Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Lenten Quieting







Does your heart long for blue skies
and
simplicity?

Is there a clutter
weighing
on
your mind?





It seems that everywhere I turn lately, people are lamenting over the stress and disruption ruling our days. If we aren't busy at work, then we are busy at leisure. If we aren't overwhelmed with finances, then we are overwhelmed with business choices. We have become a people named by Hurry and labeled by Over-Full.


Is this state of mind
a place where we are meant to dwell?


When the pace of my life came to a sudden, grinding halt a few years ago, because of my chronic illness diagnosis, I found myself grieving the busy way of life I was accustomed to living. I felt like the rest of the world was passing me by. But as I gradually came to an acceptance of the SLOW that would mark my days, and the PACE that I needed to maintain in order to have even a small amount of energy, I found that I didn't miss all of the busyness quite as much as I thought I would.


But, like an underlying current, I didn't see
the busyness still clinging to me.
My mind had never slowed
and my thoughts still flowed,
Ever rushing onward
Ever flooding full.



As this year began, and I searched my heart for a word, a direction given from the Lord, He spoke a word that I thought I had already mastered.

"Stillness" 
He said,
"Learn what it means to 
be still with Me."



Apparently, I had not mastered the art of stillness. For even though my body had slowed, my mind had not. It was never more clear to me how far I had to go, than when I first sat down to practice the Spiritual Discipline of Centering/Silent Prayer. One of my dear blogging friends, Joy Lenton, who blogs at: Words of Joy, spoke about an app for your phone that could help you begin the process of learning to sit in God's Presence for Silent/Centering Prayer. The app is offered through the resources at Contemplative Outreach. (You can check out their website for a wealth of information.) So, I excitedly downloaded the app, and read through some of their information.  


Yes! Of course I want more communion with God! Isn't this where I spend most of my prayer time anyway?
I know how to listen to God, so I will love to practice
being silent in His Presence.



What I discovered was that I loved to hear myself talk. 
I loved to ask God questions. I loved to look into His Word and listen to what He might say there. I loved to pray for my friends. I loved to pursue thought processes with the Lord as my guide.


But just to sit with Him in silence?


The minutes ticked by in agony that first day. This was most definitely something that did not come easily for me.  But as the days passed, and I learned to give myself grace for my errant thoughts, continuously pulling them back to the name of Jesus, I began to notice the Presence of Jesus there with me in a way I had not known before.  Quiet, hovering, and all-consuming, this was the God who would not be hurried, and would not be directed by my own terms or worries. 


Here was a LOVE
where peace began.
Here was a CALM
 where storms were stilled.


And I felt a nudging to walk with Jesus through these days in a new stillness, to learn more from HIS heart about peace.


Shortly after I began this process, a poetic stirring began in me that you may have been reading these past few weeks.  As my heart has hungered for words that would still my racing thoughts, poetry has met a deep longing planted years ago in my soul.   Looking through old recipes that had belonged to my Mother, I came across a spiral-bound notebook that flooded my mind with memories. I was suddenly a child again, watching my Mother cut poems out of magazines and newsletters, and pasting them into her journal.  But it was this page that stopped me in my tracks that day:

     

  






















Whether the doodles
were made by my
childish hand,
or the hands of another,
the message was clear:
this longing for
STILLNESS
runs deep in my veins. 
   


Do you have a longing for the busy
to be stilled?
Is your mind tired of the
constant clutter?


Join me this month here,
on Thursdays, 
as we step closer to Easter,
and 
face the call towards Lent,
where we will seek to lay down our clutter
and take up His Communion.



Will you join me
as I turn towards Him
and learn more
of the call
to be still with Him?

 

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
 'In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength'"
  Isaiah 30:15 NIV






If you are looking for a great Devotional during these days leading up to Easter, my blogging friend, Susan Shipe, who writes at: Hope, Heart, Home, has written a beautiful 40 day walk through this season. Find it at Amazon, here.

40 Days of Lent



  
I am linking this week with:
Debbie Kitterman #TuneInThursday 








18 comments:

  1. Hi Bettie! I'm your neighbor at #TuneInThursday this week. Your words hit home to me, because I know I need to spend more time being still in the presence of God. I keep thinking I'm going to get back to longer times of Bible reading and prayer, and then let other things creep in. My word for the year is "wait" and I know God wants me to rest and wait as I pray and be still. I have a hard time just being still and not letting my thoughts continue to swirl and take over. I know God will help me establish this discipline, and I know it will still my heart and bring peace. Thank you so much for your words today. Blessings to you, my dear poet/sister/friend. :) xoxo

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    1. Dear Gayl,
      Oh I know what you mean abou those "thoughts that continue to swirl and take over." It is such a discipline to sit with Jesus there, and wait for Him. But what a sweetness He brings to us when we do! I am so thankful for the gift of poetry that you inspired me to continue with. It has such a healing way of speaking peace over my heart. I am glad that the Lord is leading us to follow His path of stillness. Blessings and hugs to you also my dear poet/sister/friend! :-) xoxo

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  2. That poem was beautiful! I have Psalm 46:10 in stencil over my desk.

    I never thought about that, but it truly is a discipline to be still before the Lord, a discipline that needs to be cultivated. Sounds like an interesting app to do just that.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Hi Karen,
      Yes, isn't that an incredible poem speaking such truth about Psalm 46:10? I wish I knew the year that my Mom found it. But I'm just thankful that God directed it to me at just the right time. His disciplines are intertwined with His Grace when we allow Him to lead us! --Blessings to you!

