Saturday, April 21, 2007

Psalm II

This morning I was sitting in the lovely sun room of my in-laws. As I read some words of Douglas van Steere on worship and adoration, I went to see if I could write words of adoration myself. When I write in my journal, I try to just let my hand move as thoughts enter my head. A "psalm" came out this morning and I am entering it here.

How kind You have been to me,
How gentle to my soul.
My life overflows with goodness,
You have surrounded me in peace.
Blessings embrace me every day:
The beauty of nature around me;
the birds chirping sweetly in song;
The stillness I now feel within;
Family surrounding me in support,
Their love wrapping me in security;
The sun lights the background
As I sit amidst this beauty.
What words can be found
To give adequate thanks?
What gifts do I have to offer?
I feel so small in the
Magnitude of my blessings.
I offer my life to You,
My God, my wondrous Benefactor.
Because this life came from You,
The value must be great indeed.
Here is my life, Lord.
May it praise You through each day.

Friday, March 23, 2007

My Psalm

The fifth day of our first retreat for School of the Spirit (SOS) had finally arrived. We were going home that afternoon. I felt full spiritually and a bit weary and more than ready for my home.

The teacher that morning spoke about the psalms. Ah, a nice lesson for our last day when our minds were tired and our souls ached for home! Then she gave us an assignment - read a psalm then write our impressions or make up a psalm. I wanted to shout, “Write a psalm? Just let us sit quietly and listen. My mind has become mush!”

But I dutifully picked up my journal and headed to a comfy chair. I read a couple of psalms and just began to write. There was no plan to this, I just let whatever came to mind flow out through my pen. My husband (whose opinion is prejudiced) said it was really good and that I should put it in a blog. So negative comments should go to “Ear of the Soul.” :)

Ceal’s Psalm One
As a child I trusted you, God.
You were my comfort and joy.
You kept away my fears of life and death,
You were there when others failed to comfort me,
You were there in my joy.
Oh, why did You abandon me
during my darkest hours?
Where did You hide when my
soul sank to dark depths?
When I went far away from You
I could not feel your knocking at my door.
For years I yearned to again feel Your touch.
But you did not exist in the
emptiness of my soul.
But your grace found a way to enter
though the chinks of my armor.
Thanks to God for sending one who did
help to open a window into my soul,
For I did finally feel you knocking
but had lost the key to the door of my heart.
Praise to You, God,
for your persistence and love,
Praise for accepting me as I am
and waiting for me with open arms.
I run into those arms
and feel great joy.

Stillness and Results

At my first School of the Spirit (SOS) retreat last week, someone said they were all about results. I saw myself in that statement. I like to see results. On my list of readings for SOS, it makes me feel good every time I can check one off as read. I admit I first read a few shorter pieces just so there is not a whole unread list facing me and causing anxiety.

But stillness doesn’t produce immediate results. So I tend to put off the times of quiet retreat in my day in favor of the readings or journaling that let me see the fruits of my labor. These stretch me spiritually and teach me, but I think they are not enough alone.

For the capacity to receive God’s love to grow, stillness and listening are important. Patience with myself to sit in the stillness is the harder thing to do. Patience has never been one of my strong points. I have to remind myself to be kind to myself and have some quiet in each of my days. This may require mentally tying myself down on some days! My longing for that peace and stillness is a grace from God that will help me.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fear can block the Still small voice

As I wrote in my journal this morning, recounting events of the past day, I realized something new about myself.

I am very absent-minded, and over the years I have developed coping skills that have not been consciously created or thought out well. I realized that one of these is that when faced with something to organize in my life, such as the paperwork I need to complete for my entrance into the School of the Spirit this Spring, I tend to want it all done and sent off immediately. I think this is so I don't forget to do a part or wait until the last minute. This may sound admirable on the surface, but such haste doesn't leave room for that still small voice to guide me. Instead I am left with feeling overwhelmed and burdened.

One piece of paperwork I have to submit is the list of people on my Care Committee. I do have three people, including my husband Mark, but have felt there should be one or two more. I have not been able to name these last two people. I have had a vague sense that something would happen or someone would just ask. Faced with a deadline to submit the names, I felt a little panic. Panic is not good for that small still voice!

The Spirit came to my rescue yesterday, however, in a phone call from a Friend who expressed concerns over the selection of the Care Committee. How could she have known since I didn't communicate my concern to her? She must have listened to her small voice. She advised me to contact the Ministry and Worship committee of my monthly meeting for suggestions. I emailed the clerk of M & W and felt so light and free. I know I can trust in the Spirit to guide this choice.

So I struggle to take things one step at a time - without fear - and try to search for the stillness.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Reaching for stillness

Stillness is ...

not something I do well. What does it mean to be still? To me it means stopping all activity except listening -- listening to what the Spirit would have me do. My mind constantly keeps jumping to things of the world that need to be done - or rather - I think need to be done.

I use the word "still" to help me center and focus on God. If I cannot learn to be still, how can I listen to God and truly accept him as Master?

So daily right now I reach out to Stillness, knowing that it will come.

This is my first attempt at blogging. Don't expect too many posts to appear here soon!