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Where I can be with God

Where I can be with God

Editor’s Note: Today, we’re excited to have a special guest post from Deb Turnow, Spiritual Director and founder of Kavanna House in York, PA. Deb joined us a few weeks ago for a Project Renovation Soul Thirst retreat and today shares just a few of her reflections from the weekend.

“When I come in that door, I’m covered with blood sometimes, and they hug me. They love me, they take care of me, they treat me as a real human being. And then they feed me, and they massage me, and they give me adjustments. These are my people. This is my place. This is where I come to be with God.”
– Quote in museum exhibit at St. Paul’s Chapel (adjacent to the World Trade Center) from a fireman talking about the volunteers who cared for the firefighters and rescue workers during the weeks following the 9/11 tragedy.

I just returned from a retreat this past weekend. It centered around story – the telling of one’s story with all its beauty, joy, tragedy and sorrow. I was privileged to hear the stories of 10 individuals. There was no hiding, no pretense, no guardedness – just honest, vulnerable sharing. As each person unfolded their story, the rest of us listened with them and reflected back to them where we noticed God’s presence within their narrative.

The organization that hosted the retreat regularly offers youth workers an experience in which they can rest and reconnect with God in a deeper way. For three days a cabin overlooking Raystown Lake became a place where they, while bleeding inside, could be hugged. They were loved. They were cared for. And they were seen as real human beings, with real feelings, hopes, dreams, hurts and disappointments. In a beautiful, mysterious, spiritual sense they were fed, massaged and began to notice what adjustments God was inviting them to make in their lives.

By the end of the weekend, I think each of them would have been able to say – “These are my people. This is my place. This is where I came to be with God.”

This is what the heart of Christianity is beyond the theology and doctrine, lived out in its truest form.

Deb Turnow currently serves as the Executive Director of Kavanna House. Until recently, she was the Director of Spiritual Direction at Living Word Community Church in York, PA. She has a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University and is a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Program at Shalem Institute.