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  3. Finding that poem is rather surreal! Thanks for the little advertisement at the bottom. :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Susan, it definitely was God's timing to come across that poem when I did! And I'm glad to share about your book, it has certainly blessed me this month! --Blessings to you!

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  4. My life, too, is very slow compared to many. But like you, I find my thoughts can still get very busy. Especially with the lies Satan loves to hammer me with. The verse - "Be still, and know that I am God" has often quieted my heart. I love the poem you found. What a treasure! I have not been able to find it on the Internet. Do you mind if I share this photo of it with my sister? Oh, and the doodles are priceless. :) Thank you, Bettie! Love and hugs to you!

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    Replies
    1. Dear Trudy,
      Yes, please feel free to share the picture of the poem. I tried so hard to look it up also, trying to find the date my Mom had found it. I'm just glad that God brought it all together at just the right time when I needed to see it! His Words to us are such treasures, aren't they? I'm thankful we can pray for each other as we both walk through these slower places. Have a Blessed weekend my friend! Love and Hugs to you too!

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  5. Bettie, your poetic words here are ones I have a deep soul recognition of:

    "But, like an underlying current, I didn't see
    the busyness still clinging to me.
    My mind had never slowed
    and my thoughts still flowed,
    Ever rushing onward
    Ever flooding full."

    Achieving physical stillness is far easier than stilling our thoughts, isn't it? They tend to race around like a demented hamster on an ever turning wheel, never quite knowing how to slow or still.
    I love where your experiences of slowing and stilling inwardly are taking you. It's something I need constant reminders to do, whether from reading your beautiful words or using a helpful app! In the stillness we hear our own thoughts churning but the more we practise it, the better we get at slowly beginning to filter out the noise and focus most on Christ's presence within. I'm always inspired by the words you share, sweet friend! Blessings, love and hugs. xo

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    1. Dear Joy,
      Oh I know you understand so well the rushing of chaotic thoughts in the middle of slow physical days! And I know you also understand the heavy toll that extra activity takes on our minds as well. I am so thankful that we can pray for each other, to allow the Lord to still our "churning thoughts." His presence within truly is our highest Grace. And, I am so blessed that you would find a measure of inspiration here, my friend! You are such a blessing to me. Love and Hugs to you too! xoxo

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  6. I love this so much --for so many reasons! This statement stood out to me: "If we aren't busy at work, then we are busy at leisure." Isn't that the sad truth! Also - my OneWord is Dwell and I am wired Slow and Sabbath Rest is my jam and the practice of spending 5minutes each morning in silence changed my life a few years ago (and also --not coincidentally --rebirthed a love of reading and writing poetry, too!) See? So much Kindredness here!

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    1. Dear Karrilee,
      Wow, and I loved your recent post about friends, and the word "kindred hearts" blessed me so much there--of course I'm an "Anne" fan as well :-) Your word "Dwell" rings in my heart, as well as your love of poetry coming from your time of silence also! Isn't God amazing! His connections and ways of confirming His Word in us are so beautiful. Blessings to you, Dear Kindred!

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  7. Oh, dear friend! This is my favorite post I have ever read here...and they have ALL been precious and good! This just calls to me...your words, they are so edifying and calming to my anxious spirit. Oh, how God uses you because of your suffering! I hate to think of you going through such pain and hurt, but I want you to know that out of your trials flows the sweetest fruit and spiritual good for all of us who come here. I am so blessed that God allowed our blogging paths to cross. I want to read this again and again and let it sink deep into my soul. Thank you, and God bless you always!

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    1. Dear Cheryl, Thank you for such sweet and kind words! And I can see how the Lord would be speaking these similar thoughts to you as He has asked you to simplify your lifestyle! It is hard when He takes us to places that are not of our choosing, isn't it? But He has such good in mind for us, gifts from His Spirit that we would not find in any other place. I am so thankful that He doesn't ask us to walk alone there, but with HIM as He gives us that "spiritual good and sweetest fruit" that you spoke of. You are a blessing to me also, dear sister! Love and Hugs to you!

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  8. Bettie - I left a comment before so if this is a repeat, feel free to delete it and post the other one.. LOL I am having technical challenges tonight.

    I love this post for so many reason, and I completely understand your feelings on the concept of stillness. I have had the Lord speak "Be still and know I am God." Many times, I argue each time and tell him that I know He is God, and I am trying to be still. Why is being still so hard? And being still in our minds and not just our bodies. I also love how you found the notebook in your moms recipes that touched on the same topic. God sure what trying to get your attention on the subject wasn't He? Thank you so much for linking up with #TUneInThursday this week, I am honored to have you share there and I look forward to what you will share in the weeks ahead.

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    1. Dear Debbie, No worries, there was only one comment! And I was having technical issues here last night too! :-) Oh, I am thankful that you understand the difficulty that it is to be still in mind and body both. What a gentle Lord we have though, who continues to speak and call us, and work to get our attention! Thank you so much for opening up your #TuneInThursday for all of us. I am honored to join in with you there. Your words are always a blessing to me!

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  9. Replies
    1. Greetings and God Bless you too, Brother! Thank you for visiting here!

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