Tag Archives: Spirituality

When blessing comes in quietly

A season of quiet blessing

I wrote earlier about what it means to be blessed, about the richness of life that comes through memories and forgiveness and small pleasures.

This has indeed been a season of blessing for me. Not the kind of blessing that runs through your life with extravagance — no miraculous late-life pregnancy like Sarai’s, no new name rewarded after an epic night of struggle like Jacob’s — but the kind of blessing that comes in quietly.

It has been a season of blessing more like the one God gives to his sheep in Ezekiel 34:

I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land,
so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely.
I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing;
and I will send down the showers in their season;
they shall be showers of blessing.

The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase.

I love how gentle and open this blessing is: the very hills around the sheep are a blessing.

Why? Because they receive rain and yield fruit. That’s it. The land does what it is meant to do, and that is blessing enough to keep the sheep safe.

There is no overturning of religious or political systems, no supernatural force of change, no whirlwinds or fiery chariots — there’s just the abundance of the land. That is the blessing.

Breaking the dependence

Notice the text says God sends the showers of blessing in their season. They don’t come all the time. They come in appropriate balance: dryness and rain, sunshine and dark. That balance is life-giving blessing.

I imagine those sheep may have not even noticed the blessing of their safe, abundant hillside. They may have mistaken the showers of blessing for showers of normalcy.

In other words, they may have taken their blessing for granted.

I can relate. Sometimes blessings come into my life so quietly, I almost miss them — as though I’m too dependent on those supernatural fiery whirlwinds to mark the blessings that come in without them.

There is a deep importance around breaking that dependence, around noticing the balance, the abundance, the showers of blessing that we experience.

May we continue to be attentive to our sense of gratitude, our safe places, and the moments of goodness in our lives — no matter how subtle.

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Being Blessed…

Being blessed is

drinking steaming mugs of coffee in morning sunshine,

the feeling of grass under toes, soft cat fur under fingers, warm hands caressing shoulders,

the woosh of breath in and out of lungs that quickens to match the pounding of feet on pavement, the pounding of heart in chest.

Being blessed is

hearing “I love you” and “I’m sorry” and “I understand,”

saying “I love you” and “I’m sorry” and “I understand,”

being hugged by a stranger with soft, wet eyes who has told you their life story before they have even learned your name.

Being blessed is

sharing watermelon and spitting out the seeds all the way to the other end of the yard,

childhood memories of fireworks and oak trees and church pews,

hushed in the glow of stained glass sunshine,

the thrill of connection that comes just from holding his hand.

Being blessed is

the deepness of scripture becoming shallow enough to sink in,

the bad coffee and stale cookies and warm smiles at church potlucks,

the glimmer of God as she sparkles across the ocean waves,

as she swoops in pelican form toward earth,

as she tugs at your heart when you pray: Come, come, and may all our souls be homes.

Being blessed is

crying the kind of sobs that catch in your throat,

clenching your fist in anger when the news is bad,

feeling the pulse of your own power– you are someone who matters,

you are someone who changes.

you are.

Being blessed is being awake, wide and alive and salty.

It is to be created creature, made of mud, called by name, known to the depths of yourself.

It is to be weened from yourself, ushered into mystery, lifted and held in this very moment.

It is to be born, again and again, into goodness.

– – –

Thanks for asking us, Emily, what it means to be blessed!

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Fearless prayer

There is so much fear and agony in us. Fear of people, fear of God, and much raw, undefined, free-floating anxiety. I wonder if fear is not our main obstacle to prayer.

When we enter into the presence of God and start to sense that huge reservoir of fear in us, we want to run away into the many distractions that our busy world offers abundantly.

But we should not be afraid of our fears. We can confront them, give words to them, cry out to God, and lead our fears into the presence of the One who says: “Don’t be afraid, it is I.”
(Henri Nouwen, Spiritual Direction, 58)

Friends, this week challenge yourself to bring your whole self into prayer — even the self you feel doesn’t belong there, even the self you’ve never brought there before, even the self you can hardly stand to look at.

Challenge yourself to move through your fears to a place of genuine intimacy with God.

You are whole. You are loved. You are known.

– – –

Which self are you least afraid to bring before God? Which self are you most afraid to bring before God? What part of your life is needing to be freed from fear and soaked in prayer?

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Filed under Spirituality, Theology and Faith