Reflections from Toni
How God is working in and though my life.
I have always had a hunger and thirst to know God, deepen my intimacy with him, and grow spiritually. I was introduced to spiritual formation and contemplative prayer practices of silence and solitude from a dear friend and Pastor who had gone through the SELAH Direction Program. I attended several different workshops and soul care retreat days that my Pastor led and found that this gave new life to my heart and soul. I have been meeting with my own spiritual director for the past 2 ½ years. Having a soul companion listening for God's presence and work in my life has allowed me to see and experience life with a whole new lens, perspective and purpose - living through the Holy Spirit that dwells within me.
Two years ago, I sensed the Lord's gentle invitation to apply for the SELAH West Spiritual Direction program and I was accepted in 2016. These two years have been the most formative and profoundly transformative in my relationship with the Lord and with others. The Lord continues to do miraculous healing work in my life as I have become aware of his presence. Out of the fullness of his extravagant love for me, and gratitude that wells deep within my heart, I desire to journey with others who wish to deepen their intimacy with God.
During my SELAH residency, I provided spiritual direction and received supervision each month which allowed me to discover my purpose and calling. Below are quotes from three women who trusted me to create a safe space to enter into contemplative prayer and listen for what the Lord has been doing in their lives. The quotes below are from these three women who so graciously allowed me to provide them with spiritual direction while I was in the SELAH program.
“Spiritual Direction is teaching me how present God is. That he is with me every moment and his love for me abounds. I am learning to accept his grace and to take every thought and every emotion to him, it is not about doing things to be a better Christian, it is about growing closer to Christ so his love can heal and flow through you.”
I was introduced to Spiritual Direction approximately one year before I lost my father. Working in the Human Service field, I tend to focus on the needs of others instead of myself but SD gives me permission to seek out God for my own emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs without feeling guilty. At first, it was challenging because SD pushes me to focus on my personal relationship with God versus the needs of everyone else. Leading up to the passing of my father, I worked on exploring my feelings when things would come up in my life and to invite God into these moments to hear his response When dad went home to be with the Lord, the prayer disciplines I have learned through SD has been aided me in my grief. Through SD I’m developing a deeper and more intimate relationship with God by sitting quietly and listening to hear what He has to say, I’m able to see scriptures like “…I’ll never leave thee, neither will I forsake thee…”come to pass.”
“Spiritual direction is like doing a hard reset on my (SOS) Spiritual Operating System. Just like my computer, I have been running and running and running. My system gets out of whack and I did not even realize it. Sometimes I just have to shut everything completely off, unplug the cord, count to 10 and plug the cord back in. Then suddenly the kinks are gone and your SOS is running smoothly again. While I am unplugged from life I am resetting my system by plugging into God. I suddenly realized I should have been doing this daily.”