Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

IMG_27772

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.

 

IMG_2781

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.

 

IMG_2785

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. )

IMG_2772

View of Labyrinth from gardens on hill

IMG_2783

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

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

il_170x135.435479713_hrjb

“Write your hurts in the SAND and you blessings in STONE.”

When I first read this quote I liked it, however, I changed my mind as I thought about it.  I realized that it’s not really possible to do, nor is it a beneficial thing to even try to do.  No matter how much we may try to deny it, we ARE a product of all our past experiences — the bad as well as the good.  Each and every thing that enters our life shapes us in some way.  Everyone experiences hurts as well as  blessings and it is impossible to have the hurts simply disappear like words that are written in sand.

brave

None of us can choose when or how a painful circumstance may enter our lives, but we can choose how we allow events to change us.  I know it sounds cliche’ to talk about pain making you stronger, but if you spend time with people who have experienced deep wounding in their life, you will often find this to be true.  Walking through painful times can allow people to find a strength they had not yet known was possible.  People often come through tough experiences stronger than they went into them.  This definitely isn’t something that happens in a day, a month, or even a year–it is a long and arduous process of facing the hurt, allowing yourself to grieve and then finding ways to live your life while your heart begins to heal.

broken

Brokenness in our lives can not only make people stronger, but can make them more beautiful.  A person who has come through hard times in life is often capable of deeper levels of acceptance, forgiveness, compassion and love. There is a profound and indescribable beauty in someone who has walked through a deep pain and is then able to show someone else amazing compassion.   Having a friend who is truly able to understand your  pain can be an incredible comfort.  Being able to see that someone has survived that kind of pain can give hope to one who may be at the beginning of that journey.

images (30)

If you are in deep pain right now, I hope my words don’t come across as thoughtless or cavalier.   I’m not saying any of these things lightly because  I, myself, am one who is still in the process of healing and trying to internalize these things.  Wherever you are on your journey it is my hope and prayer that you are able to find that strength inside of you, but that you also find people you can lean on when you need it.  Whatever you may be experiencing in life, I would encourage you accept the fact that it is not ‘written in sand’, whether it be joy or pain.  You can’t always control what may come into your life or what may be taken away, but you can make a choice in how you allow it to change you.  I, for one, hope to allow both good and bad times to shape me into someone who is stronger and more beautiful.

522371_485636724803112_1302488111_n-1

Some choose to allow their pain to turn into bitterness and that is a very sad thing to see.  My beliefs may be different than yours, but I feel that some help from God  is needed to bring true strength and beauty out of pain.  In my experience, my own prayers and those of my friends have helped immensely.  I am at a point in the process that I can begin to see that I am a stronger and more compassionate woman than I used to be.   It is my hope and prayer that you will be able to see the strength and beauty in yourself that pain may have ‘forged’ in your life and that you will find a new or renewed faith in our Heavenly Father/Mother as a result.

WTF1109 qotw the most beautiful pplz

Read Full Post »

IMG_0274

 

 

MY VALENTINE “GIFT”

It is Valentine’s Day and I was given a VERY ‘cool’ gift—a beautiful snowy morning.

 

IMG_0255

 

As I stepped out the back door I was greeted with a view that literally made me stop in my tracks.   Everything was covered with a layer of beautiful, white snow.  Something about the snow clinging to the branches made me feel like I had stepped in to a winter wonderland.  Being in the season of Lent and purposefully focusing on the gifts God has given me, I couldn’t help but see this as a Valentine gift from the only One who can create such beauty.  

I could not resist the urge to bundle up and head out for a walk with my dog, Denver.  I took my camera along in order to capture some of this beauty while it lasted.  With the sun beginning to shine on the trees, I knew the snow wouldn’t last long.

IMG_0264

 

As I walked through the beautiful, white carpet of snow, it felt so invigorating and cleansing.  Seeing all of nature covered in white reminded me of a scripture that was read last night at the Ash Wednesday service.  Psalm 51:7 :Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  There is nothing more pure and clean than a fresh snowfall.  

IMG_0291

As I came to the part of the path where the sun had been shining the longest, I could already hear the snow beginning to melt and fall to the ground.  I knew that it was only a matter of time before all of the trees, bushes and grass would lose their snowy covering.  Being aware of this, I savored each moment and tried to appreciate every bit of the natural beauty as I walked.

IMG_0278

 

Denver, my Golden Retriever also appreciated this special gift.  When he first realized that we were going for a walk in the snowy field he began to frantically run around in large circles.  It’s like he was so delighted that he just couldn’t contain himself any longer.  It almost made me wish I was a dog so that I could find that much joy and excitement from something as simple as the snow.

IMG_0297

 

As I headed back to the house to begin the work of the day, I stopped and took a few deep breaths and enjoyed the sounds of morning.  I silently said my ‘thank you’ for the gift and took one last look into the field.  Even now, looking out the window as I write these words, the trees are already bare.  I am still thankful for my beautiful Valentine gift, no matter how short-lived.  I want to carry that over in to the rest of my life—being thankful for ‘gifts’, even if they are only in my life for a short time.

HAPPY VALENTINE”S DAY!!!

IMG_0269

 

Read Full Post »

dark-church

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.

IMG_9998

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

IMG_9924

Classic Pearls (click on picture to view details)

IMG_9890

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

IMG_9840

Red Picture Jasper (click on picture to view details)

dark-church

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: