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Posts Tagged ‘pray’

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Garden Labyrinth at West Shore Evangelical Free Church

Up until a year ago I had never heard of a ‘labyrinth’. During a session with my Spiritual Director, she mentioned that walking a labyrinth might be helpful to me. We drove to on that was nearby and it was beautiful– surrounded by trees, gardens and next to a pond with a fountain. I had no idea the impact that little ‘walk’ would have on me.

From the minute I took my first step across the entrance I began to forget about things outside of the labyrinth. One of the first things I saw was a rock with the word “Breathe” on it and I realized that I was tense and had been holding my breath. I consciously relaxed my body and slowly let my breath out. That simple act of letting go of my breath somehow opened up my heart.  I know it may sound a bit crazy, but as I walked the grassy path it felt like I truly was somehow entering into the presence of God. I’m not exactly sure why, but the simple act of walking that labyrinth started a process that has enabled me to be more open and receptive to spiritual things.

One thing I’ve done to continue that process is to be part of building a garden labyrinth at my church. (see pictures) It was a lot of work, but it felt ‘right’ to be doing it. It has been done partly as a memorial to those who are no longer with us and is a place where people can go and remember their loved ones and seek to find comfort and healing.

I often go to the labyrinth just as the sun is setting—in the cool of the evening. I walk up to the entrance, remove my shoes and begin to walk the grassy path to the center. Sometimes I have music and other times I simply listen to the night sounds. There is a tree and a little bench in the center and I usually find myself kneeling and allowing my soul to open up. As I pour out my heart to God a peace slowly begins to fill me. After a while I stand up and begin the walk back out. I can’t explain it, but I almost always feel comforted and a bit stronger to face the next day.

 

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Bench at center of Labyrinth for sitting or kneeling

 

Walking a labyrinth may not have this effect on everyone, but I am thankful that I have discovered one way that I can draw closer to God. I would encourage you to find whatever works for you. If you’d like to explore this further, Gary Thomas wrote a book called “Sacred Pathways” that talks about the different ‘paths’ to God that might be the way to help our souls open up to spiritual things. There is an entire spiritual world out there and we just have to find ways to become aware of it. For me, the labyrinth is one way I can do this.

 

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Me at entrance of Labyrinth (barefoot and ready to walk)

(for those of you who know me, I did make some jewelry with labyrinth charms

so that my jewelry can ‘feel’ right while I walk the labyrinth. )

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View of Labyrinth from gardens on hill

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Sitting area at entrance of Labyrinth–can be used to prepare to walk or to wait for someone who is walking.

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As I enter this season of Lent, I go in to it with a different perspective than at any other time in my life — much more aware of my need for God.  In years past I made half-hearted attempts at giving something up for Lent, but I never truly opened my soul for God to fill the empty place.  It is my hope that this year will be different.

I’ve been on a journey for the last several years and have had my soul opened up in ways I didn’t know were possible.  There have been times of extreme joy as well as overwhelming sorrow.  I’ve felt intense love, but also deep loneliness.  I’ve found areas of strength inside of myself, but have also discovered places of weakness that have literally brought me to my knees. I wish I could say that I listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit during this time, but I often chose to shut my ears to those quiet whispers.

With the greater awareness of my need, it is my desire to do all that I am able over the next 40 days in order to begin to hear AND listen to those whispers.  The Bible says that God works through our weaknesses. Being more aware of my weak areas,  I hope and pray that is true and that God can use those things that have been made so evident to me.  

The symbol of the butterfly is very special to me.  As I listen to the song “His Hands” by JJ Heller, I truly feel like a fragile butterfly and long to feel the peace of knowing that I’m being held gently in the hands of the one who created the universe.  It is my prayer that as you listen to the words of this song, that you too will feel a sense of being gently held by our Heavenly Mother during this Lenten season.

 Click HERE to listen to “His Hands”

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I enjoy listening to music as I design and create my jewelry.  This past week I’ve been working on Catholic Rosaries and Anglican Prayer Beads.  These designs are different than the rest of my pieces due to the fact that they are not an adornment, but something that has a very deep and spiritual purpose—aiding people in their prayers.  I consider it an honor to be able to make something that may help a person spend time in prayer and I try to have a certain mindset as I make them.  Music can help keep my focus on the spiritual side of things as I go through the process of designing and then creating each piece.

Several songs touched me in a special way as I listened to songs that were focused on God and prayer.  The first was Your Hands by JJ Heller.  I liked the fact that it reminds me that some prayers go unanswered, but even then I am still in God’s hands.   This is a hard concept to understand and totally accept, but I continue to pray for the faith to believe those words.

Another song that hit me was Need You Now by Plumb.  Often we don’t find ourselves on our knees in prayer unless we are in some state of need and this song puts those thoughts and feelings to music.  As with the other song, this one also refers to unanswered prayer.  I can’t even begin to understand or explain why God chooses to answer some prayers and not others, but I just try to do what the one line in this song, “I’m trying to hear that still, small voice.”  Songs like this help to remind me of this.

I, personally use the Anglican Prayer Beads to aid me in my prayers, and even sometimes sleep with them.  When I awake in the middle of the night they remind me to pray instead of worrying or allowing my thoughts to get carried away.

It is my hope that anyone who winds up with prayer beads that I make will find them a very helpful tool in their prayer life.  A lot of work goes in to each set and I enjoy making them in a different way than the rest of my collection.

Here are a few of the prayer beads that came from my hands this past week.  Hopefully they will wind up in the hands of someone who needs them.

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Blue Sky Jasper in Antique Copper (click on picture to view details)

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Classic Pearls (click on picture to view details)

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Midnight Blue Pearls with Silver Cross (click on picture to view details)

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Red Picture Jasper (click on picture to view details)

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