A Pocket of Stillness to Seek Grace

Right where I am today, the longing of my heart is to know greater wholeness; to merge with what is holy and find rest. Rest? It has been a long couple of days as we empty this house we completely renovated top to bottom. The new place is cluttered with so much stuff and dust, it is an overwhelming prospect. It’s hard to see how it will possibly become a retreat, how it will feel peaceful. But I have known this unrest and disorder before. And so I trust.

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Sunday Prayer

There are simply seasons where it is far more difficult to see life as wholly sacred or to see God coming to me, as Paula D’Arcy says, disguised as my life.

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What is greater wholeness?

Wholeness is (for me personally) more than a mere sense of integration.

It is about a capacity to hold paradox.

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It’s about seeing how all is held together by a Great Mystery.

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Photo: Haven In – see the gardens of this home HERE.

In order to see more clearly, I find that keeping my heart soft as well as surrendering it daily is a good start.

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Call it daily transformation, daily bread, being here now, or living in prayer…but I think the main idea is to yield…

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A garden in Paris – Hello Lovely Studio.

to admit I know nothing at all…

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and to say YES to Presence over and over again.

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An open window in Paris – Hello Lovely Studio.

For me, living in prayer does not necessarily mean conversing with God with spoken words all day. (However, in the 2020s, when my world turned upside down, living in prayer meant texting stream of consciousness prayers, sometimes through the day and night.)

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Living in prayer also goes beyond carving out quantities of time for stretches of silence and meditation to simply listen.

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Paris rooftop – Hello Lovely Studio

Rather, living in prayer is about showing up in the silence.

Floral painting by Holly Irwin. #hollyirwin #floral #painting
Painting by Holly Irwin – Read an interview with the artist RIGHT HERE.

It’s about receptivity, communion, aligning, rededicating, and returning to God again and again, no matter where the day takes me.

Beautiful inspirational quote and prayer quote from Barbara Brown Taylor on Hello Lovely Studio. #inspirationalquote #christianity #prayer #quotes #faithquote #spirituality #spiritualformation

It is humbly (and at times, desperately) opening up my whole being and spirit to guidance as a permeable vessel to be used.

Beautiful floral impressionist painting by Holly Irwin. #hollyirwin #painting #floral
Floral painting by Holly Irwin

Living in prayer centers me in goodness.

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It allows me to go beyond myself, step over the ego, and return my gaze to higher love.

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I wonder what living in prayer looks like for you?

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Because there are an infinite number of ways to practice such receptivity.

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Are there rhythms built into your day to help you stay rooted in truth and awaken to the voice of Love?

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Photo: Chateau Domingue. See this home’s tour HERE.

I encourage you to discern with God’s help how such rhythms might shift your perspective and bring richness to your journey.

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If you find that a desire for transformation seems absent, you can always seek the grace to begin desiring it.

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For too many years, I didn’t understand this; I didn’t realize I could ask for grace’s help. What a turning point!

For example, what do you want? If you cannot seem to identify a core desire, you can seek the grace to help you more clearly see that desire. (And my oh my, desire is key!).

Cynthia Bourgeault quote. Think; take stock; what do you really want? #cynthiabourgeault #quote #desire #hellolovelystudio

A Prayer for Us

Beautiful Shepherd of my soul, thank you for your loving invitation to join you in quiet where you are eager to meet me.

I seek the grace to become more still, more surrendered, and more permeable as I consent to your healing love.

May I let go the flurry of thoughts inevitably arising as I seek to offer you my everything.

Help me to grow into what you would have me become; guide me to speak and act with strength and wisdom.

Open my eyes to your better ways so I might live purely and abundantly with joy, with gratitude.

As I face the responsibilities set before me this day and care for others, help me to yield to you; animate all I do.

When beauty finds me this day, may I be ever aware you are shining through it.

If heartache should come, may I be ever aware you are with me and moving with me through it.

For I am never alone on this journey, oh God, and there is no place where your great love does not follow me.

May I honor and acknowledge you throughout the day and night and in so doing, see how I am loved and chosen as your child.

May I know my great worth this day and make decisions from this sacred place of dignity.

May I recognize the worth of every one of your children crossing my path and reflect your kindness and mercy.

May I align with you so frequently that I forget myself and begin to live in the heights, come what may.

