Quiet Places: Shared Wisdom from a Guest Branch

Today and next time here at the Branch in the Vine, I am honored to share words of wisdom from a new friend, Mary Petzinger. Mary and I met at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, NC this fall. As we shared with each other bits and pieces of our lives, we discovered that we had much in common humanly and spiritually. And our husbands also have a common interest, "Evidence of the Creator in the Creation" (Intelligent Design).


Of her life, Mary shares:

My husband Ken and I live in Williamsburg, VA, where we have raised our three children. We love being involved with them and our three grandchildren. 

For about eight years I’ve met with a small Writer’s Group twice a month under the mentorship of a friend who is a published author. We share our lives through our writing, sharpening our skills while at the same time challenging us each to grow in our walk with the Lord. 

When I found out that Mary writes, I invited her to be a "guest branch" on this blog. I love the essays she sent me. They are in response to my word of the year "Rest." So you better believe that I'm taking notes.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing what the Lord has given you:


Quiet Places
In his book The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen spoke of silence as a portable cell or sanctuary, a place of transformation that can be carried into ministry. Yet true as that is in active ministry, my ministry now is mainly to family and those that God brings across my path. Even when I’m with family, my heart longs for a quiet place in the midst of chaos. In my oldest daughter Karen’s home it is her sunroom, decorated in a nautical theme. I search for things in the beach painting in front of me – the shapes of the clouds, the rocks at the edge of the water that soothe my soul and help clear my mind.
At my daughter Amy’s, it’s her piano room – the place I sip tea early in the morning, spending precious time with God before the rest of the crew is up.  Here I can watch the first rays of the sun, sometimes even celebrate a glorious sunrise.  And on our family vacation in Duck, it can be a balcony with an ocean view, or an early morning walk to the beach, preferably before sunrise. Last year I started to head back because of the clouds – until I turned around one last time to see them divide just enough to reveal the radiance of the sun. My mind went quickly to Psalm 19 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands!”
Here in my home, my heart draws me to my very own beach mural, painted years ago by Karen, when our office was her bedroom. Seated on the love seat across the room, I can imagine a sunrise or sunset, and even see the eye or the finger of God in some of clouds. During a recent sleepover Cade and Caitlyn, our grandchildren, slipped downstairs and joined me in the search. 
Since my birthday the scene has been enhanced by a lighted slow mist diffuser that found a perfect place just beneath the mural, changing the colors of the ocean and the sky as if it were an actual sunrise or sunset – an ever changing display of God’s glory. The diffuser, a gift from Karen, is used with essential oils such as Breathe and On Guard that ease my allergies and help strengthen my immune system. But in the process it brings healing to my soul as well as my body.
The nearly invisible mist reminds me of the Spirit of God – the pneuma, or very breath of God.  When I breathe in His Spirit I am calmed and quieted. The ever changing colors not only enhance the effect of the mural, but remind me of my God-given emotions. The blues and lavenders represent the peace and serenity I long for, while the yellows and oranges bring joy and praise to my heart. 
Even more than that, they give me insight into the character of God. Not only of His creative artistry, but of the foundational truth that He is always changing, yet ever the same. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. And we are also told in the book of Revelation that Jesus will one day make everything new. Here on earth, God is shaping and molding us through all of our experiences, to make us more like Him. We are told that “Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.” 2 Cor. 4:16. And also that “One day when He appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as he is.” I John 3:2