4938144-large-quotation-marks   EVERY moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.

~Thomas Merton

Several years ago, I was asked to start a small group for women at my church who were seeking something different than a typical Bible study.  At the time, I was in my early 40s, raising a daughter, running my own full-time nonprofit ministry, and working a couple of consulting gigs to make ends meet.  In my spare time, all I wanted was to “just be.”

Just be with myself.  Just be with my daughter.  Just be with creation.  Just be with God.

Did I have the time I wanted to just be?  Do any of us have that kind of time to just be?

(Which might lead you to ask, “What were you thinking taking on a small group?!”  When the Holy Spirit moves within you, you either move with it or live life as a bystander.  But yes, I spent some time in prayerful consideration before agreeing.)

And so, our group began.  Women in their 30s and 40s gathered round once a week to talk, laugh, cry, pray and engage in a centering activity.  While I couldn’t have imagined what would come from that, I knew that God was bringing me into that place and space for a reason.

Since then, I’ve helped our church start a contemplative worship, I started blogging about nature and spirituality, and I have developed workshops and retreats around the theme of “Just Be.” People who knew me began to associate that phrase with me as if it were my own personal brand.

In these opportunities, I realized that people, especially women, crave (yes, I mean crave), time with Spirit, time with God, and time with Quiet.

Sure, there are many opportunities to Just Be with God through therapy, church, spiritual direction, meditation or yoga.  My calling?  To connect people with God through Just Be out in creation–a contemplative lifestyle of sorts related to prayer, creation, and self-awareness of the Divine within.

It’s different, I know.  Many have asked, “Umm, what do you plan to do with that?”  Internally, I giggle, but externally I smile with a bit of wisdom and remark, “I don’t plan to “do” anything with it.  My call is to offer the sacred natural space where people can Just Be with God.”

And you know what, I’m ok with that.