Embracing the Mess: Spiritual Direction with Liesel Spicer

It’s summer, and I hope each of you experiences goodness, joy, and soul-nurture. In continuing our series on the value and experience of spiritual direction in our SoulStream community, today we have the opportunity to hear from Liesel Spicer. Thank you, Liesel. I’m deeply grateful for your sharing, for your willingness to reflect on how this journey has companioned you into deeper authenticity, greater comfortability with all of your life – mess and all! Your voice and your presence is so valued in our SoulStream community.
Deb Arndt

When Deb asked me to write about my experience and the value of spiritual direction, I quickly remembered a friend and fellow spiritual director who commented that once spiritual direction became a part of her life, it was hard to imagine doing life without it. I wholeheartedly concur!

It was this same friend – at the time a prayer ministry partner – who introduced me to spiritual direction. She was training in this unfamiliar mode of ministry and was trying to explain it to me. Although I didn’t fully understand what it was or how it worked, I felt drawn to its essence. My friend was taking training in a nearby city one evening a week, and although I was deeply drawn, I knew that schedule would not fit with my present life circumstances. Not long after this, another friend within the same ministry told me that she, too, was taking spiritual direction training. I felt that same pull and desire rise up within me as she shared. This second friend lived in a more remote area and discovered SoulStream, which offered training in intensives. That was a better fit for my life circumstances at the time.

I registered for Living from the Heart only because it was the mandatory prerequisite for spiritual direction training. I was actually a little bothered that I had to take this course before the spiritual direction training because I wanted to jump right into this new ministry model. So began my rather blind leap into the contemplative lifestyle and a series of surprises from God. I remember so well my first intensive, wondering what in the world I had signed up for, and if all I was hearing and witnessing was actually “okay” with God, as it was quite different from what I was accustomed to hearing in my sequestered evangelical world.

I still look back with great appreciation and affection for my first spiritual director (thank you, BF!), who patiently journeyed with this performance-oriented and perfectionistic newbie to spiritual direction, navigating deeply ingrained compulsions to “do,” “get ’er fixed,” and remain “shiny” (what an illusion!).

Concepts and practices like welcoming prayer were at first incomprehensible to me – why in the world would I welcome anything “ungodly” without an expectation for it to be eradicated as fast as possible by the victorious and holy Christ? But somehow – miraculously, mysteriously, and at times painstakingly slowly – through the unfolding in spiritual direction, I discovered a Liesel who didn’t have to try so hard, was okay to be in the mess, and was still fully loved, adored, and embraced in this state. Huh. And then there came Jesus, right into the midst of it with me, not afraid to get his glorious white robe dirty beside me. It was a new concept of holy ground, with the fertilizer of life in grand abundance, providing the opportunity for growth in life and faith in a very different (and better!) manner than I had imagined. The ongoing experiences of Jesus showing up just happy to be with me in the middle of the mess encouraged me to be braver, to be my authentic self – with myself and others.

And so here I am today, wearing my stained, non-shiny play clothes, much more comfortable with life, self, God, and others. My monthly spiritual direction is a fairly regular appointment. Like my friend said, it’s hard for me to imagine life without this ongoing, life-giving practice. When life is crazy, chaotic, and full of distractions, this hour with another who listens on my behalf and keeps me focused is a gift where I am welcomed to the holy, inhabited place of love to just be with what is. I am also privileged to sit with a few directees to facilitate this same seeking of communion with God in the midst of “life” and all it entails.

*Source: PartnerConnect June 28, 2024

Liesel Spicer lives a small-town life in rural Alberta, where she is gratefully fairly close geographically to her adult children and preschool granddaughter. She is currently on a temporary leave from her work in the Community Services department of the municipality so she can be alongside her parents who are aging in place in their home three blocks away from Liesel’s home. Liesel presently is chairperson of Wholeness Through Christ Canada/USA, a ministry devoted to people experiencing a growing wholeness in God. She also offers spiritual direction to a small number of directees.


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