Walking With God Through Pain

Scenic photo with quote: God is powerful enough to carry us through our pain.

It has been scientifically proven that our brains are hard-wired to avoid pain. This has helped humans survive by recognizing threats and danger. But in a big and complex world, we can’t always avoid pain in our lives. Try as we might, we can’t always prevent pain in our bodies, such as illness, injury, or the natural process of aging. Unavoidable pain can also present itself in our minds—with anxiety, depression, and other mental health struggles. And our spirits can unexpectedly feel pain through broken relationships, heartbreak, setbacks and loss. When any type of pain enters our lives, our first instinct is to pray to our powerful and mighty God: Please take this pain away!

When the pain lingers, we feel confused and even a little betrayed. God can do all things… why am I still hurting? I’m honestly not sure I have a good answer to this question except to say that we live in a world of science and free will, and pain can sometimes be a part of that world. It’s why I believe that acceptance is such a big part of faith. Refusing to accept a painful time in our lives can lead to doubt, frustration, and a loss of trust in God. Dr. Julia King, a clinical psychologist specializing in anxiety, writes: “We create suffering for ourselves when we desperately wish things were different when, at least right now, they cannot be.”

So where can we find God amidst our pain? I firmly believe that God does not cause our pain or desire for us to suffer; however, God is powerful enough to carry us through our pain and even bring blessings out of it. So maybe instead of asking God to take away our suffering, we pray instead: God, please walk with me through this pain.

Imagine a parent confronted with a child in pain. The parent wants to do anything to make that child happy again. It hurts too much to see them suffering. But again, it’s not always possible. In the words of Brené Brown: “Our go-to as parents is to make everything better. We want to flip on the lights. But our job is to teach our kids that it is ok to be sad, and to sit in the dark with them.” That’s exactly what God does for us when we suffer—sits in the dark with us.

Even more, there’s a lot God can take away. The fear that accompanies pain. The loneliness. The despair. Leaning on God can take away the cascading effect of emotions that stem from pain. Our faith in God leads to hope that physical pain may heal or lessen. Mental pain does not have to define our lives. And emotional pain does not need to overwhelm us.

To expect to live a life without any pain is like building a castle on sand. The minute something goes wrong, we assume we just can’t handle it. We collapse with no foundation to hold us together. But when we approach the painful moments of life with Jesus by our side, we are stronger. We have our faith to lean on. We have trust that joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Through times of suffering, we learn a lot. We learn about God’s love for us. We learn how to trust. We learn about our own strength and resilience. We learn compassion for others who have suffered. God is there with us through all of that…showing us the way through.

I’d love to hear your comments! Respond with your thoughts on how God has carried you through times of pain. How did that experience differ from times you tried to go it alone?

Encountering God in Each Moment

Each and every moment that we live is an opportunity to encounter God. An average lifetime is 41 million minutes. That’s a lot of moments! Sometimes it’s easy to see how God appears to us. Something so special or different is happening that we can’t help but be aware of the awesome presence of God in that moment. The Joyful Moment, when we are celebrating with loved ones. The Awe-Filled Moment, when we witness the breathtaking the glory of God in nature. Or the Tranquil Moment, when we feel God speaking to us deep in prayer.

But in a life filled with over a million moments, many of them are not going to be joyful, tranquil, or filled with awe. Life is made up of lots of other kinds of moments that don’t exactly sparkle with Divine presence. The Frazzled Moment, the Dull Moment, the Anxious Moment. All too often God “seems” absent in these moments. 

Why is it that we tend to miss God’s presence in these more ordinary occurrences?  

Sometimes our emotions grab hold of us and we just react to what’s happening, believing that we’re on our own and we must control the situation. Other times we feel that what we’re experiencing isn’t “big” enough or important enough for God’s attention.  We feel our ordinary moments are not worthy of God’s attention. And oftentimes, sharing our moments with God just doesn’t occur to us. Like anything, being mindful of God’s presence in our lives is something we have to practice. And it’s easy to forget or fall out of the habit.

It’s important to realize that God is always here with us whether we notice or not! There is not a fraction of a minute we experience in our lives that God is not there to witness. The key is to be aware of it. How can we increase the number of moments in which we encounter God?

