Holiness in our Midst: Session 68


Holiness in our Midst


In a series of Lenten sermons, my pastor, Mary Jane Button-Harrison from First Christian Church in Ames, IA, explored the subject of personal renewal and growth during these trying times. With her permission, I share one of the questions from a series of “take home” exercises she handed out in a bulletin insert:

How do you renew, hit the “pause button?”

My answer is to take out my trusty yellow legal pad and do some journaling. The entries are functionally letters to God. They serve the purpose of anchoring whatever thoughts are preventing me from focusing on the tasks at hand. The act of writing down my real thoughts and feelings calms me down before I head back into my daily routine. (The “letters” can be divided into four categories: wonderment, gratitude, questionings, and desperate pleas for mercy.)

Pausing with pen in hand is the main way that I pray. I view the events, experiences, and encounters that come my way each day as God’s answers to these written prayers. In that way, my journal/letters are a form of dialogue with God, a constant source of renewal.  Sometimes I wonder: What if Jesus had a pen and paper when He went off by himself for “alone” time? How would His Record read?

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: How do you hit the “pause button,” renew?


  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Write about renewal in your journal, using the Story Circle Prompt. Also, try re-creating Jesus’ journal from His time in the wilderness, or moments away from His disciples, or His last hours on Earth as he waited alone in the Garden.


  1.   Read aloud Session LXVIII.  
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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