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A Slender Thread, Indeed

Last week we received a text from Emma, our Communications Coordinator at Fall Creek Abbey, who now lives in Fairfax, VA. She shared with us an “incredible God-moment” that she recently experienced. Here’s what she wrote:

Hi Beth and Dave! I experienced such an incredible God moment last week and want to share with you.

My boss recently hired a man to be a part of my team. Last week, he introduced himself and gave each of the team members a devotional he wrote and had published. In turn, I gave him my copy of Prayers at Twilight that I had in my desk. He was looking at the book and said, “Oh, I think I’ve heard of Fall Creek Abbey.”

He proceeded to tell me that he went on a retreat in Oklahoma at Abbey of the Heights earlier this year. It was there that he made the decision to leave his career as a pastor and pursue a position at my company as a writer. He was sharing his story and said, “During my retreat, Peter White let me use these cool cards that helped me with discernment in making that decision.” He proceeded to show me a picture of the Examen Q’s!!!

God is SO good. It is He who orchestrated every moment in my life to get to this point of intersection with my new co-worker—to be led to work for Fall Creek Abbey, to be a part of your Examen Q idea, to open the door for me to move to Virginia, and then to eventually work for Pinkston. And is it He who orchestrated every moment in this man’s life to get him here… finding Peter White and Abbey of the Heights, using the Examen Q’s and then experiencing the whirlwind of job hunting/hurdles to finally be placed on my team.

I am so in awe of the creativity and faithfulness of our God. How incredible He is! I am thankful to know the both of you and to be a part of the beautiful, life-changing work of Fall Creek Abbey. Sending my love to you this day, friends!!

Isn’t this story remarkable!? You can feel Emma’s exuberance as she retells it. You may not be able to follow everything in the text, so let me help connect the dots, starting with how we met Emma.

  • In the fall of 2019, we hosted the Communications team from the Indiana District of the UMC for a retreat. Emma was part of that team. I facilitated the retreat and when they introduced themselves, Emma mentioned that she worked “part-time” for the team. My ears perked up! Soon after, I made contact with Emma, and we hired her to work part-time for us—one of the best decisions we’ve ever made!

  • About a year and a half later, Emma moved to Virginia but continued to work for us remotely. She became integrally involved in two projects over the last couple years: our Examen Q’s, a deck of 35 cards with a spiritual-direction-type-question on each, and Prayers at Twilight: Daily Liturgies for the In-between Times, a prayer book based on our core values. We couldn’t have accomplished these two projects without Emma.

  • At some point during the pandemic, we were contacted by Peter White, a spiritual director in Tulsa, OK, who was interested in opening a retreat house similar to Fall Creek Abbey. Many conversations ensued. Peter opened the Abbey of the Heights last spring, and we will be assisting Peter this fall as he begins a School of Spiritual Direction.

  • Soon after Abbey of the Heights opened, Emma’s future co-worker retreated there, was introduced to the Examen Q’s, a resource which helped him discern a career change and led him to take a job on Emma’s team.

  • During their introduction, Emma felt a prompting to give him a copy of Prayers at Twilight. When her co-worker looked it over, he recognized Fall Creek Abbey and the dots were connected!

And now we, as a result, can bear witness to the slender thread that has stitched our previously unrelated lives together. A God-moment, indeed!

I am drawn to the image of a slender thread connecting disparate events in our lives. It’s a term we became familiar with from Robert A. Johnson’s book, Balancing Heaven and Earth, and we wrote a chapter about slender threads in our book, When Faith Becomes Sight. Slender threads describe the connective tissue between our external realities and God’s hidden involvement in our lives and relationships.

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve become aware of a slender thread while gathering around the table at Fall Creek Abbey. During conversation, one person will make an unexpected connection with another person at the table, when moments before they assumed each other to be unrelated, perfect strangers!

Aren’t we all, whether conscious or unconscious, yearning for reassurance that God is present and involved in our lives and world? And sometimes, like with this string of events and relationships, we’re rewarded! A slender thread emerges, encouraging us that God is here; that we are on the right track, that we are not alone, but are inextricably connected to the Divine and one another! May we all be looking for and rewarded with these revelations today!


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