The weekend of October 16-18, 2016, was a Heaven-come-to-earth occasion at ‘Dwell’, an intimate (5 of us) Writer’s Retreat co-led with my friend Kimberlee Ireton. We ‘Glory Writers’ ** camped in Psalm 37 for the weekend, particularly verses 3-7, and meditated on all those verbs–‘Trust’ ‘Delight’ ‘Commit’ ‘Rest’ and the tough-to-do ‘Fret not.’ “Dwell” means to stay where you are so you can hear what you need. Here’s what I heard when I returned home.
**see the Glory Writers tab at the top of the page
Pushing the patio chair into place undercover, I scan the deck for my little table. I want to sit a while and take advantage of the peace and quiet to listen. Not read my Bible, read a book, look at my phone, just sit with my journal and pay attention to what I hear, what I see, what my heart wants to tell me.
But I need my footstool first. My legs are too short to touch the decking and I can’t relax ‘til my feet are in place. Ah, there it is hidden under the plastic tablecloth out of the rain.
Now I’m settled. My eyes train on the birds at our feeders. I grin at their acrobatic antics, bouncing marionette-like from feeder to tree, swooping like jets coming in for a landing. I’m quite certain the only reason God created birds was to delight us and him.
Instead of writing anything, I begin to read the lines I penned over the past year; little conversations with Jesus and I show up on the page. ‘Aha’s’ are circled or highlighted, questions I pondered and the answer that came after it are underlined. There are pencil scratchings in the margin, messages from the Spirit of God right to my soul.
Someone asked the question recently, “What is saving your life right now?”
And here’s what I have to say–the spiritual practice of listening, stopping to hear God’s voice to me, and hear my own voice. This is what I know:
Part of my conversations with Jesus lately have been about story—mine, in particular. My random thoughts run all over and it’s hard to rein them in. Continue reading “How to Hear God’s Voice (& maybe your own)”
Sometimes a big idea starts as a small nudge, a whisper you might ignore for the wildness of it all. You carry the dream of an idea around and wonder if someone else is hearing it, too. Then one day you jump in and ask, “Do you have a moment or two to talk about well, Something?”
And you make a date at the park, the one where the air show is practicing (’cause you forget when you pick the location the Blue Angels are in town) and you picnic anyway.
And over tuna and chips you blurt out your “what would you think about????” to your bosom friend and she practically shouts (because of all that noise–remember the jets?), “Yes. I’ve been thinking that, too.!!”
And you spill out your thoughts, scribbling fast on paper (because she has four children to manage–all you had to remember was your lunch and your journal) and the dream starts to take shape.What if we did something different? Not to go against the stream, but create our own current?
What if we found a quiet place for writing and retreating and relationships where women of faith could be encouraged to live into their gifts as Jesus grows in them?
What if, instead of all the ‘how-to’s we gave away what we know–and Who we know–and wove that into 3 days of writing and listening and practice–and REST?
What would that look like? What would we call it? You dub it ‘Abide’ and now that it’s named, it’s really happening….and oh….Jesus, we expect you to show up, big time.
You find the Holy Spirit had been speaking to you both—for many, many months–about the same word–Abide. Through the same Scripture passages–John 15. And you talk about what that might look like–a session on Lectio Divina (a phrase you’ve never heard but want to know more about) and maybe practicing poetry–even pantoums.
And you share your passion about Writing as a Spiritual Practice–just listening to Jesus in the woods with your journal and pen and some questions.
Then you plan and you pay and pray and you meet and over many more lunches (noisy ones, there’s all these kids…) and you cry for the connection and the peace that God is bringing with the little band of 12 women God has put together.
Then you ask for someone to help you lead the worship and one of the attendees is a stellar guitar player and you practice (more than once) and the glory comes down like a kiss from Heaven that says, “Yes!” again.
And you know Jesus is up to something.
Something big. As big as the sky with the angels above the trees in the blue you can’t see the end of.
And you thank God for your friend Kimberlee.
And you tremble in your boots at the big God that whispered the nudge
in all it’s wild goodness.
And you fly.
After eighteen months of prayer and planning,
my friend Kimberlee Conway Ireton and I are heading over to the
Cascade Mountains in Washington this weekend for ABIDE.
This is our first writer’s retreat for women of faith,
a place of rest and relationship,
borne of a little dream from our big God.
You’ll come? Maybe next year?