MEET MARILYN

Marilyn is impassioned about sharing Jesus to those she encounters every day and abroad. She has over 35 years of philanthropic and board work and has spent countless hours working with Northwest Medical Teams Inc (later to become Medical Teams Int.).

TAKING TIME TO BE (W)HOLY

Raise your hand if you find yourself running throughout the day with commitments, duties, distractions, errands, devoirs, engagements, projects, etc. My hand is raised… So there we are filling our days with doing and more doing! There are consequences to this lifestyle, but by God’s grace, there is another direction to live in the state of repose.

We need to carve out time for “me” — a clean sweep of your soul, with something remaining, fully experiencing God’s presence, just for this moment with God’s Spirit and the fullness thereof, thereupon. Being whole takes time and commitment to be in the presence of God and at peace, quiet enough to hear God speak to you. This takes TIME! You must ask yourself: “What do I want to invest in?” Whatever gets your attention, gets you!

We also can’t ignore the Spirit aspect of the Trinity. In quiet we listen to God. We can take one of two paths, either the path of busyness, anxiety, and an overwhelmed mind or the path of calmness, lack of distraction, and resting in God’s loving arms.

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with words. I love reading, writing, and exploring the origin and meaning of words. I’m like the character in one of my favorite children’s books, The Word Collector, by Peter F. Reynolds. In this darling story, a little boy has a collection of words. He writes them down, pastes them in scrapbooks, organizes and pairs them in interesting ways, and uses them to write songs and poems. He finds joy in sharing his words with others, which is one of my favorite things to do, too.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Psalms 46:10

Start with a centering prayer. One of my favorites is: Breathe in as God speaks, “I love you” and exhale as you say, “I love you.” Get into a rhythm; you may experience an unfolding of feelings. God is near. Write down what you hear. Where do you need to focus? Listen. Pay attention. Take notice. TRUST!

It’s sacred going into a centering place. Stop. I have more time. Continue. Runners get a high, a second wind. It is the same with centering prayer. Stay with it. Things become clear. We don’t know of what we are capable — a true spirit of awareness.

The book The Way of The Heart by Henri Nouwen is transforming. It is rich! “Solitude, silence and prayer,” he writes, come “from what I am feeling,” a byproduct of the unloading of the unconscious reveals itself.

"In him we live and move and have our being."

Acts 17:28

With my defenses down, centering myself and focusing my attention and energy on God, He leads me to deep places where I am more present to the Lord and to self. Leftover problems and pain trickle out. To feel in the presence of God and the love He poured out for us is the only antidote there is to death, isolation, aloneness, meaninglessness, and guilt. Our one sin is that we forget God loves us.

The acknowledgment of Christ in us is key—live from that place and not your own power, resting in God’s love. We are His BELOVED!

The Dark Night of the Soul
St John Of the Cross

On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!–
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.

In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!–
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.

In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart.

This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me–
A place where none appeared.

Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

Upon my flowery breast,
Kept wholly for himself alone,
There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

The breeze blew from the turret
As I parted his locks;
With his gentle hand he wounded my neck
And caused all my senses to be suspended.

I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

Written by Marilyn Smith for The Anchor Journal

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