent in the past year?

Gather these qualities into your gift…

Visualize yourself coming and presenting your gift-wrapped package…

As you offer this gift of yourself, see the love, joy, delight with which your gift is received…

Now, visualize a gift being offered to you. It too is beautifully wrapped…

There is a note card on it with a special message from the Beloved to you…

Imagine what is written on the note card…

Receive the gift, open it, and ponder its meaning for your life…

Offer thanks to the Beloved for this gift of the new year…

(Source: Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems and Reflections for Every Season by Joyce Rupp.)

Please email me at laura.lies@streamsgrace.com to discuss the possibility of working together in Spiritual Direction.

 

 

 

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