black and white birches

Finding God: A Monthly Practice

Welcome! We’ve come to the edge of a month’s passing and another’s beginning. I love the opportunity of these liminal, edge spaces to pause and notice my soul’s bearings and look for how God showed up in my life. In my monthly-ish email, I offered these questions to reflect on:

Where did you experience light?

Where did you experience dark?

What did you do in them? How is God inviting you to notice him in them?

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This post offers more detail on my why, my how and my discoveries, as a way to invite you to find your rhythm of life with God.

Why am I doing this?

I’m trying to build in a seasonal, perhaps monthly, habit of reflection with God–an examen of sorts. I’ve wanted to glean more of the goodness that God embeds in my days, to grow through the process of discovery and faithfulness, and to tend my wounds with him, and this is a way to do so. I’ve done this as an annual practice, which is hugely beneficial. I’m working off of Emily P. Freeman’s offering of her seasonal practice through her “What I Learned” invitations.

What I did

I set aside an hour and a bit and welcomed God, settling myself into his presence. Then I thought back over March—easily remembering the special moments, also jotting down my current physical and emotional responses as I remembered them. I saw first the “light”—excellent cheese and wine with my husband after difficulties getting our kitchen renovation completed, the humor of the kitten finding its new perch on the top cabinets to survey us, the delight of reading a favorite book again. I recalled words that had resonated with me (and still are) from friends, podcasts, reading, media, etc. I didn’t try to find them to take an inventory, but allowed them to surface, trusting the Spirit was lifting them to my consciousness. Then I noticed a theme strung them together, like strung lights on an electrical cord over the patio, embracing the space of the month in a loose boundary, exuding a glow over the gathering place.

What I noticed

Though these bits of light were easy to spot, this was because the backdrop of March was black. I’m living through the veil of grief over my brother’s death in January, and this distinctly shapes all my experience and noticing. The darkness is always present, like night has fallen. A lot of my faithfulness this month has been to enter and rest in this night, to trust it’s embrace is not a cruel one but one that will heal me if I participate with its pull to lay down and be vulnerable. So, I’ve said yes to restorative yoga, to reading Prayer in the Night, to Wednesday morning Lenten “indignant” fasting and praying where I specifically lament and grieve with God. And I’ve discovered through this that the darkness, though piercing initially, changes into a velvety sorrow, a being-with, a place of nurturance.

There’s been a balance, the tending in the darkness has sustained me much like protein does the body–giving energy over the long-haul–and delighting in the lighter places has lifted me like natural sugars do–a welcome, and needed, rise, but in and of themselves are not enough to keep going. Together, they fuel growth, connection, and a full life. How appropriate that this lesson should be impressed on me by the Spirit during the month in which the light and dark times balance on the Spring equinox!

I invite you to try this practice with me, and find God in your months and moments!

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