"I am calling up memories of your sincere and unqualified faith, the leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness. A faith that first lived permanently in the heart of your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am fully persuaded dwells in you also."
II Timothy 1: 5, Amplified Bible
"Spiritual" - The sacred gift of God. Consecration and dedication of the heart to God.
Have I made a personal commitment to opening my heart to God and becoming His?
Claim My Heart
"Claim Thou my heart,
Fill Thou my mind,
Uplift my soul and
Reinforce my strength,
That when I fail, Thou
Mayest succeed in me
And make me love Thee, perfectly."
"Do not lose heart in pursuing your spiritual life."
Thomas a Kempis
In the 1950's my grandparents built an extremely rustic cabin in the woods in the mountains of Arizona. Surrounded by tall pines, this small hideaway initially served as a retreat for some of my grandfather's patients who had chronic illnesses and needed a place to heal. But, the three room and one tiny bathroom cabin soon took on a larger function - one that applies to our entire family.
I don't know if it is the high mountain altitude or the fresh pine air, but somehow, while I sit on the porch at the cabin, listening to the wind whisper through the tops of the pine trees, and watching the squirrels dash under my feet for peanuts - I have repeatedly, through the years, come away with a spiritual clarity unseen during the hustle and bustle of my daily life.
Perhaps this is why, a number of years ago, my mother suggested she bring my elderly grandmother along with my sister and her two daughters and me, and we would gather together annually in June for a week at the cabin. Last year, my oldest niece brought her two children along, making it six generations of women in our family who have found a sacred haven in this simple, wood dwelling far from the city. (My great-grandmother was the first woman of our family to enjoy this cabin!)
I've taken time to describe this annual retreat together because this tradition is just one of the building blocks that has been the foundation of my spiritual life, handed down to me by the women in my family. I am so thankful that the cultivation and growth of the deeper areas of my heart were gifts that my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother chose to pass on one to another.
As I sat on the cabin porch several weeks ago, talking with my youngest niece Bethanie until nearly midnight, my mind went back to the times in my own life when I was struggling to find solid footing, often grabbing for those transient things in life that didn't feed my soul and gave me only fleeting pleasure. Yet, by just listening to me and accepting me, while also guiding and praying for me, whether it was my grandmother or mother, both women of faith and spiritual torch carriers, their support has helped light my way and in quiet sacredness guided me on God's pathway - even when I could not see clearly.
As we have looked at the "essential gifts" God has bestowed on women, we find they are gifts that are qualities which empower us to be ALL God wants us to be. And as I shared with you, when we are ALL God want us to be, we are able to fulfill the special purpose He has for each of us - individually.
Our devotional today began with a text where the Apostle Paul, writing to young Timothy, a boy whom Paul treated as his own son, reminds this young man of the heritage he has been given by the spiritual women in his life - his grandmother and mother. These two ladies, living in a time of very corrupt political rule and with very little spiritual encouragement - chose to be women of deep sacred fiber! To their core - they decided to cultivate lives for God. And these lives became a river flowing from one generation to another - refreshing one person to the next.
As I have witnessed in my own life the blessing of having a river of refreshment renew my own soul - I have purposed that I will cherish this gift but that I will not hold it tightly in my hand.
From the emails I receive everyday I know how many of you are doing the very same thing by committing yourselves to cultivating the spiritual in your own lives. And then you are passing it on by giving this great gift to your family, your children, your friends, your neighbors and all the other individuals God sends to you for refreshment from the river of life that flows out of your heart each day.
"Take my will, and make it Thine,
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself, and I will be,
Ever, only, All for Thee."
Frances R. Havergal
I Do Not Live Alone
"Make me Thy captive even as the raging sea.
What if my waves are restless like its own,
Forever pounding an unchanging shore,
Forever bounded yet forever free?
I live, and yet I do not live alone,
I live and ever love Thee more and more.
Thou, Who didst bid the raging waves be still,
Speak to my heart and bind me to Thy will.
Free me from all that holds me fast to earth,
Those false entanglements that lure me back
From the divine captivity of Thy will.
Those fleshly pleasures that even from my birth
Clung to my life and made my will grow slack.
Make me Thy captive.
And lift me as a wave upon the sea
That I, Thy prisoner, may at last be free."
Sister Catherine Louise
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.