AWARENESS

This is where it begins. Let yourself “feel” the presence of God in whatever way calls to you. Remind yourself that God is there. Repeat to yourself: God is here with me in this moment. Take time to notice where God may be coming through. If you are sitting through a boring meeting at work (a Dull Moment to be sure!) take time to realize that each person at that meeting is a child of God. God abides in everyone there.

CONVERSATIONAL PRAYER

Talk to God in the moment you are having. An easy conversation like one you would have with a friend. This does not come naturally for many people, but it gets easier with practice. No matter what kind of moment you’re experiencing, talk to God about it. When you’re experiencing an Anxious Moment, talk through your feelings with God. Bring your worries to God and set them down. 

GRATITUDE

Before the moment fades away, take time to thank God for being there with you through it. After all, moments come and go, but God’s presence is unending. When you get through a Frazzled Moment of trying to do a million things at once, thank God for getting through it, knowing that a sense of relief and calm will come at the end.

How does this make your life better? In one simple way…through the realization that you are never alone. That each moment—no matter how ordinary—is sparkling with Holy light, soothing with Heavenly love, or lifting you up with Divine hope. Our loving Creator is the source of each and every moment.

Photo by John Peters on Unsplash

Removing Roadblocks

Imagine you are driving home from a long day and you encounter a downed tree lying across the road that leads to your house.  The trunk is thick and heavy, and there is no way you can get around it. You try alternate routes, but you just can’t seem to get home. Does your spiritual life ever feel like that? Like there is some obstacle blocking you from getting home to God? It’s important to remember that this roadblock is never put there by God! God WANTS to be in relationship with us. We put up our own blocks, or we let the outside world do it for us. I have found that there are three areas that typically form those impediments that keep us from clear and direct access to our loving Creator.

DISTRACTION

Our lives are full of distractions! We’re busy and pulled in so many different directions. We do not feel we can take the time for spiritual renewal. This obstacle requires us to examine our outer lives. Ask yourself this question: What things are filling up my life leaving little to no room for spirituality? Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate some of your priorities. Making room for God in your life will give God plenty of space to dwell in your heart. Try to take one thing off your plate that isn’t truly serving you or filling you up on your journey of faith.

DOUBT

God’s plans don’t always line up with our own plans, and this can be tough to accept. It’s so much easier to doubt God and trust our own plans. To avoid what God may be calling us to do. This obstacle requires us to examine our own need for control. How often do you feel that God is calling you in a certain direction, but your doubts and fears cause you to avoid it, sticking to your own safe path? This may feel better on the surface, because you’re not risking anything, but think about the opportunities you may be missing by ignoring this call. Ask yourself: Is there something I feel that God is calling me towards, and how might I take a small step in that direction?

GUILT

To hold ourselves back from God because of feelings of unworthiness, shame, or guilt is an entirely self-inflicted roadblock. God doesn’t measure us. We don’t need to earn God’s love. The gift of God’s grace is that we are given unconditional love whether we deserve it or not. The rules about who is deserving simply do not exist with God. But when we feel unworthy, the dazzling light of God’s love can feel almost harsh and blinding. Shame causes us to shy away from that Light. Ask yourself: Does God want me to stay away? Wouldn’t God want me to bring my shame and guilt to the foot of the Cross?

As we begin to recognize and challenge these roadblocks to our faith, they begin to clear. We make time for God by examining our priorities. We make a path toward God by trusting in His plans for us. We make room for God in our lives by experiencing His unconditional love. The “fallen tree” is removed from our path, and we have a clear and easy trip home into the loving arms of our Creator.

Photo by Joe Dudeck on Unsplash

Being Loved by God

My husband is a high school teacher, and for the first fifteen years of his career, he spent his summer break teaching summer school. Over the past few years, he has finally been able to recognize that the break is supposed to be exactly that, a break.  And so he gave up his summer teaching position to really take time in the summer to rest and restore. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how incredibly hard teachers work during the school year in increasingly challenging circumstances!

But what I’ve observed over the past few summers is that my husband has the hardest time taking a day off—and I mean taking it completely off. On summer afternoons he loves to go swimming at our town lake. Or maybe “swimming” isn’t exactly right: he doesn’t do laps or anything. Instead, he prefers to simply float on the water and relax—doing nothing, thinking about nothing in particular. 

But here’s the catch: he won’t go to the lake in the afternoon unless he feels he has “earned” it. He has to do something productive in the morning—planting flowers, moving the lawn, endlessly pulling out weeds—in order to feel right about his lake-lounging in the afternoon.

