What’s Balm for Your Soul?

(Here’s Myrrh for Mine)

One of my spouse’s best qualities is his patient listening to Things That Do Not Interest Him.

You may know what I mean. You’ve got a great story or burning insight (or Theological Fun Fact), and you simply MUST tell someone or you will explode.

If the desire to tell is met by another’s willingness to listen, the soul delights.

(Even if it’s clear their eyes are glazing over. Feigned interest can be a gesture of love.)

Last night at midnight in the dark kitchen, I couldn’t tell if his tired eyes were tracking what I was buzzing about.

But he said one sentence that stuck with me.

“I love it when you’re on fire with the Spirit. It just permeates everything.”

The Spirit is on the move right now in a mighty way. Yes, things are terrible. Yes, the news feels worse than ever. No, there’s no end in sight to the pandemics we’re facing.

But I am seeing something spectacular, sparking in small corners and gathering steam. Energy is afoot. Creation is continuing. God is working everywhere, often in small or surprising ways, but still good and beautiful and true.

Here’s where I’m finding balm lately. Would you share with us where you are, too?

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Simple rituals.

I start the day with a candle and Scripture. The shortest, simplest lectio divina, but light + Light transform my day. You could not find someone who cares about housewares less than I do, but this candle from Stella Maris smells like baptism. (Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s all that Santa brought me, so maybe nudge him for next year?). My whole office smells like a sacrament now. Pure balm.

Embracing winter.

I am a summer lover seeking conversion to the four seasons. Each year I’m edging toward accepting winter, but it took pandemic living with 6 other humans without break for 12 months to drive me outdoors. Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May has been a thoughtful companion in this work. While you wait for your local library copy, check out this online collection of spiritual practices for winter.

Looking to Lent.

Perhaps it’s because the past year has felt like One Long Lent and we’re getting good at penitential living? Or maybe God is kicking inspiration into overdrive because so many people are suffering right now. But I’m seeing so much beauty bud to life for this Lent. Here are 3 books that I’m already itching to open:

No Unlikely Saints: A Lenten Pilgrimage with Sacred Company. I caught my husband flipping through this. Highest praise in a household where many, many spiritual books sneak through the door. My friends Lauren Winter and Cameron Bellm have created a gorgeous Lenten guide—already in its second printing due to high demand.

Stations by Clare McCallan & Ryan McQuade. This collection looks incredible & I’m stalking the mailbox: “With fourteen original pieces of poetry and multi-media art, this book narrates the story of Jesus’ passion through the trials of everyday people. It is intended to challenge and disquiet its reader.” Lent distilled, whew.

Set A Fire from Blessed Is She features the holy labors of many friends as writers & editors working together to bring beauty into the world. Don’t miss the delightful kids’ book to go with the grown-up version.


And guess what? I have something Lenten for you, too.

I’m launching a virtual Myrrhbearers retreat—with a companion e-book to take you through all of Lent. Mark your calendars for March 11-14. I’d love for you to join us to learn about the women and men who cared for Jesus at his death and burial.

I’ll send you a quick note this week when registration is open, but you can see a sneak peek here now.

I was blown away by the response to the Epiphany retreat I offered, so I can’t wait to see where this next journey into Scripture and prayer leads us. The Myrrhbearers’ stories are life-changing.

May you find the balm of holy peace, even amid the myrrh of much suffering right now. May we help each other bear it all together.

Peace,

Laura

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Find my books here: Everyday Sacrament | Grieving Together | Prayers for Pregnancy & Birth | To Bless Our Callings | Living Your Discipleship