The Center for Leadership Excellence, in partnership with COSROW, is pleased to lift up the voices of women in ministry encouraging fellow women in ministry. Please enjoy this month’s Encouragement from Laure Kalau, Pastor of Haw River UMC, and feel free to forward it to a friend. Anyone can sign up to receive these monthly emails here.
A few weeks ago I attended a retreat at a Catholic center along with other clergy women. The moment I stepped into the building my eyes caught a picture frame on the wall with the words: “Be still and know that I am God.” As I read these words in my mind, I let out a deep sigh. I sensed my shoulders drop, and then I inhaled and exhaled one more time. As I went from one room to another, I noticed that the space was filled not only with beautiful images of saints but also every room had a picture frame with the phrase “Be still and know that I am God.” It was clear that this was an invitation to be intentional and rest in the presence of God, for the Holy Spirit was already at work in this space, welcoming me as I breathed a new breath of life for my tired soul.
We live in a unique cultural time in the midst of a global pandemic and all the complexities that brings. We have long daily to-do lists of tasks we need to accomplish. We have endless conversations where we remind people that we cannot go back to life pre-pandemic, but we need to create something new. Most days our personal life is a paradox of beauty and chaos. The 24-hour world news seems mostly negative and depressing, which leaves us longing for rest and to be still in the presence of God. “Be still and know that I am God” is part of Psalm 46 where the Psalmist declares God’s security and proclaims God’s power. The Psalmist reminds us that God is our help in times of trouble and then moves to tell us to behold the works of God.
Read Psalm 46:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Reflect: As we move into the most beautiful time of the year, which is also one of the busiest liturgical seasons of the year for the church, I hope you will hear this invitation from God, who is our refuge, to make room for stillness and to find rest from the burdens you carry. Create a space to be intentional and be aware of the movement of Holy Spirit within you; unplug from the voice in your head and the noise around you; then sit in silence to renew your soul. Hear God’s invitation to not run from your fears and grief, but in Christ find courage and hope, strength and peace.
Take Action: Take a moment to admire the works of God in your life and in the lives of your loved ones. Be still and consider how God has restored your soul, how God has redeemed you and called you by name. Consider the beauty of God’s creation and breathe with gratitude.
Create a sacred moment in a quiet place to breathe and pray the words of the Psalmist by leaving out the last word of each line.
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Center for Leadership Excellence and the Commission on the Status and Role of Women