Spiritual Roots

held photo-1I recently spent time reflecting on this painting by Melanie Weidner. I was continually drawn to the roots of the tree, seeing the steadiness and sureness of them in contrast to the blowing storm above. I thought about newly planted trees being anchored by ropes, an outward system to keep the tree from toppling over until it’s own growth and root system can take hold.

In faith journeys, or our life journeys, there are people who do the same for us, all the while contributing to the roots of our spiritual formation. I began thinking of the many people that contributed and are contributing to my ever-growing root system. The people who loved me when it was most difficult to love me, those who gave me encouragement, allowed me to question and doubt and wander. There are those who were unkind and hurtful, where I was challenged to look deeply at what it means to love my enemies and that all people are children of the same Creator. Times when being in community can be difficult and blessed at the same time no doubt broadened and gave depth in my Spirit. The spiritual disciplines that have become a part of my life, people I encountered for a passing moment, yet had a lasting impact, those who I have laughed with, cried with, prayed with, and played with all are part of the root system that nourishes the tree called “my life.”

This root system is grounded in God who holds, sustains, and gives new life again and again and again.

How does this painting speak to you?

Picture by Melanie Weidner.  www.ListenForJoy.com

Week Six: Praying with Mandalas


lentMandala translated means “circle.” It represents wholeness and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself — a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.  The mandala is primarily used as a form of meditation and prayer to gain knowledge from within.



Week Three: Lectio Divino


lentLectio Divina, Sacred Reading, invites us to  read scripture in a slow and reflective manner.  As the passage is read, listen for a word or phrase that captures your attention.  You may read through the passage again, listening deeply.  What does that word or phrase evoke within you?  Ponder and ruminate on those words.  Respond within to those thoughts and stirrings.  Finally, what might be the invitation God is offering you?


Week One: Personalizing the Psalms


Personalizing a Psalm can feel strange at first.  I felt a bit inadequate when thinking of placing my own words into scripture. Wasn’t the Psalm fine as it was?  But as I started personalizing the Psalm, the benefit became apparent. Reflected in the words was my immediate yearning, hurt, or joy.  The prayer changed as my days changed!  I also became aware of how the word I used to describe God reflected my relationship with God, my need of God, on that day, at that time.

Choose Forgiveness

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. –Gandhi

The mind-body-spirit connection has been known for a long time. Negative thinking can zap us of Depositphotos_24974699_m-2015motivation and energy while a positive outlook does just the opposite. Holding a grudge is negative thinking and therefore has serious implications for our mind, body and our spirit.

Information from the Mayo Clinic indicates that the process of forgiving affects our physical and mental health profoundly. It can result in lower levels of stress, blood pressure, anger, and depression and can improve immune function and cardiovascular health. Spiritually, forgiveness opens us to relate more fully to others and to allow God to act more fully through us.

Forgiveness is an oft-discussed topic and has powerful positive effects on us but what, exactly, is it? Derived from the Old English word forgiefan, “to forgive” means to renounce anger and punishment against someone. It means to change your thinking and let go of your desire for revenge and anger. It does not (necessarily) mean reconciliation, forgetting, condoning, or excusing what happened.

It is our choice to make. Definitely not an easy one, but well worth the effort. The mental, physical, and spiritual benefits are powerful inspiration, but perhaps the most compelling reason is that each of us is forgiven by God and are called upon to pay it forward. Certainly, this is time in which we need more forgiveness.


The Glory of God

The glory of God is being fully alive…

                  fully alive    

This is a slightly altered quote from St Irenaeus in 185 A.D.

There’s such richness and depth if we sit and ponder this idea… much more than could ever be covered in this simple blog post.  But I’d like to share a few beginning thoughts and invite you into your own reflection on what is the glory of God and how are you fully alive?

I think of the GLORY of GOD as being the LIGHT of GOD.  How does God shine brightly through humanity?  The incarnation or indwelling of the Holy Spirit within each person is such a beautiful concept.   In the Christian Bible we read Jesus saying, “You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

For me this is an acknowledgment that the light of God is burning brightly within me and I must look at ways that I am indeed hiding it under a bushel.   When I discover the places and ways of my life that are hindering God’s love from shining through, I am invited to surrender into the transformative process where God helps remove those bushel baskets and my light shines a little brighter.  Eventually the light/glory of God will be a beacon and then I will feel fully alive.

But it works the other way too.  Rather than focusing on the blocked places, if I pay attention to the times and places in my life when I feel “alive” – those places of energy, love and connectedness to all that is beyond myself – if I pay attention and then put myself in those places of life, I am slowly transformed and my fullness of life again allows God’s light/glory to shine forth.

One small example is noticing that I feel more fully alive when tending to my physical self-care.  Three areas that I currently monitor are exercise, diet, and sleep.  When I take the time to check in and am mindful of my physical self, I make wise choices. The result is an increase of energy, clarity of thought, and purity of spirit.  In other words, I feel more alive!  This “aliveness” in turn lifts my spirit and I am more loving, compassionate, and open to others and the world around me.  I am allowing God’s Glory to shine through!  Imagine, practicing self-care isn’t selfish at all.  It’s one way of glorifying God.

To encourage me, I put my name in Irenaeus’ quote, “The glory of God is BECKY fully alive!”

Try it for yourself, “The glory of God is ______ fully alive!”

Now that’s something worth celebrating!