On Wednesdays guest writers are raising their voices. Julie Dibble writes beautifully both about her entry into and struggle with fitting the mold of the online writing world but also about hearing God's voice. Her piece is a reminder of the power of God's word and the way it breaks into our lives. Please welcome Julie's words in this space. - Nicole
I am full of words. As a young girl, I wanted to be an author. Eagerly, I wrote and illustrated my own fiction. I remember one story about a lion that had no mane that I dreamed of publishing. As I got older, I placed words into poems and began to journal. By the hands that created me, I am blessed with the ability to decorate this life with glorious words.
My surprise was small when God called me to speak and write for Him. Rather, I strongly felt He had prepared me for such a task throughout my life. Humbled, I sought to accurately represent Holy Perfection.
Upon initiating myself into the professional writing world last year, the word requirements seemed low and less than what is comfortable for me. Blog posts are written as if the writer is speaking, so long, lofty sentences are not welcome. Twitter has a cut-off for not only words but also characters, inherently limiting the ability to ramble. Quickly, I realized with the absolute flood of information that exists online, brevity increases a writer’s visibility.
Here I am to state my case in the midst of this fast, busy, changeable world. Despite what we choose to keep to ourselves, God is omniscient. He knows all. Without sharing our thoughts, He hears them. Without baring our emotion, He feels it.
God responded to my mental objection…stumbling in the process of proclaiming His presence with words. God noticed my heart was less than pure. Feeling frustrated, I struggled with the need to cut entire details out of a story written for His glory, in order for it to be accepted.
God told me one night during a one-eye-opening-to-see-what-time-it-is awakening: power of prayer, power of prayer, power of prayer. Not audibly, but clear as day in my sleepy mind, God gave me these three words and repeated them three times. If I posted just those three words on Twitter, one or two people may stop scrolling and wonder about my purpose. Continue Reading
It’s a running joke in my office that I am always hurrying everywhere. My co-workers are not surprised to see me barefoot (shoes just slow me down) jogging between my office and the print room. Two small children make it difficult to slow down at home either. Sure, I am still for hours in front of a computer every day.
But real stillness of the heart and mind also? I admit I don’t find much time for that. But, oh, how I crave it!
My sister, mom and I talked for years about carving out the time to go on a retreat at a local monastery we love to visit. We finally went to sign up for it and I will never forget the look of disbelief on my mom’s face when they told her that silence was required in the dining room and living quarters! She looked at me and said, “What have you gotten me into?”
Silence and stillness are not things that come easily to us, especially in our super-charged culture. But God knows how much we need it and commands in Psalm 46.10 to “Be still and know that [He] is God.” The New American Standard version of this verse tells us to “cease striving.”
By nature, I am a doer but my heart is revived when I am still. As the busyness of the holiday season rolls around each year I find myself looking forward to my New Years ritual with increasing intensity. After Christmas it is like an itch under my skin, pulling at my harried heart and telling me that I need to slow down.
I go to that monastery and sit for hours in the abbey reflecting on the year past, dreaming about what is to come. I pray and journal, enjoy the stillness and time for reflection. The place itself is quiet but it is the attitude of my heart that I can find in that place that I crave.
As much as I love those days of stillness, it is not something I am good at infusing into my every day life. I want to learn to bring the abbey into my living room. My heart can’t function with a still day once a year, a retreat when I can make the time.
“The stillness in which we find God is not superficial,” says Elisabeth Elliot, “a mere absence of fidgeting or talking. It is a deliberate and quiet attentiveness – receptive, alert, ready. I think of what Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: ‘ Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation to be the will of God.”
Deliberate. Stillness is something we must train ourselves to do, that our busy hearts must learn.
I am sure you will see me barefoot and running through the halls tomorrow. But I am hoping you might also see me still sometimes - knowing, expecting, ceasing to strive.
Thank you for joining me in this journey towards keeping a quiet heart. As we head into the final week, I want to give away a copy of the book that God used to prompt me to seek hard after the qualities of a quiet heart. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and a winner will be chosen at random on November 1 to receive Elisabeth Elliot's Keep a Quiet Heart.
After another packed day Tuesday in Jerusalem in which Jesus confronted religious leaders, taught about the End times , spoke of his death and His return at the second coming, we hear nothing from Scripture about Wednesday. We can only guess what Jesus and His disciples did that day. Did they prepare for the Passover? Did Jesus continue to teach? My thought is that after the exhaustion of the previous days and before the trying days ahead, they retreated to Bethany to rest. To pray. To spend time at the feet of the One who would soon wash their feet.
Today the temple where Jesus spent much of His last week no longer exists. Pieces of it remain and when you visit Jerusalem no matter the time of day or year, you will see Jews and Christians alike crowded around the wall that remains of the temple. Some are silent, some celebrating the coming of age of young men, some weeping and rocking back and forth in prayer. If you look closely in every crack of the stones and littered across the base of the wall, like the delicate wings of birds flapping in the wind, you will see thousands of pieces of paper. They are names and prayers, placed into the wall, in hopes that God will hear and answer. This wall is the closest the Jewish people of today can get to the Holy of Holies to pray as they are no longer allowed to pray on the temple mount where the Presence of God once resided. People from all over the world venture to this place to speak to God. Sometimes songs rise from the side of the Mount and sometimes the sound of actual cries to God can be heard. Though the temple does not remain, God is not silent. In His Word, in the heart of those who seek Him, He speaks...