Good morning, Ladies. It's still very quiet in my house, and outside the lake seems to be holding its breath as it waits for the snow that's soon to come. I wanted just such a moment to post for you today. I wanted a Holy Spirit moment.
In all the years we've been gathering here on In Real Life (how many is it, PAIGE and MELODY? I think you two have been here since the beginning.) -- anyway, in all that time, I can't remember the responses to a post being so deep. It's as if we have entered a new room in what Teresea of Avila called The Interior Castle and Thomas Merton named the Palace of Nowhere. These are the kinds of things you've said in answering the question: "What happened to the Holy Spirit?"
KATIE: "I think that the Holy Spirit does, in some sense, adapt to the culture in which we live." (And can I just respond to Katie's casual mention of the fact that she's mentoring another girl in Bible study? That is huge. Huge.) Katie also said: "I think that sometimes because we don't have the type of faith in God that moves mountains, we can overlook or explain away the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
NUDGED TO ACTION: STOP EXPLAINING THE HOLY SPIRIT AWAY. IT'S REAL.
SARAH ELIZABETH: "Personally I think the reason we're not seeing miracles is that we don't believe it can really happen. I know I need to be willing to just speak out . . . it really comes down to a lack of faith."
NUDGED TO ACITON: BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. SPEAK OUT
THERESE: (inspired by the music) "I let myself feel God. The Holy Spirit was there, I know it, and I listened. The voice remains as a recurring whisper in my mind. It raised some questions, some food for thought, some things to ponder and consider as I try to get through each day . . . struggling with self-injury."
NUDGED TO ACTION: LET YOURSELF FEEL GOD. LISTEN.
IRELAND: "My parents say, 'Don't let your highs get too high or your lows get too low.' -- But being in the middle is not that great. I wish I was feeling something, instead of feeling numb. Music is my favorite place to be . . ."
NUDGED TO ACTION: DON'T BE AFRAID TO FEEL.
SASHA: "It wasn't until a few years ago that I really began to underand that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us so that he could guide us and teach us and basically help us get closer to Jesus. After I began to grasp that, I started talking with Holy Spirit each day . . . taking short 10 second breaks to just quiet down and focus and receive."
NUDGED TO ACITON: QUIET DOWN. RECEIVE. BE GUIDED.
AMY: "I think (my fellow students) have lost the true meaning of the swearing they do and just throw it around. Anyone who would speak openly about their faith would stick out from the crowd and more than likely get made fun of. I guess I'm afraid that I'll get made fun of too."
NUDGED TO ACTION: TAKE A SMALL STEP OUT OF THE MINDLESS CROWD. MAYBE START WITH NOT SWEARING, OR GOSSIPING, OR GETTING TOO CAUGHT UP TO PRAY.
ABBY: "I haven't really felt the Holy Spirit in a while. It kinda makes me miss my self-injury days because that was when I could really feel the tug of war between it and Satan. The parts where I felt the Holy Spirit were wonderful."
NUDGED TO ACTION: CALL ON THE HOLY SPIRIT WHEN YOU AREN'T IN CRISIS.
MAY: "For me the Holy Spirit is an inspiration that helps me sort everything out on paper (drawing). Sometimes this just keeps me breathing."
NUDGED TO ACTION: FIND A "RITUAL" TO KEEP YOU FOCUSED AS YOU ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR GUIDANCE. DRAWING (like May). DANCING (like Abby) RAISING YOUR HANDS IN SONG (like Therese)
ALISHA: "This year the Holy Spirit just keeps sending me gentle reminders to focus on myself, to focus on healing my mind, my body, and my spirit (instead of running from one thing to the next, trying to please people, and just wearing myself out) . I'm basically locking my wings and riding this air current that if I tried to fly on my own would probably kill me. I'm taking a step back from life, from control, and just trusting, which is a lot scarier than it sounds."
NUDGED TO ACTION: STOP TRYING TO "CONTROL" AND LET THE HOLY SPIRIT HEAL AND GUIDE YOU.
PAIGE: "For me it's just hard to grasp that I don't see the Holy Spirit working in the same ways in the United States (as in Third World countries). I know he's there working in me . . . but I guess the transition for me was/is a really tough one."
NUDGED TO ACTION: EMBRACE THE HOLY SPIRIT WHEREVER YOU ARE, EVEN IF HE DOESN'T MAKE HIS PRESENCE OBVIOUS.
RACHEL: "I've come to the wonderful acceptance that God doesn't always work in huge obvious miracles but in the little day to day moments when the still small voice calls me to holiness. And those moments add up to a life that can't help but burst forth with the radiance of heaven. One nudge I've been responding to recently is to just stop throughout my day to take a breath and have a God-break, just a few minutes or even seconds to pray and just let myself be with the One who loves and sustains me perfectly."
NUDGED TO ACTION: KNOW THAT YOU ARE CALLED TO HOLINESS. CHECK IN WITH GOD OFTEN TO HEAR THE NEXT STEP IN THE CALL.
I have absolutely no reason to say another thing. You have said it so deeply to each other. As RACHEL puts it, "I feel like we are all in the same room having this conversation face to face, tear to tear, smile to smile."
So let's do this.
* Find a place today to stand in light. The sun. A lamp. Some faint beams filtering between the slats in the blinds. A burning candle. A fire in the fireplace.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you toward one of the NUDGES from the list above that your Sisters have provided for you -- or something else the Spirit brings to mind.
* Take that action
* Continue to share with us. We are learning so much from each other. That, my loves, is the Body of Christ at work.
Next week is our last week before Lent begins. It's a season of sacrifice and self-examination. If you have any thoughts about how you would like to journey through those forty days together, please post them or email me at email@example.com.
One more thing: each month this year I'm offering a giveaway, and for teens this month it's THE WHOLE GUY THING. If you don't have a copy, or if you do but you'd like one for a friend, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm also giving away SOPHIE LOVES JIMMY for tweens so if you know an 8 to 12 year old girl who'd like one, let me know.
Blessings in the Spirit,