Summer Silence Reflection
“Come” and See…
Looking at the cloudy sky, breathing in the freshness of the garden, my mind was racing with a wonderful plethora of thoughts. As I sat on the bench, I felt a small still voice saying to “sit and observe.” So I sat, placed my head back looking at the skies, started praying for my lead pastor, director of operations and our members at the church plant when a flock of geese passed me by, slow enough for me to gaze at yet swift enough for me not to capture a picture of it. Again, the still voice spoke: “I am the leader of the flock.” With that statement, I knew exactly what God was doing! It was a friendly reminder of the Great I Am, saying “I have everything under control, STOP, this Silent retreat is about you and me -- let’s talk.”
What do you do when the Creator of all the universe wants to talk? Though I was feeling squirmish inside, I knew God wanted me to “come.” With uncomfortability and reluctance I did, and headed to the chapel area. I was uncomfortable because I had a feeling God wanted to speak on what I longed for but had placed on the back-burner due to my passion for the work I was engaging in. Reluctant, as I still struggle with the uncertainty of what will happen next. God is serendipitous! In the chapel I surrendered both my uncomfortability and reluctance, with open hands, and waited on God. With the cheesy reference of number 12 in my mind (which also happened to be the room number I had) I read Psalm 12 and verse 6 spoke on the promise of God. I decided to dig deeper and came upon a cross-reference to Psalm 119:140 which says, “Your promises are proven [refined] so I, your servant, love them.” The still voice, spoke again asking “What is one of my promises to you?” I couldn’t contain it, tears started coming down, as the still voice spoke once more to listen to the song “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” by Bryan Adams which is a precious reminder song God uses in my relationship with Him. A reminder of how much He loves me. A reminder of what He expects for the future partner in my life. I cried. Being a Latina single woman pastor who is part of the Dreamer population, this is my joyful suffering. God didn’t forget my longing. He knew I was uncomfortable and reluctant to ask but He had not forgotten of my wanting to be cared for who I was, not what I do, nor my status in this country.
God has not forgotten you either! He shows absolutely no exception. All He asks for is our willingness to “be” with Him, instead of “do” for Him. There were so many more talks my Beloved Savior had with me in the silent retreat. All He asked was for me to “come” and see, to take time to pause from racing trains of thoughts and be with Him. Regardless of how busy your schedule may be, may I encourage you to “come” and see, in silence and solitude, even if it's two minutes today and embark on an adventure with the greatest counselor and guide, Holy Spirit. Come and see, and do tell what you journey to next!
~ Miluska Aquije
Summer Silent Retreat - 2019
Miluska Aquije holds a Masters in Professional Studies in Urban Ministry (Nyack College/ATS ‘17), as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Religion (Hunter College ’13). She has served church plants in youth ministry since 2005, has been active in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship campus ministry, is co-founder as an IV alumni of The Mentor Movement, and in 2018 became a certified NYS Chaplain. She worked in higher education administration at Hunter College, serving as an enrollment manager, faculty, and youth seminary coordinator for City Seminary of New York. Currently, Ms. Aquije serves as the founder of Hoping Greatly, spiritual mentor, speaker, and guest panelist in various faith center engagements, knowing the power of breaking walls of hostility by discussing the undocumented struggle in vulnerability. She is also a pastoral resident for Reconcile Brooklyn. In her free time, she can be found having coffee or tea blogging dates, catching up on anime, and coaching the next generation over a delicious NYC meal discovery. More about her journey can be found at hopinggreatly.com.
Entering into Spiritual Direction
Some years ago, I was feeling discouraged, uncertain, and wanting to cry often. I couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong. I was invited to speak to a spiritual director and it was with her that I was able to name my experience: lamentation. Yes, that was the word. As I continued with spiritual direction, I began to notice God’s presence in my life differently. I felt understood and received -- in brokenness and beauty -- God’s loving gaze assuring me that my experience was normal and important. I found a deeper sense of being and purpose.
I had believed that being a Christ-follower required much work, so I did the work. I strived, prayed, and served harder. Yet with spiritual direction, I am invited to stay present to the process because God was and is present to me in my experiences, my feelings, my heart’s desires. I am on a journey of discovery of who I have been and who I am becoming. The work is inward and life-renewing. Transformation. What’s beautiful is that this is not a lonely journey. My spiritual director is the friend God has graced to walk with me to stretch my vision, to probe my heart & my mind, and to affirm that I keep going. Do you want to walk on this journey of deeper discovery? You will not be going alone.
We invite you to join us for our Summer Refresh Silent Retreat, where you, too, can get a taste of what spiritual direction is like! Register for Refresh today!
~ Manni Lee
The robins chirp…
Did you ever see a robin weep when leaves began to fall? He had starts each day with a happy chirp as he leaps and bobs across the green meadow floor. His chirp blends in with the diversity of birds, as they sang their sweet song from the branches of trees and in the air above. He is a proud robin with a red vest bobbing across the green meadow land he adores, that is an abundant place for all his needs and nourishment. As a bonus, there is also a creek with cool clear water to quench his thirst. Now there was a chill in the air as leaves began to fall. Soon the meadow would not be this green and the creek would be frozen in ice. There would be no place to quench his thirst as before nor will there be more abundance of food in this land he adored. The robin did not know what the Lord has in store.
In spiritual direction I talked about how the body I was given was breaking down as I walk further into old age. I need more sleep and more physical strength. My ability to balance and mobility are vanishing. Yet as my body ages my soul and heart have gotten younger once more. All of this started happening as I turned to the Lord. My soul was being refreshed and renewed. As a young child who is seeing new things for the first time. His soul is filled with joyous excitement, new adventures to explore. In this old age, I have dreams to dream, new adventures to explore.
If the robin knew what the Lord has in store, he would have visions of leaping across an even greener meadow floor with a creek with even clearer, cleaner water to keep his thirst quenched. The meadow will have an abundance of his needs, given through grace by a loving Lord. Now as he bobs across the Lord’s green meadow floor, he can chirp a song of love and praises for the Lord he adores.
~ Ted Huck