Will You Let Me Care For You?

I am a journal keeper.

I’m so grateful that our editor at Conversations invited us to use lectio and listen for God regarding our past year. Frankly, I had never considered the idea.

Lectio has traditionally four phases: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation), oratio (prayer), and contemplatio (contemplation or resting).

The first phase, lectio is a listening way of reading that invites patient waiting for the Word (Jesus) to reveal Himself and, boy, has he ever.

Over and over in my journal I had written during my times of listening for God, phrases like relax – have fun, release (worries), let me lead you, surrender your (expectations).

Even as I reviewed some of my art work, God was saying, “Bless yourself first.” My beloved therapist has said, “Juanita put yourself first on the list of priorities.”

At other times God was inviting “rest from exhaustion”, “streamline your activities”, “just be”, and  “enjoy what gives you life”. These words flood my journal on countless days.

Lectio over the past year of my journal could be summarized in so many words as God asking, “Will You let me care for you—my way?”

The second phase of Lectio Divina, the meditatio (meditation), is the invitation to ponder and ruminate what was read and to quietly savor the Word, and meditate upon it in expectation. I felt particularly drawn to a certain day in July where two dear friends and I hiked together on the San Ysidro Trail in California while on retreat. The journal entry was clearly my “word” from the Lord. It read, “Juanita, source your life from adventure not out of illness.” I have always believed that illness is a teacher, one that has profoundly informed my life. But now God was saying that there is another powerful teacher available to me now. I began to realize that God was really cool with me “blessing myself first”. God was inviting me to pursue the adventures that I had put off and postponed. God was saying, “Have fun, I’ll take care of you!”

The third phase of Lectio Divina is oratio or prayer. It’s a response to the Word from the deep place in our hearts. It may be in words or even just a sense of feeling loved. As I hiked the San Ysidro Trail that day my prayer rose up in song. I marveled at the beauty all around me. I was captivated, by the morning dew on the leaves as our elevation rose. The sun beamed into every crack and crevice every branch and stream. My oratio, my prayer was a song and I sang it loudly. I sang, “Bless the Lord Oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name.”

Contemplatio (contemplation), it’s been said, is a divine gift that the Lord in His goodness gives us. In contemplation, one is totally passive, held by the mystery of God. I have heard it described essentially as a gaze, God’s gaze into us, and our gaze of faith back at Him. Looking over the past year and particularly the experience last July, I felt the gaze and in being with the memory again I want to sing to the top of my lungs. I will bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me blesses his holy name. He has done great things, God has invited me into a way of living, and being that offers me the freedom I’ve longed for. I am re-feeling God’s love just as I did along the San Ysidro trail. I’m so grateful for having used lectio over the past year. I feel a kind of confidence, a new awareness that if God was interested in caring for me last year then how much more this year.

A few great tools for using Lectio Divina in your own life:

Praying Our Experiences by Joseph F. Schmidt

For a fresh teaching on Lectio check out Chris Webb’s new release, The Fire of the Word: Meeting God on Holy Ground 

Join the Conversation

What experience from the past year do you feel drawn to revisit, as Juanita did?

What keeps you from spending time review and understanding what God has said to you in the past?

Juanita Campbell Rasmus:
Juanita Rasmus Conversations JournalJuanita Campbell Rasmus is an inspirational speaker, motivational teacher, author, and founding board member of the Bread of Life Homeless Project. Juanita and her husband Rudy co-pastor Saint John’s United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas.
    • yang

      “Will You let me care for you—my way?” That kind of sums it up. Rest in Him through the small and large trials. If Jesus could sleep in the bottom of the boat during the storm, then who am I to worry. I’m listening, praying and studying the word. Great conversation Juanita.

      • juanita campbell rasmus

        Yang, thanks so much for your comment. Please help me share the beauty
        of the Conversatons Journal. My blog usually post on the 15th of the month.
        Love ya, Juanita

      • Kunisha

        This is so so true!!I have not been letting GOD do this for me. I am rady to let go take care of me and not asking for a man to take care of me. I love GOD !!!

    • Desiree

      Those words touched my soul. I have had 3 knee replacements and have felt like I am limited in what I do. I’m thinking it could of been a limitation in me not of the surgeries. I have done Lectio Divina before but not felt the same results. I will continue using it and prayerfully will have an experience like you spoke of, fit for me, of course. What great words to start my day with. Thank you.

      • juanita campbell rasmus

        Desiree, thanks for your comment.
        I am learning that the practice takes practice.
        Stay strong more will be revealed.
        Love ya,

    • A wonderful writing on Lectio Divina. A practice that should be incorporated daily in our lives. It’s the very life of God in our daily living…it’s recognizing Him, Experiencing Him, and Resting in His amazing and prodound love. Juanita has captured it in its fullness!

      • juanita campbell rasmus

        Thanks Marie!
        You are so right!
        Love ya,

    • Tahieta

      Insightful and useful. The examples of each phase of Lectio are on point. The solitude of a moment to listen for assurance from God is undeniably one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves.

      • juanita campbell rasmus

        Thanks Tahieta,
        Love ya,

    • Lauren Santerre

      What a timely post as I am preparing for our upcoming Women’s Retreat: Love Thyself. I think that so often we as women have a head knowledge that we have to take care of ourselves, but it doesn’t penetrate our heart. We are constantly communing with God on behalf of others, but often not on behalf of ourselves–not in the real geniune sense. I’ve struggled with a chronic daily headache for 8 years and I am finally putting serious time, effort, and energy into finding the cause and solution. It’s crazy. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this retreat–to help women remember that we are precious and God does want us to take care of ourselves. We have to or we really aren’t able to be fully present to anything. I am hoping in the upcoming years I can be more present and closer to wholeness for those activities and people that God places in my life.

      Keep praying my friend and keep listening. The Spirit is often whispering….


      • juanita campbell rasmus

        Thanks for all you do, and for the retreat.
        Love ya,

    • Ava

      As usual, you sharing is timely and relevant. Thank you.

      • juanita campbell rasmus

        Thanks Ava !
        Love ya,

    • Phillip

      Thank You!

      • juanita campbell rasmus

        Thank You Philip!
        sending Love your way,

    • Juanita,

      The phrase “source your life from adventure” captured my heart. How would this change my life if I were to live from ” I could do this or that, be this or that…” instead of ” I should do this, be that …” An exciting proposition to say the least!

      One of my favorite phrases is ” See the Divine in all Living Things”. So if in looking for God in all things, I shift my perspective to look for adventure (God) in all things…How much fun life can be!

      Wonderful reflection on Lectio. Thank you!

      Love and Hugs,
      Susan Grace