Writings of a Beholder 🌿 3.10.23
For the days that feel crowded & loud
For the Days That Feel Crowded & Loud
There are some days that just feel like sinking sand — like nothing planned is going according to plan.
The kids are sick, the alarm didn’t go off when it was supposed to, the dishwasher broke… again, and you’re wounded from words carelessly spewed from you and your spouse the night before in the heat of an angry moment.
What are we to do on the days when our heads know that God is near, but our hearts and bodies tell a different story? How do we turn toward the Presence of God on the days that feel long and crowded and loud?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because I think it’s something you and I both need to be reminded of often; stillness isn’t found only in circumstances but in moments and pockets of time where we choose to turn our hearts toward God despite the chaos of the day.
Stillness is a heart posture, a way of returning to God in a moment when everything else is screaming for our harried attention.
The truth is, life is full of loud, unpredictable moments and seasons. It’s messy and colorful and sometimes really sad and really good. And you know what’s so sacred about that?
God can be found in all of it.
In the early morning hours when you wake for the 4th time to nurse that new baby with bags under your eyes and a soul weary with the newness of a newborn?
God is there.
When you’re sitting in your cubicle answering emails and dealing with grumpy clients and praying for that dream job that doesn’t yet pay the bills?
God is there.
When you’re handed the diagnosis, or a loved one dies, or the overwhelm of juggling the chaos of life keeps you up at night?
God is there, too.
He’s right here, meeting you in the middle of all of it.
Sarah Hagerty in her beautiful book, Adore, writes,
“You are restoration, God. In your personhood, in Your nearness, You restore.”
How refreshing and healing and restoring it would be if we could learn to live each moment aware of the presence of God with us in all things. To truly believe that even here, now, as you read these words, God is closer to you than your very skin. To live as if His nearness really does make you whole.
That’s how we cultivate stillness in a culture that craves chaos and crowdedness. That’s how we create space for our souls to breathe. By learning how to invite God into the mundane, into the hard and messy and out-of-control things.
Because here’s the thing, my friend — God wants to sit there with you. He wants to hear about the hurt, anxiety, betrayal, weariness, and the joy and goodness, too. He wants nothing more than to walk this life in relationship with you, forming you and shaping you to look more like Him as you do.
And the more you practice walking side by side with your Creator, the more settled in His stillness you’ll become. That’s not to say there won’t be seasons of anxiety or doubt or pain or wrestling. It means that when those arduous seasons come, you’ll know Who to turn to when peace is what you’re aching for most.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4, ESV)
Abide means to ‘hold to’, to ‘dwell within’. This is our heavenly Father’s invitation to us every moment of every day — to abide in Him as He so faithfully abides (dwells) within us. What a beautiful call to intimacy and security, rest and refreshment, guidance and clarity.
So on the days that feel harried and hurried and just plain hard, pause.
Breathe in the words of the beloved Psalm 46:10 — Be still and know that I am God — and remember that God’s very nearness, His abiding presence, restores and heals and makes all things whole.
Even here, even now.
Peace be with you,
A Breath Prayer for Your Weekend
Your nearness, God.
Restores and heals.
*if you’d like to learn more about the practice of breath prayer, check out this blog post I wrote titled, How to Use Breath Prayer.
Join the Sacred Spaces Community
Are you longing to be more attentive to God’s presence in your everyday life?
Do you have the desire to know God’s love and grow in deeper communion with Him?
Are you sensing the Spirit’s invitation to grow spiritually but don’t know where to begin?
Do you feel tired, worn out, or burnt out on religion?
Are you craving rest, refreshment of soul, and perhaps a different way of being with God?
In the Sacred Spaces community, we’re going to journey deeper into the heart of God together, putting our ears to His chest as we gently trod toward Homebase, by exploring different Christian contemplative practices that are designed to open our hearts to the Spirit’s leading and loving voice in our souls and lives. By subscribing to Sacred Spaces for just $5 a month, you’ll gain immediate access to:
monthly emails that will be sent out on the 1st of every month containing that month’s spiritual practice, action steps, and tools, outside additional resources, and weekly reflection questions
Soul Care Sessions, where you can book a 30-minute one-on-one Zoom call with me to talk about that month's spiritual practice, what the Lord is revealing to you, or what you're wrestling with. It's an invitation to come as you are as the Holy Spirit leads our time together and cares for your soul
a community chat in the Substack app where you can engage with me and other community members about that month’s email or whatever else may be stirring within you
Click here to join or read more about it:
Resources & Fun Things to Pick Up
If you’d like to read more about how to cultivate stillness amidst a busy schedule, check out this past blog post of mine: Implementing Stillness Amidst a Busy Schedule
I really enjoyed Kris Camealy’s most recent post on her Substack blog about grief, setting fires, and art as an avenue for healing: Out of the Ashes
For my book-loving friends, have you ever heard of Thrift Books?! I recently discovered it and I’m obsessed. It’s an online bookshop where you can buy gently used, discounted books. Check it out: Thrift Books
And while you’re there, pick up a gently used copy of Sara Hagerty’s book, Adore, which I quoted in today’s letter: Adore: A Simple Practice for Experiencing God in the Middle Minutes of Your Day
My friend and fellow writer, Kari Bartkus, is offering an 8-week journaling course called Journal Gently designed to help you experience God’s presence in the midst of grief. I went through the 8-week writing program myself, and it was incredibly healing and life-giving. Check it out here: Journal Gently
Grab some breath prayer cards, a journal, and other contemplative resources from my Etsy shop: The Beholding Co.
Grab a copy of my Bible study, You Are Beloved: a 21-day study on how to root your identity in the love of God, over on Amazon.
An Invitation to Pause & Reflect
A regular practice of reflection helps us recognize what’s going on beneath the surface of our souls so we can name it in the Lord’s presence. Because as we learn to name what we feel, what we need, and what we long for, we’re also learning to discern the Spirit’s sweet, gentle voice within our hearts and lives.
Take a few moments today or this weekend to journal or contemplate with the Holy Spirit the following question(s) or prompt(s):
Take a moment to check in with yourself today by placing your hand over your heart and taking a few deep breaths. Gently notice what rises up within you and offer it as a prayer to the Lord, breathing in the words of Psalm 46:10 before moving on with your day.
If you feel led to, journal about this experience and pay attention to what comes up as you prayerfully reflect.
Thanks for reading Writings of a Beholder 🌿 If you’d like to join the community of faith wanderers and beholders then subscribe or pledge your support below.