“…from the Waiting”
Cheryl Saur, Saint Charles, MO, USA
Spiritual growth can be gradual and hidden…when [it seems] nothing is happening. As a people, we are not comfortable with waiting. We see it as wasted time and try to avoid it, or at least fill it with trivial busyness. We value action for its own sake. Even in retirement, people are expected to be active and boast that they are “busier than ever.” It is hard to trust in the slow work of God. -Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction
After several years of being married, like many couples, Ron and I were hoping to bring our own children into the world. I became so focused on carrying a child and giving birth that everywhere I looked and everything I read was about being pregnant and the process of giving birth. For many years I lamented and cried out to the Lord as to why I could not experience this natural part of life! During this time of searching for answers, God led me to the understanding that the birth process was not about me being pregnant and carrying a child at all! But it was about the life that was to be born from the waiting. A life that must be nurtured, loved, cared for, and taught as the result of the waiting. This was the purpose of that part of the journey.
In her book, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction (ISBN:9781561010561), Margaret Guenther uses the metaphor “spiritual midwifery.” This image really spoke to me during my studies and ministry on my journey as a Spiritual Companion. I began to recognize that my Spiritual Director’s gentle and nurturing guidance was just like that of a spiritual midwife tending me during my spiritual labor. She listened with “holy curiosity” and asked curious questions that encouraged me to discover myself through many different lenses guided by the Spirit. This allowed me to discover a deeper sense of calling and the freedom to more deeply search out the numerous questions, thought processes, and ideas that needed to be birthed for me during my sacred life journey.
The spiritual midwifery image is one that each of us can hold on to during this time of patient and attentive waiting…Advent. Labor is the hard work, care, and attention essential for spiritual formation and giving birth to justice, hope, joy, love, and peace. Why? Because it is not just about me or you. We are all born out of someone else’s time of “waiting.” This is about tending the spark of divine love that God planted deep within the very marrow of every soul…waiting…yearning to be stirred into flame.
As spiritual companions, we must patiently tend each precious spark of love just as a midwife would…to listen, to love, to hope, to encourage, and to wait as this sacred flame bursts into life through the very breath of God. This is our time of holy waiting…Advent. Be ready…trust in the slow work of God.
“Trust what is being born.”
Jesus, the Peaceful One
We have spent this year with a guiding question: Are we moving closer to Jesus, the Peaceful One? As we near the end of this calendar year, we review how this question has been shaping and forming us. In our thoughts, words, and actions, have we been embodying Jesus, the Peaceful One? What might it look like to move closer to Jesus, the Peaceful One as we make space in our lives for Christ incarnate this Advent season?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.