I pray all of this from a humble state of unknowing and frailty, still so far from who I long to be, yet open and willing to be transformed by your touch.

AMEN.

Inspirational quote from Pema Chodron about personal transformation and growth on Hello Lovely Studio. #pemachodron #inspirationalquote #spirituality #personalgrowth #faithquote

Still with me?

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Ahhhhh, good.

My French farmhouse inspired courtyard in summer with pea gravel, ferns, galvanized buckets, and boxwood - Hello Lovely Studio.

Because there is something so beautiful about being joined on the journey.

Richard Rohr quote about awakening. Awakening is the expression of that grace in which we see through our apparent separation and notice that we are already one with divine presence and with all that is. All that is missing is awareness. #richardrohr #spirituality #quote #faith #christianity #hellolovelystudio

While I’m drawn to solitude, connection to others is so important.

My French country courtyard with stone wall and serene furniture resting in pea gravel - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

And what a blessing that we are all so different and can help each other heal.

Rabbi Rami Shapiro quote about unity. #ramishapiro #quote #faith #unity #spirituality

Right?

Exterior of our Nordic style cottage exterior with French Courtyard. Hello Lovely Studio.
Exterior of our Nordic style cottage exterior with French courtyard.

It can be challenging to sense “eternal compassion” flowing through troubled seasons.

Richard Rohr quote about faith. God's life and love flow through you as soon as you are ready to allow it. That is the core meaning of faith. #faith #quote #richardrohr #hellolovelystudio

Surely we have been challenged in fresh ways through the pandemic.

Romantic, simple, French courtyard with pink accents for a tea party - Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio

How to stay hopeful when it seems far more rational to grow cynical?

Richard Rohr quote about unity. The deepest truth is that we are one - with each other and Ultimate Reality. #quote #richardrohr #unity #truth #hellolovelystudio #christianity #spirituality

I have no snappy answers.

Only a humble sense that because we are a product of God’s great love, we are headed toward glory, not defeat.

Mirabai Starr quote. While all the world's religions cannot and must not be reduced to one truth, their core teachings are unifying...#mirabaistarr #quote #unity #religion #faith #spirituality #hellolovelystudio

I mean when the rose is done blooming and its petals are ready to let go, has it really disappeared or failed or lost at life?

Or has it simply transformed and shape shifted to enter a new realm of beauty recycled?

Richard Rohr quote about unity. What do you want? If it's union with love, then listen to that longng and it will be a reliable guide to truth and intimacy. #richardrohr #unity #faith #quote #spirituality #contemplative #hellolovelystudio

Oh, may our eyes see the glory and seek the glory when roses fade, when shadows fall.

And when shadows do fall,

Inspiring scripture verse from Corinthians about grace. #scriptureverse #faithquote #inspiringquote #grace #hellolovelystudio #corinthians

please know you have a sister here in the valley who understands the sacred sufferings of life lived in the depths.

Michele of Hello Lovely Studio. Photo: Jody Stella. #hellolovelystudio

Your sister loves you.

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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21 Comments

  1. Mumbai
    February 10, 2020 / 10:56 am

    …”let all what you do to be done in love”. This is so important and the results are always good

    • Michele
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:49 pm

      I so agree! Thank you for adding beauty here. 🙂

  2. February 10, 2020 / 12:17 pm

    Hi Michele, I loved the whole post especially your prayer! Thank you for including my floral paintings!
    xoxoxo

    • Michele
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:48 pm

      They are so meditative and prayerful, Holly. Thank you for creating with so much depth. xox

  3. Carol S.
    February 11, 2020 / 12:18 pm

    My favorite:

    When beauty finds me this day, may I be ever aware you are in it all.

    If heartache should come, may I be ever aware you are in it all.

    Beautiful inspirational words and images. I love my daily devotional Streams In the Desert…have the book but now open it online first thing daily, and it reminds me what I need to do that day. I sometimes forget to say THANK YOU GOD or HELP ME GOD in times of beauty or heartache, and when I remember, it’s like hitting my head, DUH!! (I should have had a V8?!) So imperfectly we get to follow Him each day!!

    • Michele
      Author
      February 11, 2020 / 3:56 pm

      So wonderful to do those daily devotionals – and yes – we keep falling asleep and need that V8 clunk on the head! Thank you for joining me on the journey and adding so much beauty here, Carol.

