April 25, 2001

REMOVING THOSE LAYERS

I AM SO THANKFUL to my friends for their invitation to me to come to your Prayer Retreat. Since then I have been having my twenty-minute times alone with the Lord, and I have been so blessed.

At the end of this year I will be seventy-eight years old. I have been a widow for fourteen years. God is very close to me, but He keeps removing those layers of veiling from my eyes. And going to your Retreat was another step in that process. The times I sit down and quiet myself before Him, my arms tingle with His presence -- something I haven't experienced before.

I grew up on a farm in South Dakota, during the dust storms, grasshopper plagues and drought. My parents were very dependent on the Lord in those days. The Bible was read and prayer was offered before and after every meal, and I grew up knowing about God and believing in Him. I came East all by myself when I was seventeen to seek employment. I did housework for a year and lived with the families for whom I worked. After that I took training to be a nurse -- graduated from there after three years and met my husband, who had fought in World War II.

Our first child was stillborn -- but then God gave us four healthy children in rapid succession. Then we began fostering children and the last one we fostered we were able to adopt. We gave him the same name as we had given our first, so that we had one in heaven and one here with us. I felt like Job, who gained new sons and daughters after the Lord took his away.

I lost my husband in 1988. Then in 1990, my daughter lost her teenage son in an accident, and two years later my son lost his little daughter. God has brought me and my dear ones through some hard times -- but His grace is sufficient.

We have a small group here who are going to continue to meet every two months for centering prayer. I am so excited about all the doors God has opened to me at this time of my life, and that He gives me the energy, the health and the strength.

The words that I usually use in my Centering Prayer are "I am His and He is mine." The first verse of that song is:

"Loved with everlasting love,
Led by grace that love to know,
Spirit breathing from above,
Thou has taught me it is so.
O this full and perfect peace,
O this transport all divine,
In a love that cannot cease,
I am His, and He is mine."

A fellow traveller on the Glory road.

-- A.W. - Grand Rapids, MI


UNCOVERING FALSE SELF

ABOUT SIX YEARS AGO a friend gave my wife and I some back issues of your magazine. In the beginning, it might as well have been in Greek because I couldn't understand a word of it. Over a period of time we began to read and re-read the articles that you and your co-workers labored over.

The "Shackled by Self" issue (Mar/Apr,1995) was the key that unlocked the beginning of understanding of the mystery of false self and how, try as we may, in our own strength we are powerless to find our true selves. It is as if scales fell from our eyes and like the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, we exclaimed: "I can see!"

Since then, we have read and studied the mystics, and we have joined a centering prayer group.

Please know that what you are doing makes a profound impact on many wounded souls in this fallen world.

-- H.H. - Colorado Springs, CO


BOUNDLESS, GENEROUS LOVE

SINCE I'VE BEEN centering (about a dozen years now), there is no doubt in my mind that God has mysteriously healed my wounded heart and convinced me of His love. Now when I speak to others about God, I feel that deep conviction as well -- personal and cosmic -- of God's boundlessly generous love of all who/what He has made.

-- J. S. - Minneapolis, MN