Almost 12 weeks ago I began a journey through a class at our church called the “210 Project”. This course helps people discover their passion and true calling by God. At times it has been somewhat intense, as I have had to document a lot of my life on a timeline and even open up some doors of my past.
During the course we were also asked to take a few hours alone with God. No cell phones, no personal interaction, just conversation with God. I decided on a sweet little place I had heard about nearby called The Knowles Mercy Spirituality Center.
When I arrived, I was welcomed with loving arms and I explained to them why I was there. They gave me a bedroom to use and let me know that for the next 6 hours I wouldn’t be disturbed. You can imagine my shock as I’m used to having my family and animals around me, a cell phone, a TV, dishes, laundry and the desire to sleep when I do have a free moment alone.
It was a rainy day so I couldn’t see a lot of the grounds, but I knew that there were some places outside that God was leading me towards. There was a lake (which is why I chose this location – I love water) and a quaint meditation deck that had a door and windows with a small table and chairs. I brought a blanket, my bible and all of my supplies with me to my new little “spot”.
I sat curled up in a blanket, closed my eyes and just listened. There were beautiful birds chirping and the sound of light rain that began to fall on the roof of the deck. I had a wonderful conversation with God at that point, confessing my sins and telling him things I’ve needed to say out loud for a long time. I cried and begged God to show me He was here, to tap my shoulder or move a chair, but nothing happened.
I decided to walk around the grounds a little bit more, finding a path that led down to the river nearby. As I walked back towards the main building, I saw something that interested me. I saw many small boulders that sat in what looked like a maze. I read that it was something called a Labrynth. According to their website this beautiful area is: “a pathway that assists people in centering themselves, finding balance and wholeness, and in connecting oneself to the spiritual or Divine. It is an ancient tool that is found in a variety of cultures as early as 2500 BC. The patterns used by these early civilizations are very similar. They are all unicursal, that is they move forward by turning equally right and left creating multiple circuits that always lead to the center. In its simple pattern, the labyrinth captures many aspects of life—journey, rhythm, search, discovery, change, trust and our movement inward to sacred space”.
I started down the path and as I walked I thought about my life-all of the good and bad things I’ve been through. I prayed about my family, our health, my friends and the ministry that God has led me to begin. It took me quite a while to get to the center where I felt the most peace. I sat for a few minutes and again, just listened. A bird kept chirping the same pattern over and over again. I began my journey back to the beginning of the Labrynth. This time, my talk with God began by confessing the anger and hate I have in my heart. I don’t want to share details, but there is someone who for a few years I have had much anger towards. God helped me leave that heavy boulder there on the path. Then I moved on to the next obstacle in my life, the pain of my childhood and those who have hurt and betrayed me; I left that boulder there too. Then came the people that dislike me, who I keep trying to please with hope that they will finally come around; that rock was left there too. I felt a lot of weight removed from my shoulders.
As I finished my walk with God a song came in to my head and heart, something I wouldn’t have expected. Here are the words that I kept singing out loud (and have included the video below):
“Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
I have no idea why God laid that song on me to sing and why it wouldn’t go away for hours after, but it will always have a special place in my heart, the day God gave me freedom walking in a Labrynth at a beautiful retreat center in Nebraska.
I don’t know where you are in your walk with God, but I can only offer you this: take some time, just you and God in a place that is meaningful to you. Step away from your busyness and get re-acquainted with the first person who ever loved you. Leave your burdens with Him and start your life again-it’s not too late.
Walking the path alongside you,