For the past twenty-some years, I have served alongside Chris in our life of urban ministry, loving Jesus and serving children and families here in south Minneapolis. (Please add your email address if you would like to be notified when newsletters and blog posts are added or see pictures on our Christ’s Children Ministries Facebook page).
It has been my joy to share in the lives of so many young people over the years. But, the kind of ministry that crosses lines of race, culture and economic background is not for the faint-hearted. I have learned so much about myself, my own brokenness, about patience, about letting go of my own need for control, about waiting, learning that people must make their own choices, about listening with an open heart. When crossing cultures, it can take years of love and commitment with folks to reach a place of real trust and relationship. It is at that place that my spiritual gifts and natural talents find their deepest expression and I find the most enjoyment.
It was really a great thing, about a decade ago, when I began leading spiritual direction groups. It gave me another opportunity to work with people who had a desire to focus on their life with God and were seeking the kind of careful listening and prayerful environment I could facilitate. (For a glimpse of the spiritual direction experience, read a blog post by a past participant at: http://tracypnothomeyet.blogspot.com/2012/10/tending-soul.html )
As I did that work, God planted in me a desire to also offer those gifts to individuals in spiritual direction. For a number of years, fear and worries about finances kept me from following that call. But, as some of you know, this past May in the same week that Nathanael graduated from high school, I received my certificate in spiritual direction after completing a two-year course of study. This was the realization of a long-held desire and affirmation of a call to more ministry that God has prepared for me to do.
Sometimes people wonder what spiritual direction is all about or think it seems kind of new-agey. In fact, it is a spiritual discipline that dates back to the early church. Spiritual direction is really about providing prayerful listening, support and encouragement to someone who has a desire to grow in love and relationship with God. It has qualities that are similar to discipleship, mentoring and pastoral counseling, but is different from those forms of support because in spiritual direction the emphasis is not so much focused on a problem or desired point of growth as it is focused on helping an individual listen and pay attention to the way God is present in his or her own life. It is often engaged in by those who have a long relationship with God and are noticing an invitation to new growth or experiencing changes in their life with God.
So, in addition to continuing to partner in our work with kids and families, I will also be offering individual and group spiritual direction for those who are looking for someone to companion them as they grow in love and relationship with God. It is good to meet with people in person, but it may be done by telephone or Skype as well. I hope that this work will also help financially support our ministry with Christ’s Children. I don’t have a huge personal network, so I am relying on all of you who know me to put the word out or to let me know if you yourself would like to consider the discipline of spiritual direction.
You may call or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to talk more about spiritual direction if you or someone you know may be interested.