  4. judy gurney
    February 22, 2021 / 7:27 am

    What a beautiful post and exactly what I needed today to counter balance a lot of stress! I’ve been following you a long time and have found many, many great ideas that are going into my new house 🙂 Thank you.

    • Michele
      Author
      February 22, 2021 / 9:23 am

      And now you’re blessing me – thanks so much for putting a smile on my face, friend. Happy new week to you.

  5. Sharon
    February 22, 2021 / 9:47 am

    Thanks so much for this post. I seldom comment, but your such a blessing. God has definitely brought healing words from your suffering. I pray a healing blessing over your life and mission.

    • Michele
      Author
      February 24, 2021 / 10:01 am

      What a blessing it is to read your words and to feel reassured once again that God will recycle all of the unsavory, all of the pain. Nothing is lost or wasted so I need not fear how glory will eventually shine through all of the Mystery. In the process, there is so much humbling that happens, yes? To stay awake and not run or numb always takes courage, and so I’ll keep seeking the grace to be brave because left to my own devices, I will choose to sleep and will avoid pain even when I know it leads to growth. Peace to you. Thank you.

  6. Mumbai
    February 22, 2021 / 11:38 am

    I always try to master my life not shirk. Beautiful saying on Sunday. Stay well and grateful, dear Michele

    • Michele
      Author
      February 24, 2021 / 9:54 am

      Thank you, beautiful soul – for reading, for taking time to leave footprints here – for being an encourager to me. I appreciate it so much. xox

  7. February 23, 2021 / 7:40 am

    Hi Michele,
    Thank you for including my paintings today and linking to the beautiful story that you wrote about me and my journey! I read it again and had forgotten how lovely your words are. You have such a gift my friend!XOXO
    Holly

    • Michele
      Author
      February 24, 2021 / 9:52 am

      It’s all YOU and what you inspire, Holly. Thank you for allowing yourself to be a vessel through which so much beauty can travel to the canvas, the paper, and the internet. Your work heals and blesses so many of us. xox

  8. Amy
    February 25, 2021 / 3:23 pm

    Beautiful and AMEN to all of it! Living in prayer…how could I live any other way?! More than anything prayer, I feel, prepares my heart. Prepares it for God’s answers/will. He is so gracious to often send answers I desire but even when not, my heart thru prayer & by His grace & mercy is more enabled to receive His will. Thanks for sharing your heart & soul with us & ALWAYS encouraging us!

    • Michele
      Author
      February 25, 2021 / 8:23 pm

      What a wonderful testimony, Amy. I love what you’re expressing about preparation. Yes. It’s capacity I so often need, and what a miracle when it comes. Thank you for your tender heart and for reading as my fried. xox

  9. lee
    February 20, 2022 / 9:42 am

    Thank You, again. Just what I needed today! Better than church!!! Gods Blessings to you along your journey and so glad you share.
    I can’t wait to see your new house. Any Ideas when we can see pix?

    • Michele
      Author
      February 20, 2022 / 2:00 pm

      So wonderful to hear! Have a lovely week, Lee.

    • Michele
      Author
      February 20, 2022 / 2:02 pm

      It shouldn’t be too much longer. We have been tearing things apart so you can imagine the “during pictures” are not pretty or pinworthy or terribly helpful. My main challenge is time. Moving and renovating at the same time while working is for the birds! 🙂

  10. Carole
    February 21, 2022 / 11:22 am

    Your words are beautiful, Michelle. Thank you. I loved that you said living in prayer does not mean conversing with God with the spoken word all day. And… That is goes beyond carving out quantities of time for stretches of sillence and meditation to simply listen. I agree. Developing a good relationship with God is somewhat like it is with a person. When we’re interested, we take the time to observe them and we speak with them to get to know them. (Study the Bible) We share who we are with them and listen to their thoughts (Prayer) We also need the wisdom to separate their friends from their foes, so we aren’t deceived by smooth talking gossips. (The culture) To me, living a life of prayer is living a life focused on the most valuable relationship possible for me, my relationship with God, and it takes time and energy and action… Especially when’s He’s pointing me in a direction I’d rather not go at the moment. That’s when the wisdom to know that he’s God and I’m not, makes me humble enough and strong enough to follow.

    • Michele
      Author
      February 22, 2022 / 10:27 am

      What beauty and wisdom you are expressing so tenderly. Thank you, friend.

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing