All posts by Sue

Living a Life Anchored in Serenity…

Note: My husband Ron’s photos have been featured several times recently in the Coeur d’Alene Press. Ron is my number one supporter and decided to ask Mike Patrick, Press Managing Editor, if he’d be interested in one of his wife’s inspirational articles. The Press graciously printed this post in their Saturday, January 11th Coeur Voice section. I don’t generally post personal photos but wanted to share this one (see below).

     Years ago, I was challenged to set a new year spiritual goal. The decision to embrace that challenge changed the direction of my spiritual journey. Since then I have chosen a short sentence, phrase or even a single word to establish focus for the year ahead.

     Many psychologists and people who teach goal setting recommend this method—beginning with a vision—upon which other goals are built rather than making a list of daunting resolutions, often discarded before the new year takes hold.

     In early December, I determined my theme for 2020 will consist of three related words:




     A synonym for serenity is peace, one focus of the recent Advent season Christians around the world celebrated. The prophet Isaiah, more than700 years before the birth of Emmanuel, announced a coming Messiah would be called the Prince of Peace.

     Restlessness is the opposite of serenity. In his famous Confessions, St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

     Serenity is the anchor theme for my 2020 journey, and I’m convinced, it must begin with God. A starting point will be considering The Serenity Prayer, written by theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1940’s. Today, the familiar words are recited regularly at 12-Step and other recovery groups such as Celebrate Recovery.

     I became acquainted with The Serenity Prayer in the 1980’s when I embarked on a quarter-century career with the Washington State Employee Assistance Program (EAP). At that time the primary focus of EAP’s was on alcoholism in the workplace. The agency for which I worked embraced the philosophy of 12-Step recovery.

     Until that time, I knew little about alcoholism or the process of addiction recovery. Hired initially as a paraprofessional, I was captivated with the dynamics of addiction, the difficulties of recovery and addiction’s devastating tentacles that reach into every segment of society. I committed to completing higher education studies and requirements for certification and was promoted into a professional position.

     During this process, I adopted The Serenity Prayer as my own. To this day it remains a practical, working prayer, a petition I reference often.

     If you’re familiar with the prayer, you’ll recognize how it has influenced my personal prayer for 2020.

God, Grant me the grace of serenity to recognize that which is not mine to do, those who are not mine to help and that which you haven’t assigned me to manage.

God, grant me the courage to live with simplicity, to get rid of all that clutters my environment, my schedule, my thoughts, my emotions and my spirit.

God, grant me the wisdom to put into practice the Great Commandment Jesus gave: to love you with my entire being; to love others in a way that reflects your love; and, finally, but importantly, to love myself in a God-centered, rather than ego-driven, manner.

Help me listen to the voice of your Spirit reminding me when my body needs rest, my soul needs nurturing, or my spirit needs silence and stillness. ~Amen

Sue Reeve

God’s Mysterious Goodness Penetrates Darkness…

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NLT)

     The woman who’d scheduled to meet at my church office told me she’d been attending Lake City Church for several months. I love to hear about people’s journeys of faith and invited her to share her story.

     It was one of those soul-stirring stories that leaves me feeling as if I’ve been entrusted with a priceless treasure to hold, even if only for a moment. When I asked permission to pass a portion on to you, promising to protect her privacy, she seemed pleased and agreed graciously. I’m calling my new friend Julia because that’s a favorite name of mine.

     Shaking her head back and forth slowly, Julia said she has always had a difficult time believing in God. “Trusting in what I can’t see just doesn’t make sense.”

     “What keeps you coming back to church?” I inquired.

     That question elicited tears, so I knew her answer was going to be good! She explained an encounter she had a few weeks earlier, saying, “I can only believe it was from God.”

     Julia described herself as a woman with a strong work ethic. Despite horrific news of a much-loved friend’s tragic death, she’d been able to make it through a busy workday.

     Emotionally exhausted after work, she decided to get take-out at a fast-food restaurant. Her emotional pain was indescribable, Julia said. How, she wondered, was she going to process this unexpected, incomprehensible news?

     After ordering her food, Julia uttered what she called a “sort-of prayer.”

     Reaching the pick-up window, the woman working behind the counter told Julia the customers in front of her had paid for her meal. The employee then said,

“Also, they asked me to tell you God loves you very much!”

