Playdates with God: On Being Formed

On Friday night we talk about the history of the word “spiritual” in the Presbyterian tradition and why it started with a bad rap. Our instructor is very tall and she has back problems, so she keeps lifting one leg up on a chair and leaning down with her elbow on that knee. She is an elegant crane but I feel bad for her the whole time. She has us open class with a full body prayer and my heart lifts with my hands as I reach up to what means the most.
We are learning about spiritual formation and I think it’s my favorite class yet in these two years of learning. She uses poetry from Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver to make her points and more than once my smile extends all the way to my heart.
We close Friday evening with an evening prayer practice and it is like a warm glass of milk. I am happy.
Saturday morning we arrive with shiny faces and the lecture begins anew. We listen about Lectio Divina, Sabbath Keeping, Discernment and Examen, among others. We do a Lectio Divina exercise on a poem by Judy Brown. “Fire” it is called. And I am burning.
John Calvin calls God the searcher of hearts, and I feel His hands smoothing out the walls of mine as I sit with my classmates in rapt attention.
O Holy Spirit…Come,we pray together.
To enlighten our minds,
Touch our hearts,
And deepen our desires…
And my desires are deepened. My life is a prayer.
Sit and be still
until in the time
of no rain you hear
beneath the dry wind’s
commotion in the trees
the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,
a stream unheard before,
and you are where
breathing is prayer.  (Wendell Berry, Given: Poems)

How about you? How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.

Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also:

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  1. says

    What a beautiful poem! “Hannah Coulter” is on my mp3 player for as soon as I finish my current listen. I’ve heard so much about Wendell Berry and am looking forward to experiencing his voice for myself. This is a perfect appetizer.

    The photo fits just right with the post and title, too.

    Grace and peace to you in Jesus. May God fulfill your desire to be (con)formed to His likeness.

  2. says

    Hi Laura =)

    my smile extendes all the way to my heart….
    i truly love how you do that.

    My two closest friends are spiritual directors and I was their primary beneficiary (read very blessed and favored guinea pig) as they went through training and now, beyond. I am happy for you to be on this journey. I know God is and will continue to bless/use you through this. Wonderful!

  3. says

    What a gentle and lovely photo. Thanks for your thoughts about prayer and spiritual growth. It’s always beautiful when someone takes the time and effort to cultivate the deeps of their life in God!

    May the Lord encourage you each new day. The Bible says “the steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord,” and that goes for a woman, too! I trust him to guide you into himself, so you will know that you know you have entered into his will for your life.

  4. says

    Would have loved to have been part of the discussion about how “spiritual” got such a bad rap. I’ve been thinking the same thing about “mystery.”

  5. says

    “My desires are deepened. My life is a prayer.”

    I had a playdate with God Sunday afternoon with friends from church. They came over for a Joy Jam–we each shared an object that represents joy to us and chose a song of joyful praise to sing with everyone.

  6. says

    You have brought us into a spirit of gentleness with just a few words. I’m sure that each of us has copied and pasted the exquisite Berry. Beautiful, Laura.

  7. says

    That sounds like a wonderful class. The poetry and prayer and practices, what a soothing combination. Blessings on your journey with it all.

  8. says

    Laura – this is beautiful. Berry’s poem at the end pierced straight through – after walking in a desert place for months I can hear the water. Thanks so much. Blessings to you and thanks for your sweet words at my place.

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