I’m sure this philosophy makes sense to a lot of people. The relaxation is the reward for the hard work. It’s easy to get swept up into this world of accomplishments and score-keeping. This sense that we have to justify our existence in the world and always be productive. But this way of thinking results in a transactional view of our own worth. To have good things, we must earn it. To feel loved and appreciated, we must deserve it. To be considered a good and worthy person, we must work for it.

If you truly believe that you are a child of God, then this view is terribly misguided! As William Reiser, S.J. writes in his book The Potter’s Touch

“We are alive, we exist on the earth for no other reason than this, that we have been loved.” 

You were created to be loved by God. Imagine the freedom in that realization! You weren’t created to produce, labor, contribute, sacrifice, or anything else but simply to receive love. Everything else you do in your life should stem from that fundamental belief.

God loves us unconditionally. That means without conditions! There’s no declaration that begins with the words: “God loves me because…”  Instead, we must only believe: “God loves me.”

We spend so much of our lives trying to prove things about ourselves.

  • I’m successful because I own this many things or I’ve received this many promotions. 
  • I’m well-liked because I have this many friends or social media followers.
  • I’m a good person because I’ve done this many good deeds.  

All of those things are a part of life, but they aren’t the “WHY” of life. Achieving success at work is great, but it’s not why you were put here on this earth. Having friends is important, but it’s not why you were created. Doing good deeds is wonderful, but it’s not your reason for being. 

Your reason for being is to be loved. God created us to love us. We are here to receive that love. What we do with that love is what comes next.

So it’s certainly a worthy effort to reflect on your calling and your purpose. After all…it’s not realistic to float on the lake forever! But the deeds you do should grow out of your existence as a child of God, not be a condition of it. In other words, we aren’t loved by God because we do good things; but rather, experiencing God’s unconditional love makes us want to share and spread that love through our words and deeds. 

So begin each day with this discovery—”I was created to be loved by God!” And see where the day takes you from there.

God Is Good!

How easy it is, Lord, to focus on the chaos.
To drown in the evidence of darkness in our world.
To look around and say, “Yes, there! See?
Surely You are lost to Your people.”

I pray for the strength
To reject this view of the world.
To seek Your gentle and loving heart
In those that I meet on the journey.

Loving God, give me eyes to see
That You are working.
That You are HERE.
That Your people see and live in you.

Lord God, today and every day,
I proclaim that You are GOOD!
There is no darkness You cannot overcome.
No heart You cannot change.

I will lift my eyes to the heavens
And when I look back down on this world
I will see hope and beauty
And evidence of the LIGHT.

May I be a sign of Your presence in the world.
May I testify to Your goodness.
May my words and deeds shine with Your love.
May You work in me always.

AMEN.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

To Retreat With the Lord

When a new year begins, I like to spend some time reflecting on the themes that filled the year (or years) I’m leaving behind. Last year held many moments of joy, family, friendship, and fun. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t also marked by a lingering sense of isolation, withdrawal, and social distance. Many of us spent more time than we thought we would this year staying home. Avoiding crowds. Retreating from friends, family, and social gatherings. During the pandemic, the idea of “retreat” has taken on a new meaning, one which is a far cry from the kind of spiritual retreats that have defined my ministry over the past 13 years.  

The Omicron variant once again threatens to plunge us into isolation and quarantine. My husband and I have made the decision to hunker down as best we can for the next few weeks until this new (and hopefully final!) surge passes. But that doesn’t mean our time of retreat can’t also be a welcome sanctuary or a time of fruitful solitude. For today’s reflection, I would like to reclaim the idea of “retreat” as a spiritual practice—a way to grow closer to God, to deepen our faith, and to feel alive in the Spirit.

What does it mean to retreat with the Lord? Contrary to the effects of isolation and solitude, when you spiritually retreat, you aren’t bored and alone. You’re spending wondrous and meaningful time with your Creator. You aren’t hiding away from things that frighten you. You’re reaching out to a loving God who is waiting for you. You aren’t wasting precious time, longing for the day you can be free of this isolation. You’re spending precious moments with the One who chooses you, blesses you, and calls you to a life full of promise. When you retreat with the Lord, you are creating a spiritual practice that is rich and alive and full of hope. 

