Experiencing God on Raspberry Mountain
I woke up at dawn to an astonishing view on Raspberry Mountain. Inhaling and exhaling the cool breath of life on this first morning of our retreat, I was open to receive the gifts God had for me. Meeting the other ladies, I was amazed at how God had intersected our lives on this retreat and how they became another piece of my story. On this day, we shared with each other from the “My Life Story” map. In sharing my story with a friend and hearing from the other ladies over the weekend, God revealed to me an undergirding of his purpose for my life.
When I began filling out the map, I knew from scripture my story began when “he chose me in Christ before the creation of the world.” I wrote the phrase, “God created me in his mind,” at the top left side before the beginning of the timeline. He created my soul, where my true self is defined, and how I would uniquely reflect his image to the world. Then I wrote date of my birth into earth, May 4th, 1962, and my timeline began.
Through two-thirds of my life I had lived with a strong sense of shame – the feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with you. My true self was pushed down by the shame. Later in life as I began a relationship with God, I started to hear that God had created me in his image. I realized I had never asked God who he had created me to be. I looked to everyone and everything else to define me, hoping to be loved and accepted. Sharing my story, it became clearer that God had been using the shame (not giving it) to draw me to himself in order to discover the special way he had designed me. My life story with God is like no other. I am unique because no one can be Christ to others like me. It revealed to me that the “wrong I want to right” is for others to know and live their true self in God – the person God created them to be before the creation of the world.
You are special, irreplaceable and loved because God chose you before creation. He distinctively created you to reflect his image to others and to use all parts of your unique life story to draw others to him. No one can or will reveal Christ to the world like you.
Questions to Ponder:
- How will you reveal Christ to the world today?
- Who or what have you let define you?
- Which part of your life story helped shape you to live more into your true self?
- What experiences from your life story make you feel fully alive?
- What life giving experiences disclose your true self and reveal God to others?
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world.” Ephesians 1:4
“Dear God, I am so grateful that you knew my story long before my appearance on this earth and that you have been a part of it ever since. Thank you that you use all things in my life to draw me to yourself, even the difficult things. Thank you that because of who I am in you, I can uniquely help others to know and live their true self in you.”
Kim Nielsen has begun facilitating Listen to My Life in her hometown of Columbia, MO, where she lives with her husband, daughters, grandson and three Yorkies. After working on a church staff for eleven years, she is now working on a Master’s Specialization in Spiritual Transformation through Northern Baptist Theological Seminary and The Transforming Center. She has a certification in Spiritual Transformation with The Transforming Center through participating in three two-year spiritual communities led by Dr. Ruth Haley Barton. She has an Enneagram Certification with CrossPoint Ministry. She also volunteers with the leadership team for The Transforming Center creating beauty and coordinating retreats. Her desire is to become a trained spiritual director and director of retreats, creating environments and opportunities for people to have a personal experience with God.