Who Am I?
Updated: Oct 23, 2021
I want to give you some context for the offerings here. So let me tell you a little about myself. God's design of me, my redemption, and my journey with God has directly shaped the work God has called to engage. The spiritual direction and prayer retreats I offer, the images I create, and the reflections I write are shaped by my story and by God's invitation to partner with Him in His work and purposes.
So—I am an introvert, creative, big picture thinker. I was single for the first decade of my adult life and married my husband, Mark, in my early thirties. He is different from me in every way, just as orange differs from blue. I have two teenage daughters. They are a delight and a challenge... and I believe that is how it is supposed to be. I appreciate a slower pace of life, exploring possibilities, and diving deep in a conversation (sometimes my husband and girls lament that floaties are needed because conversation always ends up in the deep end of the pool). I enjoy reading, sharing coffee or a walk with a friend, and discovering hand thrown pottery at the local thrift store. I confess I do not like to cook, but I brew a good cup of coffee and so does my husband.
I highly value relationships, and although I dislike conflict I will engage whole-heartedly and pursue resolution with tenacity. It fascinates me how God designed us to grow, heal, and become whole—most of my reading, learning, and teaching focuses here. Ruth Haley Barton, Curt Thompson, Eugene Peterson, M. Robert Mulholland, Jr, A.W. Tozer, and Sharon Garlough Brown are some of my favorite authors.
Mt. Gilead summer camp is a place I learned a lot about worship, service, and community, the body of Christ in my late teens and early twenties. I also learned leather tooling at summer camp and still love the craft. I like change (moving the furniture around in our home offers a new perspective). In contrast to all the things I do not know, I am deeply confident in God's love for me and for you.
My calling is to shepherd God's people. Although I have always tended towards roles where I care for others, particularly soul care, God has clarified my calling in the last decade. As a spiritual director, I companion others in their walk with God, and I teach about prayer, spiritual formation, and ways to attend to our hearts. In essence, prayer is how we engage with God: listening and offering our hearts. I am a companion and guide on the spiritual journey: individually, for groups, and through retreats. Finally, I create images that reflect on our relationship and experiences with God. As seen in Scripture, images and metaphors provide a way to broaden and deepen our understanding of truth.
In early 2009 God began stirring my heart. I sensed God’s invitation to pay attention and take some concrete steps of preparation for the next season, but I did not know where God was leading. At that time, I was mom of two little girls and coordinator of the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) program at our church. I had some unique experiences and credentials in my story (counselor at a Christian residential care program for teens that focused on spiritual formation and a master of divinity from Biblical Seminary) and a passion for intimacy with God. I longed for others to experience God’s love and the adventure of walking with Him whole-heartedly.
As the summer of 2009 approached God led me to pursue spiritual direction training. Honestly, at that time I could not have even clearly defined spiritual direction as it was not a part of my church culture or tradition. But God was up to something in my life, and I knew it. So I was ready to take a step of faith. Little did I know how well this ministry and calling would fit my meandering story, quirky skill set, and the passions of my heart that so often had seemed random and disjointed. I wrote about this season in my devotional book, Journey to Become, in 2013.
My spiritual direction training was invaluable in expanding and focusing skills of attentive listening. I was also exposed to a broader understanding of spiritual practices and the ways we experience God. Part of my journey as a spiritual director has involved integrating the strong biblical foundation of my conservative church tradition and seminary education with a deepening understanding of how God's people experience those truths and the Spirit of God.
God is our source of life, but we can get caught in a belief system that is limited to cognitive head knowledge (like the Pharisees in Jesus time). In contrast, as Jesus taught, truth is to be experienced and understood with the head and heart by the Spirit's revelation and integrated through an ongoing renewal of the whole person (a life long journey).
Truth is to lead us to a life with God. Redemption, healing, and hope are found in the transforming work of the Spirit of God. I remain conservative in my theology, committed to a biblical foundation of Christian faith rooted in the love of the Triune God displayed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God.
Spiritual direction is a ministry where I come alongside of another and companion them in their life's journey with God. It is not a directive ministry. It is more accurately a ministry of prayer where I sit with those I companion, and we attend to God together. I ask reflective questions, offer tools and resources, and maybe a little teaching, but God is the director. Spiritual direction is a particularly valuable tool for soul stewardship for those in leadership or ministry.
Life is full, complex, and fraught with good and evil. Jesus would intermittently pull away from the crowds to rest, to be with his disciples, or to be alone with God. We can learn from the rhythms of the God-man. Retreating, individually or in community, is one way to make space for intentional renewal. I offer retreats to create space designed for us to attend to God and to our own hearts for rest, repentance, and renewal.