I have been in a waiting season like most of the world I presume, living through a global pandemic. It has led me to experience a deeper sense of God’s heart and the priorities that matter most in the days and years ahead. Cultivating how God sees takes time, silence, stillness, and solitude and for that I am grateful for 2020. As I have been thinking about the vision and direction of Shine Healing Ministries for 2021, my desire is always to be led by his heart, to be fully within his will, and to be a source of his love and compassion to a hurting and weary world. As Christians we’ve heard, possibly our entire life, that we are to become more and more like Christ. But what does that mean?
When Jesus walked the earth he always spoke the language of the heart. This means he spoke in images, stories “parables”, symbols, and the like. He did so to weed out those who just wanted something from him from those who truly wanted more of him. He was seeking to connect with those pure in heart who were willing to go into the abyss of the dark unknowns to experience him in greater ways. The bible promises those who seek him will find him. One thing I know for sure is God has always been about creating spaces to encounter him not just know about him. Spaces where the heart can awaken to the True Self within and his divine presence. Spaces where the soul can learn to rest and cease so he can begin his greatest work within us.
There is a journey we must go on. A journey of discovering our True Self, the “I” within. You see, ironically, once we find our most authentic “I”, we become a greater “We”. We become a source of his true love to the world. To become Christ like ultimately means we become an overflowing source of compassion to a hurting world. It means that the things that most motived the individual self now pale in comparison with what the true “I” can become for another!
Compassion means to “suffer with”. To become a part of another’s story and no longer be driven by a what-is-in-it-for-me? mentality but how can my life become about the greater “We”. This Christ like compassion is divinely placed deep within us waiting for us to cultivate it, water it and allow it to grow.
Author, Sue Monk Kidd explains this so eloquently, “The coming of the True Self tosses us into the wreckage of the world and asks us to bind up what wounds we can and do our small part to recreate a planet of community and justice, where there is fullness of life for everyone.” This only happens when we allow our hearts to feel the pain of another, when we weep with Christ over the hurting, lost, abandoned, and in need and are moved to do something about it. Compassion creates healing spaces like no other because we finally begin to relate to the world not as if it contains strangers, but as if every other heart and struggle were ours. We see them and their story as a part of us, not separate.
There is a story I recently read by Elie Wiesel that comes from his book Night. In it he told of his horrific experience as a child in a concentration camp. One such story inspired my vision for 2021. His words painted a picture of true, Christ like compassion. He began by saying it had been three days since he had any food or water when they were led as a large group outside in the middle of winter to stand in an open field. Shivering from morning till night, thirsty yet unable to move. Forbidden to sit or bend over, the snow began to build upon their shoulders. One man suggested that the man behind him lick the snow from his shoulder to relieve his intolerable thirst. Then on down the line it went, one person’s thirst quenched by the compassionate shoulder of another.
To become Christ-like is to become this to one another. A place of nourishment, compassion, and hope. If 2020 has taught us anything it is how much we need community and connection to be healthy and whole. We survive tragedy and hardship because God moves our hearts with compassion to be for one another what he is for us. Neurotheologian, Dr. Jim Wilder, says that “in community we are waking up within each other what God wants to grow.” We can choose to sit in the stillness of God’s presence and soak in his heart so that we can become his voice of truth for another. God never stops pursuing ours hearts till we see in ourselves what he sees. He knows that if we finally discover the True “I” within it will lead to us becoming a “We” that changes the world. The undeniable truth is we need each other to help us discover the True Self within and be to the world the Christ-like examples we are destined to become!
This is the space we want to create at Selah Ranch. A space where hearts are nourished and made whole through the overwhelming, life-changing compassion and love of Christ. We want to become sources of nourishment for the thirsty soul in need of renewing and reconnecting with what is true. To create rest-filled spaces where one’s heart learns to dance to its truest rhythm and find the song God wrote for them alone. Will you join with us, whether through prayer, volunteering your time, telling others about our services, or by becoming a financial supporter? We are growing, ever pursing the path that God has placed before us. We are creating a space where the heart can awaken to the True Self within. Where God’s love, compassion, and radical hospitality can be felt in the deepest places of the soul and no longer just known as a concept but truly experienced.
We are wanting to expand in this next year, by creating indoor spaces in which to meet all year around. First, a chapel that will be open to all to come and soak in his presence. An undistracted space in nature to hear his heart more clearly. Then, secondly, we are in need of a gathering space. A place where compassion can be shared, and a healing community can begin to grow within its walls. Will you let another drink from your shoulder? Will you be a part of providing a space of nourishment for a fellow weary heart in need of a touch of compassion, rest, and love? Twenty Twenty-one is a year where God’s priorities need to become ours. This weary, burdened, world needs us more than ever to become sources that overflow with his compassion and love!
For His Glory,
Josie Muterspaw, Founder