Photo by Flickr (Rhino Neal)
When my husband and I moved into our home years ago, it was in need of fresh paint and repair. The garage was dark and dingy, but it wasn’t on our “to do” list right away. It was covered with greasy fingerprints, holes that needed patching, and nails randomly protruding from the walls. It had been neglected.
Last week we decided it was finally time to renovate the garage. God’s presence is everywhere—at a busy office, on an airplane, and even in a dingy garage. Barbara Brown Taylor says it well:
“Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.”
As we spackled, I noticed God’s presence as I looked at the holes to be patched. They reminded me of the pockets of empty space in my soul that God alone fills. Being with God restores me in those deep places.
We pulled some nails and left others, knowing they would be useful for hanging supplies. The nails symbolized the truths I learned about myself from challenging life experiences. I don’t hold the pain any longer, but I do hold onto the truths I learned from them. They were transforming and are a gift to others.
With just a few strokes from the paint rollers, the clean, fresh paint showed a beautiful white canvas.
Life is always full of new beginnings, some small and some significant. What wonderful surprises will this day bring?
Prayer, opening ourselves deeply to the One who first loved us, is experienced through our senses. God invites us to connect with something inside us or outside us that is happening at the moment. Moses saw the burning bush, but first he had to stop, turn, and look. When we stop and pay attention, our awareness is our response to the invitation. Each moment of awareness opens us to God, and it is a gift.
Just like fresh paint and brushes, there are a few spiritual tools that can open us to the presence of God.
- Daily Review – Stop and take a moment to examine the previous day. Ask God to lead the search for His presence and your response. You may see God’s goodness shown through an unexpected email or conversation just when you needed it the most.
- Prayer – Be still and ask God to show you how to slow down to pay attention to the mystery of life that is hidden below the surface.
- Retreat – Taking a retreat is an intentional way to bring your life before God. It provides time for discernment and rest, and will help you reengage with others with renewed energy and purpose. If pulling away is difficult, start with a half-day retreat.
God longs to fill the empty spaces in our souls, and every day is a new beginning. Look for the burning bushes. They will lead you and those who follow you on an amazing journey with the presence of God guiding the way.
“You who are beyond what I can see, teach me to pray. Help me to see your hand and sense your presence wherever I look. Let me approach the ordinary and the commonplace with hope, knowing that what I see need never be all I get, that mystery is there if only I will look beyond what I can see. You who are beyond mystery, hear my prayer.”
– Silent Hope by John Kirvan
About Joann Blewett
Joann Blewett helps others discern God’s presence and grace in daily life experiences as a Spiritual Director. Spiritual Direction is a contemplative, one-on-one relationship based on God-centered conversation. This is done through attentive listening, asking spiritually formative questions, and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Joann holds a Masters Specialization in Spiritual Transformation from Northern Seminary and completed a two-year Spiritual Direction program at Kavanna House. She is a member of Spiritual Directors International.
Previously, Joann was the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna, a nonprofit organization in Bel Air, Maryland, for ten years. She is a graduate of the University of Baltimore (B.A.), is married, and is the mother of three young adults.
I welcome your comments on this post and am open to any thoughts you may have that I can address for a future blog. Please feel free to send your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.