Do you ever feel "called" by God? This is an intensely personal question, so please consider it a rhetorical question. I have been going through a spiritual struggle/spiritual growth "spurt" for a little while. It's not that I can't decide which it is (struggle or growth), it's just that with me, one usually follows the other. (Thank Heavens). I've been praying, reading, talking, praying some more, thinking and more praying.
There is no sense sharing with you the reasons for the struggles, that wouldn't really help either of us (besides, we all have them). The message I guess I want to share is that if you seek Him, He will be with you. He may not answer your questions the way in which you'd like Him to, but He will answer nonetheless.
The answer that we may hear could just be that He is here with us, or here to be invited in, not usually to directly answer our questions, but the answers are usually not for us to know. I usually end up with an answer of some sort though, and it usually is "I am here with you in the midst of every step you take and all that goes on around you." I'm nobody special, but I have learned to hear when I ask Him and then become quiet.
Yesterday, I decided to take my "shoulder" for a test drive. At first I was going to go to Portland, but I thought better of it, and decided to go somewhere a bit closer. I was led (or drove myself, whichever you prefer) to the Abbey in Mt. Angel. It was such a beautiful day, crisp and cool and foggy and it smelled of fireplaces warming houses (that beautiful wood smell).
My amazement and great thanksgiving to Him soon began. (He always amazes me and blesses me when I go up there)! The very second I turned onto Abbey Road, my Ipod (hooked up in the car as always) began playing "How Great Thou Art" by Carrie Underwood. Not kidding. I was suddenly elated and relieved. I pulled into a parking space and finished listening to the song before I left the car with a big deep breath of gratefulness. As I climbed the long stairway to the Abbey grounds, my sense of smell and of being near Holiness began. Ah, relief. I continued along past the buildings to the church. And blessed myself with Holy Water. Ah, deeper breath and relief. I usually sit in the corner in the back if I go for vespers, but I wanted to see the Altar more clearly and the Icons and the Cross "up close." I prayed... walking, standing, sitting, kneeling, I prayed.
When I was finished praying, I walked to the retreat center and gift shop because I wanted to buy some prayer (Saints) cards and wanted to be led to something I should read. I ended up with 2 books for myself and one book for our precious little guy (who is beginning to read, I might add)! After a peaceful time there and buying a few other things (the monks there are now making candles and I'll tell you about all of that later) I left.
After my visit there, I walked back outside to the grounds. I spotted the benches I so love, and decided to sit there and pray some more. Because of the fog, I couldn't see the normal view, but it was beautiful just as it was. In front of me was the fog and bushes and trees and flowers and rose hips. I love rose hips! In our previous home here, we had a whole hedge of them, and I loved to decorate with them. I miss them. I could hear 2 types of birds singing, and the cool air felt so good to breathe.
Ah (yes, again). When I finally left and headed to the car, I said a thankful prayer, and when I started the car (I swear), the song that started playing was "Just What I Needed" by the Cars. It was "just what I needed," and I smiled at God's blessing me that way, (with the songs) and at his sense of humor with me (rock music can speak to us too)!
Did my prayers get answered? Absolutely, they were (maybe even before I prayed) or they are being now, or will be answered (they always are). In the way "I" wanted them to? Well honestly, I must say yes, although I haven't seen the full fruit of their blessings, God tells me in many ways that He is here, right with me, and He is in control.
p.s. The test drive with the shoulder? It was GREAT until I had to turn the wheel around and around to back out. I think I pulled it again a bit (ouch). That's okay, it was well worth it. And yes, I'm back on the heating pad. xoxo
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!” -Jack Kerouac