Friday, November 06, 2009

How Spiritual Direction has Helped Me

Long-time readers of my blog (to whom I am eternally grateful) have heard this story before, but Patricia-Ann Constance-Wilson Perkowski of http://www.spirituallivesofwomen.com/ asked me to share my story of spiritual direction for her site, so I am sharing it here as well. Patricia is offering on-line spiritual direction, which I think is a wonderful idea. I had looked for an on-line spiritual director when I was first searching for one and had come up empty. It is nice to know that there is that option if I need it.

In 2003 I was the mother of two small children and in the midst of an identity crisis of epic proportions. I loved my children very much, but I had stopped working when I became pregnant with my second child and I missed that sense of purpose. I was a woman with a master's degree who felt very unfulfilled. I didn't know what God wanted of me. I felt so very lost. I had heard of spiritual direction when I was doing my graduate work in theology, but still wasn't quite sure what it was or if it would benefit me. As someone who has suffered from depression, I had gone through traditional counseling, but always found it frustrating that God couldn't be part of that conversation. I always tried to frame my life in terms of what God wanted from me. Sometimes, that was very difficult to figure out. That moment was one of those times.

I saw a notice for an open house at a local Center for Spiritual Direction. I nervously went, my 2 1/2 year old son in tow. Everyone I met was so nice, and I was so very desperate for someone to help me. One woman was willing to meet with me late in the evenings after my children were in bed. I could just go once and see if it was something that was right for me. I felt such a sense of peace the first time I went. It was such a relief to have a God-centered conversation about everything that was going on in my life. I looked forward to my monthly conversations so much.

That first spiritual director truly helped me with the process of discernment. Through that process came the call to start writing about my spirituality to try to help other women also struggling with integrating their lives and their faith. It is one of the few times in my life I truly felt called by God to do something. The idea came to me and I knew it was something that I had to do. I have been doing just that for the past six years. My first project was a book, "Letters to Mary from a Young Mother" which shared my experience of the pregnancy and birth of my older son combined with prayers to Mary. I then began a newsletter and website. It was such a joy to be able to share my faith with others and I hope that I have helped others in the process as well.

Over the years, I have had three spiritual directors, each one providing me the help that I needed at the given time. I truly believe that God provides the spiritual director that you need at a certain moment and that the Holy Spirit is there in the process. I still look forward to my monthly meetings. I still have much to figure out as I walk this journey of life. I heartily recommend spiritual direction to anyone who is interested in exploring their relationship with God on a deeper level or who is struggling to discern what God wants from them.

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