A retreat is an opportunity to come away to a safe, sacred space to reflect on your relationship with your Loving Creator. To listen for the still, small voice of God. To welcome the Lord into every moment of your life. Refreshed and renewed by God’s gentle grace, you will leave a time of retreat affirmed by God’s unconditional love, ready to continue your faith journey and to answer the call of God, wherever it may lead.

I usually recommend going away to attend a retreat—for a weekend, an afternoon, or even an hour-long program at your church or local retreat center. It makes such a difference to go away to another place, where you can open yourself to God’s whispers without the distractions of all that you leave behind. But we’ve learned from the pandemic that this isn’t always possible. And so I want you to know that it can be just as meaningful to engage in a spiritual retreat in the comfort (and safety!) of your own home. Watching a short YouTube video on a spiritual topic can be a retreat. Spending intentional time in prayer or reflection can be a retreat. Taking a walk in the woods can be a retreat. Even reading this blog post can be a retreat!

So I invite you to join me these next few weeks—whether you have chosen to stick close to home or not—to make January a time of retreating with the Lord. Let this be a time of searching and deep contemplation. Allow your soul to become a sanctuary where God’s love dwells and abides. Let your spirit respond to the spark of creation and mystery.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when doing this:

RETREAT WITH INTENTION

Set aside time for your retreat practice. Make it a sacred promise. Choose a regular day that you can devote to spending some much-needed time with the Lord. Be faithful to that time.

SET THE SCENE OR CREATE A RITUAL 

Make your retreat time different from your “usual” time of being home on your own. Use candles, music, or other sensory rich practices to bring you away from your daily activities into this rich and sacred time with God.

BEGIN WITH A PRAYER

Dear Lord, as I enter into this sacred time, may I feel surrounded by your loving presence. In the quiet stillness may I hear You speak to me. In Your loving embrace, may I be restored.

REFLECT ON YOUR POST-RETREAT INSIGHTS

Keep a journal to jot down any thoughts or inspirations that came to you during your retreat. Or call a friend or family member and share your insights with them. Look for patterns or recurring themes in your notes. That is what God most wants you to hear!

As your spiritual practice takes root in your heart, it’s my hope that you can reclaim the idea of “retreat” as a positive practice and not a lonely necessity. Let this first month of the New Year be filled with hope, possibility, and wonder.

​​Background photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

An Advent Prayer

Loving God, 
as we draw closer to that Holy Night 
The night of our Savior’s birth
We are filled with questions: 
Why did you come?
What did you come here to do? 
What does your coming mean for us today?

You came to serve. To feed the hungry. To heal the sick. 
To humble yourself to serve the very least of us.
Come, Lord Jesus! Help us remember that by serving 
Our brothers and sisters, we are serving you.
Teach us to use our talents and strengths 
To help those most in need
This season and all seasons

You came to comfort and to give rest to the weary.
To carry our burdens and give us peace from worry and fear.
Come, Lord Jesus! May our homes, our hearts
And our very presence offer comfort to those 
Who are worn out and stretched thin. 
May we offer them a kind word, a soft smile, 
And a warm heart.

You came to show mercy. To teach us to 
Forgive as we have been forgiven.
Come, Lord Jesus! May your radical mercy show us 
How to soften our hearts to those who have caused us hurt. 
Teach us by your example to forgive 
Even the deepest wounds
And to set ourselves free.

Above all, You came to love 
and to teach us how to love.
This Great Commandment gives us everything we could ever need.
Come, Lord Jesus! By your example, 
May we hold one another close this Christmas season.  
Close in our thoughts, in our hearts, in our words, and in our deeds. 
May we love by your example.
Come, Lord Jesus! AMEN.

Hearing God’s Whisper ministry wishes you a very Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year!

Mary and the Advent Story

The Advent story is full of rich and dramatic events, culminating in the birth of our Savior. For me, one of the most powerful ones is the angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary in Luke’s Gospel.

God chooses Mary and comes to her with an invitation—to bring Christ into the world. Mary’s response to this invitation is life-changing and world-changing. It’s impossible to overstate how huge this moment was. EVERYTHING, the very salvation of the world, hinged upon her response.

There is a tendency to believe that Mary didn’t really have a choice in the matter. That Gabriel came—not to ask her a question—but to tell her what was to be. To tell her what her destiny was to be. The problem with this interpretation is that it takes away any agency from Mary and misreads the moment as a passive one, as if Mary were simply swept along into God’s plans, without the opportunity to make her own choice. Without the chance to say “yes.”  

