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What is making you?

What is making you?
 
We’re excited to welcome Doug Jones on board as a contributing author for the month of August. If you’ve had the opportunity to meet Doug through a Soul Thirst Retreat or Equipping Luncheon, you know he’s passionate about youth workers and teens discovering and loving God in deep and healthy ways. What you might not have known is that he’s also a gifted writer as well. We’re excited to have him share this month. – Editor

Markers and Makers

The are times, defining moments, that etch or tattoo themselves into the very being of who you are.  They can be joyous times, like when you first fell in love or proposed to your spouse; and they can be difficult or tragic times, times of sickness or grief.  These moments seem to be both markers in our lives and makers – focusing and forming us.  One of those moments that has woven itself into the fabric of my make-up happened back in the summer of 2005.

I was at Resurrection Center in Woodstock, IL and on Saturday afternoon I made my way across the conference grounds.  I was walking determined on reaching my goal.  I had heard that there was a hermitage on the property and I wanted to see it and spend the rest of my afternoon there.  I got a bit turned around and made some wrong turns, but my persistence won out over my misguided steps and I found it and the key to make entry.

After getting acquainted with the one room building, I settled down in a wooden rocker and gazed out the large picture window.  I just took in the beauty and the mundane scene from the limited view the window afforded me.  Over time as my pulse slowed and my heart focused the space between this world and the next began to close in.  In that little room in the middle of the woods in the middle of North America, I heard afresh the voice of my Creator.  One word.  Two syllables that resounded in my being.  Five letters that embraced me with deep felt approval and acceptance.  In that moment (or moments?) few things could compete with my focus and alertness to an often forgotten term.

I haven’t and hope to never forget that short time in that little room.

I was reminded there that I am dear to my Maker.  I found new purpose and new desire to continue on taking steps with and toward my Master.  I found dignity and meaning in who I was.  I had new eyes through which to view this world and my place in it.

A defining moment, defined by one word, two syllables and five letters whispered in a still, small voice.

“Abide.”

At that instant I most deeply wanted to abide.

Two thoughts I want to challenge you with in regards to this story:

  1. If you were to look back on your own life – what are the four to six defining moments of your life? If you had to evaluate those defining moments, are the markers that you have identified making you into the image of Christ or keeping you from achieving that?
  2. Where do personal retreats and time away for the express purpose of meeting with God fit into your priorities and schedule?  Are you intentionally making plans and keeping those plans to make space for God to meet with you and shape your life?
Doug Jones
R Douglas Jones has spent the past 25 years as a volunteer, part-time and full-time youth worker in the local church and as a retreat leader. He has earned a Master of Arts degree in Youth Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Doug lives in Western Pennsylvania with his wife, Lawren, and daughter, Amelia, along with many dogs, 2 cats, 2 horses and a pony.