Saturday, January 2

Selah, the Sea, and St. Anthony

(Something I wrote for the church newsletter in California after our womens' retreat.)

There's something about the beach. I don't get there very often, even though I now live much closer to a beach than I ever have before. The infinity of the sky, the ocean, and the sand is overwhelming. The expanse of the ocean ahead, in contrast with the tiny grains of sand at my feet, impossible to count. The push and pull of the waves, and the sound of waves drowning out my own voice. I sit there, sifting through the sand with my hand, watching the birds go after their catch, singing or shouting to God knowing He hears me above the roar. I love to enjoy the beach with others, but for me something unique happens when I'm there alone.

I felt that as I walked down to the beach early on the Sunday morning of Selah, our women's retreat. I heard a tiny groan escape my throat as I saw the shore and smiled , so thankful to feel a connection to the depth of God.

That morning at the beach was part of a weekend of reconnecting, allowing God to claim my soul as a dwelling place for Himself again. He spoke to me about how He is my shelter, my refuge, my source through any tumult I face. As I sat in solitude among the other women there, I remembered what it feels like to really trust Him, to know him as the one who provides for me.

One of the readings we were given on the retreat was an article on solitude by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen tells of St. Anthony, who spent years of solitude in the desert: “He had become so Christlike, so radiant with God's love, that his entire being was ministry.” As I read about St. Anthony, I was reminded that my entire being will be ministry only as I allow myself that time in solitude. In solitude, I leave behind the finite life to sit in the expanse of God, the one who truly knows me.


One Woman said...

I love this. Being in nature, more than anything else, connects me to God. Even more so than reading the Bible a lot of times. I'm reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek now and know you read that awhile ago. The smallness at what AD writes about makes me marvel at God. I want to go back and read what you wrote about reading that novel...


lela said...

Suzanne, I saw this today and it seems to connect somewhat to your comment:
The whole purpose of the Bible, it seems to me, is to convince people to set the written word down in order to become living words in the world for God's sake. For me, this willing conversion of ink back to blood is the full substance of faith.

- Barbara Brown Taylor, from her book, Leaving Church

One Woman said...

Lela, Thanks for that quote. I loved spending time with you!! Wish it were a weekly thing. Since it's not, you must keep up the blog!! :)

Anonymous said...

我喜歡用心經營的blog~ ^^........................................

Grateful for Grace said...

Lela- How did I not know/remember that you had a blog??! Suh-weet!

Thank you for the beautiful sentiment yesterday. You made my heart swell. Truly. It was a special surprise to hear from you.

thank you.
in Him,