And so it’s worth spending a little time exploring the other possibility: Could Mary have said “no” to God?  Did Mary have free will in this situation?

From the very beginning of God’s interaction with the human race, our free will has always been respected. From the moment we were created, we have been free to make our own choices. Why wouldn’t the same be true for Mary? Which means she wasn’t programmed to say yes, like a robot, or coerced into saying yes, like a soldier obeying an order from a commanding officer. This wasn’t like the scene from the Godfather: “I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse.” But instead, through the angel Gabriel, God was issuing Mary an invitation. How she responded was entirely up to her. Knowing that fact…doesn’t it make her answer that much more powerful?  In the words of poet and author Christine Valters Paintner:

“When the angel Gabriel visits Mary, she is given a choice rather than a demand. Mary is active in her “yes” to the angel’s invitation as well as in her surrender: “Let it be done to me.” God’s unfolding of salvation is dependent upon Mary’s full ‘yes.’”

So what characteristics did Mary possess that allowed her to say yes? Mary was open to God’s plans for her life. She was willing to trust God. As scary as the prospect of bearing a child under such circumstances might have been, Mary trusted that this was the path God had chosen for her. And she was willing to surrender her own plans to answer God’s call. 

How often do we do this? It is so easy to stubbornly cling to our own plans even when we feel God nudging us in a different direction. Remember…we were born with the same free will that Mary was. Our choices are ours to make. God can only invite us to follow. Can we trust enough to be open to the mystery of God’s plans for our lives? 

Our answer to God is always a choice. Mary was asked to bring Christ into the world, and she answered yes. As Christians, we are asked to do that very same thing. Not in the same way that Mary did, but in the way we live our lives. In the way we interact with others. In the words we speak. In the deeds we do. What will our answer be?

Background photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash

Let God Be Loud in Your Life

I spend a lot of time writing about God’s “whispers” and how it isn’t always easy to hear what God is speaking to our hearts. During this Advent season, I’d like to expand on that notion by looking at the ways we can let God be LOUD in our lives. 

I believe that God’s voice is a constant. Always there. Always speaking to us. Never fluctuating or changing. If that’s the case, why does God’s voice seem so quiet sometimes, and other times calls to us through a megaphone? Perhaps it’s the volume of everything else in our world that affects our ability to hear God. So if you would like God to be louder in your life, spend some time thinking about what is drowning God’s voice out.

We’re exposed to a lot of noise in our life, but we have some choice in the degree to which we tune in. Lots of things demand our attention, but we don’t always have to give in to those demands. Take some time this week to make a list of all the things that you are listening to these days. Some by choice, some by habit, some by non-choice. How do each of these things make you feel? Which of these things draw you closer to God, and which of them pull you further away? 

For example, you might listen to a certain person on the news or the radio, and they leave you feeling angry or hopeless. Or maybe you have an acquaintance who is always critical and leaves you feeling down. We were created to live in harmony with God’s loving plans for us. Might I encourage you to turn down the volume of anything that clashes with that harmony? 

Taking it one step further, there may be some “noise” in your life that you want to mute altogether—those things (or people) that make it almost impossible for you to focus on the voice of God. Picture yourself holding a remote control with a mute button. Do you have the ability to silence the voices that don’t serve you? I spend a lot of time on Twitter, and there are some accounts that are very bleak and fear-mongering. Once I figured out how to mute those accounts, my Twitter timeline became much more enjoyable. Would it help you to go on a news or social media diet—or even a blackout? Or maybe you need to take a long, hard look at some toxic relationships in your life.

As you begin to lower the volume of this noise in your life, an amazing thing will begin to happen. God’s voice will automatically become louder.  All the other “stuff” you’ve been focusing on will fade away, and the messages from God (through Scripture, through the Advent story, and through your daily encounters with Jesus) will increase, filling your ears and your heart.

And if you want to crank up that volume even more? Incorporate some spiritual practices into your daily life that will continue to bring God’s voice to the forefront…loud and clear!

PRAYER: What better way to achieve this than to talk to God in prayer? Think of your day as an ongoing loving conversation with your Creator. Speak what is in your heart and be open to what you are hearing in response.