     By that time, Julia said, the tears, which dampened her cheeks, turned into uncontrollable sobs. The kind employee reached through the pick-up window, took her hands and prayed “a long prayer” right there in that fast-food drive-through lane.

     Bit by bit, my new friend’s heart is being cracked open enough that rays from the light of faith are shining through. Julia is starting to comprehend that even though unseen, God is real, and faith isn’t based solely on logic.

     She wants to start reading her Bible and asked for help in getting started. I gave some suggestions and look forward to walking alongside this woman in her newfound adventure of faith.

     So often, I’ve seen God’s goodness most clearly during life’s darkest hours. Weak, vulnerable, with no idea which way to turn, like Julia, I realize “something I can only believe was from God” helped me navigate the darkness.

     Where are you in your faith journey?

     You may be like me. Even though you often feel like you still have more questions than answers, you believe at the core of your being the message of Christianity. An interior nudge convinces you God is only good and wants nothing but good for every sincere seeker. This assurance enables you to keep taking that next step of faith into the Divine Mystery.

     Others may be more like Julia. Trusting in what cannot be seen or proven doesn’t compute for you. Still, a lingering MAYBE lurks in your private moments of wondering.

     Perhaps a starting point for you may be uttering one of Julia’ssort-of prayers” and see where it leads you.

No matter where you are in your faith journey, I’m applauding you…

Sue Reeve

Imagination Ignites Wonder and Worship…

     I’ve loved the Bible for as long as I can remember. One aspect of childhood I cherish is biblical training I received in Sunday School and other church activities.

     Although the church I attended did not have a formal confirmation program, I was encouraged to learn and memorize scripture. My motivation may have been a reward or gaining the acceptance and admiration of authority figures, but nevertheless, the seed of God’s Word sank deeply into the soil of my soul.

     Over the years I’ve studied the Bible for information and truth. I’ve also turned to scripture for inspiration, guidance and comfort.

     During the past few weeks, while working through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises (19th Annotation), I’ve been encouraged to engage my imagination while reading Scripture. This has been a new experience.

     For example, in a recent post, I discussed the account of the Wise Men who visited the Christ child. As I read slowly and pondered this story, I began to imagine what the Wise Men may have looked like, how they may have interacted with one another, what they were like as human beings.

     The impressive, aristocratic travelers were revered enough to be welcomed by the mighty King Herod. Yet, without reservation, they entered the humble home of a ‘blue-collar’ carpenter and his young wife. They bowed low to worship a baby, who–upon first glance—may have appeared to be quite ordinary.

     They not only worshipped, but they shared their wealth with the humble family. The financial gifts were probably going to be needed a short time later when Joseph was instructed to flee to Egypt to escape the wrath of the greedy, paranoid and wicked King Herod. (See Matthew 2:1-21)

     I’m an observer of people, and I try to look for admirable characteristics in almost everyone. Sometimes, I admire a person’s attractiveness, sense of style, talents, work ethic, kindness, fitness or gift of homemaking and hospitality.

     Probably, though, people I admire most are men and women who quest for knowledge, who are intelligent. They’re curious, observant—always discovering. Even though their bright brains are filled with much learning, they are not ‘big-headed.’ Rather, they possess a gentle humility.

     They embrace the mystery of God, listen respectfully to others, and are generous in a variety of ways. They find delight in and are willing to gain insight from an innocent child and never show disdain for those who are less well educated. They esteem simplicity, practical common sense, intrinsic savvy and godly wisdom as much as intellectualism.

     As I pondered the story of the Magi and let my imagination make connections to my world, I concluded, I really like these guys! I also realized how God uses many different types of people to accomplish divine purposes. This causes me to worship God in a new dimension.

     If incorporating imagination into your own Bible reading sounds intriguing, I encourage you to re-read a favorite story. Using your imagination, visualize yourself in the scene. Discover how you may be drawn into a fresh scriptural experience.

     If this spiritual practice does not resonate with you, don’t use it. Stay true to the way the Spirit is speaking to you. My deepest desire is that we will be led always in longing to discover more about God with awesome wonder and worship being the result. That is always my most important objective.

Blessings as you wonder and worship…

Sue Reeve