Written by Tonya Stanfield, this is Part 1 of our 4 part series, “A series on Stages of Faith and Spiritual Crisis: How to recognize it; disciple it; or find hope as you journey through it."
“My concern is that Evangelicals have not paid anything like the necessary attention to this major theme, spiritual development of Christian life and thought. As a result, evangelicalism has become impoverished.” Theologian Alister McGrath
In a discipleship training seminar, I vulnerably detailed a season of burn-out and ensuing spiritual crisis with the hope students would see vital fruit born out of a season of painful deconstruction. Instead, a student asked: “What can I do to ensure that this never happens to me?” No doubt, I bumbled over a less than eloquent answer. His question revealed serious (yet very common) foundational flaws in his approach to Christian growth and discipleship. There was just no time to tell him what I will tell you:
“We are not saved from the human journey: We are saved because Jesus refuses to leave us alone in it.” – Rachel Kenny
Written by Tonya Stanfield, this is Part 4 of our 4 part series, “Christian Practices that Transform” exploring different contemplative practices and how they deepen your spiritual foundation.
This week’s contemplative practice: Centering Prayer
I’ll admit it: I turn into the worst version of myself when my husband travels. Is it the extra carpooling during peak traffic hours? Or, is it that my son gets ready for school at a mind-numbing, geriatric pace? Who knows? But, when my husband took a trip during a particularly demanding season… to say I was merely unhappy about it would be a vast understatement.
Written by Tonya Stanfield, this is Part 3 of our 4 part series, “Christian Practices that Transform” exploring different contemplative practices and how they deepen your spiritual foundation.
This Week’s Contemplative Practice: Breath Prayer
Christian Practices should not teach us to escape the world, but rather to inhabit this life more abundantly.
My son has ADHD, plus he’s on the spectrum and hard of hearing. There are days he’s his adorable and brilliant self, but there are days I wish I had a store to return him to. So, let’s just say my decision to homeschool for the 1st time ever… in a run-down, tiny hotel room… on a 6 – week outreach trip to Cambodia… during the HOT season… may have erred more toward the side of insane than courageous. I thought: “How hard could it be?” (Insert deranged laughter.)
Written by Tonya Stanfield, this is Part 2 of our 4 part series, “Christian Practices that Transform” exploring different contemplative practices and how they deepen your spiritual foundation.
This Week’s Contemplative Practice: Lectio Divina (Divine Reading)
Did you know language is not your first language?
Check this out: A newborn’s sight is limited to 8 to 10 inches from her face. So, Mommy or Daddy (or primary care-giver) has the privilege of being the first image to imprint on baby’s mind! Images are part of our first language.
Written by Tonya Stanfield, this is Part 1 of our 4 part series, “Christian Practices that Transform” exploring different contemplative practices and how they deepen your spiritual foundation.
“If you do not fall in love with God, spiritual disciplines will become legalism.”
Through tears of shame, a ministry worker confessed to me: “I hate reading my Bible.” Staring at the ground, she painfully explained the vicious cycle:
1. She feels guilty for not wanting to read her Bible.
2. She finally reads her Bible to relieve the guilt.
3. She feels even more guilty because she doesn’t get anything out of it.
4. Rinse and Repeat.
By: Tonya Stanfield
This blog was originally published by Wholly Mother.
She had twin toddlers, a rambunctious 3 year-old, and a weariness that hangs about those who suffer from a never-ending marathon of sleep deprived nights. Looking back, I owe her a heartfelt apology. She asked with absolute, exhausted sincerity, “But, how can I have a devotional life? My kids never nap at the same time. I get 45 minutes a day to everything I can’t when they’re awake… and most the time, I just want to sleep.” My naïve, child-less, twenty-something version of myself assured her it was possible. After all, I taught seminars on maintaining a sensational devotional life, so I was sure she simply wasn’t prioritizing her schedule properly: Surely bible reading was more important than laundry folding! However, the more I talked, the thicker the cloud of despair settling over her face. 20 years, 2 degrees, 1 extroverted girl and 1 ADHD poster-child later, I finally figured out what was wrong with that conversation: I was an idiot. I also figured out one other thing. You can have a vibrant devotional life after kids, but it will look entirely different.
also has a teaching, writing, and speaking ministry. Her heart is to raise, deepen, and challenge disciples of Jesus. She's part of the Center for Christian Formation and Discipleship and lectures at both a Masters and Undergraduate level for YWAM's University of the Nations. She's also training to be a spiritual director and is an enneagram coach. We thought you might enjoy some of her blogs...