STILLNESS: 16th century mystic John of the Cross once wrote: “Silence is God’s first language.” Silence is our gift to God. A “sacred pause.” A time to stop what we’re doing and listen. To soak in God’s presence and allow ourselves to be filled up.

AWARENESS: We hear God with our hearts, through an unshakable awareness that Jesus walks with us through all that we see, and do, and experience. Focus on what matters most in your life. Feel gratitude and love dwelling in your heart. That’s where God lives. 

My prayer for you this Advent season is that you will open your heart to God’s voice and let that voice be LOUD, like the chorus of heavenly hosts singing with the angels: Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all people on earth!

Background photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash

Coming Back From a Spiritual Dry Spell

How is it possible I haven’t posted on this blog in over six months?! I had the best of intentions and lots of half-formed reflections that just never made it onto the page. I kept telling myself I would work on something next week or the week after…or the week after. Isn’t that how most people fall into creative ruts or writer’s block? And isn’t it possible that the same sense of drifting can happen in our spiritual lives?

Drifting away from God is easier than you might think. Slipping into a spiritual dry spell can happen so gradually that before you know it you’re in the middle of the desert without a drop of water in sight! It isn’t anything we do on purpose, and sometimes we don’t stop long enough to realize what’s happened. We just wake up one day and realize that our connection to God—the divine thread that ties us to our loving Creator—feels old and faded and brittle. Do any of the following words accurately describe your spiritual life right now?

DRIED-UP •  BRITTLE • WILTED  • STALE • BARREN

It’s perfectly normal to go through dry times in your faith life. We all experience days in the desert. Sometimes days turn into weeks and months. But that doesn’t have to be the end of your story! Let me share with you a story of hope. 

Over a year ago now, my husband and I took up kiddie-pool gardening as a “pandemic project.”  Basically, we planted assorted vegetables and herbs in a soil-filled kiddie pool on our back porch. Amazingly, we had some success, and we got such a thrill from eating salads made with our own cucumbers or eating margherita pizza made with our own basil and tomatoes, that we decided to give it a go again this summer. But this year, we diversified beyond cucumbers and tomatoes, thanks to my husband’s co-worker Bill, who gave us some small eggplant seedlings. 

Unfortunately, due to a bunch of factors—including a big family trip in June and a ridiculously long stretch of rain in July—we didn’t even get around to buying the soil for the kiddie pool until mid-July, let alone planting anything. That meant those eggplant seedlings—the generous gift from Bill—just sat in the garage, essentially abandoned, for a month. 

When we were finally ready to plant, Mark brought out the dried-up eggplant sprouts. I shook my head. They were shriveled and withered, and didn’t look at all viable. When I plucked them out of their plastic containers, the soil around the roots crumbled away in my hands. I thought we should just toss them and cut our losses, but Mark wasn’t ready to give up. Instead, he planted the eggplant, even though we had such little confidence those seedlings would grow, we didn’t even grant them a spot in the kiddie pool; instead, we relegated them to a big pot next to the pool. 

“Let’s just water it and see what happens,” Mark said. For a long time, exactly nothing happened. Then—much to my astonishment—the green sprouts began to grow. Taller and fuller. Healthy and lush. And one day in early August I came out to the deck and found this.

small eggplants growing

The eggplants grew and grew until they were big enough to pick and bake. I enjoyed the best-tasting eggplant parmigiana I’ve ever had. What I thought were dead plants came back to life and fed and sustained and brought joy.

So what appeared to be dried up and withered, was actually only dormant…lying asleep, waiting for the right moment to wake up and sprout and grow.

Instead of viewing your spiritual life as something dead and brittle, try to view it as temporarily asleep, anticipating that gentle nudge from a loving God who is waiting for you. God provides the water and sunshine, and you do the growing. Just let it happen. 

Feel God’s presence. 
Bask in the warm rays of the sun. 
Soak up the quenching rain. 

Don’t focus on doing the “hard work” of getting back in touch with God. That’s not the work of the desert. Start by simply letting yourself grow in awareness. In every living thing you encounter, God is there. God is alive! With you. Surrounding you. Sit with that feeling for a few minutes, and then more and more each day. You will find your dried up roots begin to stretch and strengthen. To dig deep into the soil, searching for new life. 

You may have drifted away from God for a time, but it has only ever been temporary.

Photo by laura adai on Unsplash