Monday, May 6, 2013

Sacred Moment Monday

Last week, after my mysterious Labrinyth experience, I've been thinking about how much space can influence our times and reflections with God. Over the years there have been geographies and spaces that have reflected and influenced the ways I hear and relate to God.

Of course, there was Tucson.
Such a literal depiction of the dryness and thirst of my soul.  These were my early ministry days and I remember being asked to spend "A Day with the Lord." Argh!? What on earth would a 12 hour quiet time look like?  Back then this whole shared-in life and God enjoying me enjoying myself was newer terrain.  Or perhaps better said, God enjoying me when I felt poopy, didn't have it together, and was hurting.  

Creating sacred spaces to help me connect with the Lord happened, but back then not with as much awareness or intentionality that I have now.  Looking back, I can see what a comfort the mountains were. Though the land was parched and I learned to appreciate different shades of brown, the mountains felt like a triumphant H E L L O! The majestic and beautiful is here you just have to look for it. 

Moving to Orange County was a welcome sigh of relief to my soul.  Returning to the Pacific, heck returning to grass on front lawns, opened up a big WELCOME HOME! This season of life brought many opportunities and intentionality for long, lingering spaces to be with God.

My friend Dawn had a year pass to Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. It felt like returning to Eden...the Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, Koi ponds, and meandering trails.  Something about getting away from my everyday surroundings at home, opened up a new place within for Jesus to speak to me.  
Sitting near the still waters and watching Francis over there all content, drew me. Calmed me.  Helped return me to my birthplace--the Garden, the Garden before the Fall.
But it wasn't always going away to somewhere else, in fact most the time it was about creating beauty and loveliness around me to help draw my heart into His. I loved my back patio in Orange County!    
Little potted plants growing. Butterflies fluttering. Morning fog lifting. These exterior things helped draw my heart into the interior things. N E W  L I F E budding within. If you know me, you know I  L O V E my bed! But something about getting up and going outside with my coffee, journal, and bible in tow helped me to see L I F E. A flower sprung that wasn't there just a few days ago.  A squirrel that paused and looked right at me.  As the sun broke though the Spirit's prompting of hurtful situations that had blanketed my heart that needed Jesus' light and truth.

Sprinkled within there was this place, perhaps my favorite, Serra Retreat Center in Malibu.
Just up the hill of Highway 1 (yes, I am blessed to live in California), this beautiful retreat center is nestled. I've been told Mel Gibson and Olivia Newton-John live near it. Honestly, the mansions can be a distraction. But there is something about these grounds that bring me peace. This was the first place I associated as a place to reflect, get solitude, and let my surroundings guide my times with God.  It was also a place, away from the everyday, that I could ask God some of the bigger questions and reflect on my purpose. I think I started going there in 2002 when I moved back to California and have tried to visit annually since then.  

And now, I seem to keep coming back to here.
The benches at Shell Beach have provided respite and reminders......I am here. I am still and constant. Like the waves that ebb in and out, my mercies are new every morning.  Sometimes I have a plan to go there, but often times I just find myself needing to go there or ending up there. Like last Sunday.
And finally, the place I spend the most time is here.
I don't know that the bed is sacred space per se but there are things I put in my room to draw me into my life with Christ.  I have photos of the people I love that God has put around me.  A constant reminder of his love and provision in my life.  I have books that line my shelves that tell the story of God and I, the seasons, the spiritual guides and mentors from the page, the journals that are filled with our story.
I also have way up top on that book shelf (thank you high ceilings) some art journaling I've done. Each one of these pieces reflects some of my story with Jesus.  A heart space I was struggling in (or am still), the names God has whispered in the dark of who I am, the life He's poured out in me and the life I pour out as my alabaster offering. I also have cards that have images and sayings that draw me back to God's life and my life in Him.

Creating sacred space is important. Or finding it. Or maybe it's just opening ourselves up to it wherever we are? I think it's all of these.  Realizing that the Sacred, God with us in the everyday, is everywhere. Not just in our sanctuaries. Though He is there, powerfully. Not just our Bibles. Though He is speaking His life in those words and stories, literally. Not just in our family and friends. Though he is reflecting and challenging us there, incarnationally. But in our surroundings. The story nature, objects, and the things placed around us tell of Him.

So, I'm curious what are some of your favorite sacred spaces? I'd love to hear about them or even see a pic

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your places and photos are beautiful... I like them all.
Locally I like the liitle cove and area between Pismo Beach and Spyglass Inn. RCS