In Her He Dwells and Shines His Light
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds… let us encourage one another… (Hebrews 10:24, 25b NIV).
Her name is of Spanish origin and means “light,” and that’s no surprise because that’s exactly what I noticed when I first met my friend Lucinda Secrest McDowell.
Sometimes I like to imagine what God witnesses from His heavenly perspective. I’d like to think He looks down and smiles — taking joy in seeing His plans and purposes being fulfilled by those who, imperfect though they are, seek to walk in His ways and seek His face.
Like the spring day in 2016 when my path crossed Lucinda’s at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference at Ridgecrest near Asheville, North Carolina. We met first in the hall — between classes. She was a teacher. I was (and am) a student. Somehow we started talking, and she noticed my necklace — a small silver bauble that, when opened, revealed three tiny blue eggs. This “nest” necklace was given to me by another dear friend after Allie joined our family in 2012, and Lucinda commented, “I love it!”
Later that day, I attended one of her workshops where I was introduced to her then most recently published book, Dwelling Places. I noticed that there was a photograph of a nest on its cover, and my wheels started turning. A theme.
After the conference was over, I returned home and ordered a necklace like mine for Lucinda — only with four blue eggs inside, symbolizing her four children. It was to be shipped to her home in Connecticut. Connecticut, I thought. I’ve never been to Connecticut. But God’s connected me with this writer from Connecticut. I wonder what He’s up to.
Several weeks later, I received a thoughtful thank you in the mail. She’d been delighted to receive my gift, though I was equally delighted that she was delighted. And thus, our long-distance friendship began.
I’m not sure when I first learned of the writer’s retreat that she helps facilitate, but over the course of the next couple years, through occasional emails and correspondence — including becoming friends on Facebook — I learned of it and began considering attending this event, which is held in early October.
Last spring, I talked with Bill, and we decided that it would work for me to attend the following October. My flight was booked and excitement grew. I’d never been to the New England states, and I imagined October would be the perfect time.
No doubt, Connecticut was breathtaking! I enjoyed a weekend with others in West Hartford — all gathered at the Holy Family Retreat Center in the glory of autumn for reNEW, a retreat for writers and speakers. (For more information, visit www.renewwriting.com.)
While away, there was ample time to write, read and take quiet walks. I met some amazing people and marveled at the gracious gifts that God’s given to so many — His tender heart revealed through beautiful men and women who speak and write His words, thus offering healing to a world in need.
But what stands out most in my memory of that weekend is the encouragement I received. Lucinda and others shined the light of Christ on everyone in attendance, spurring each of us on in our passion to play a part in God’s bigger plan — using words as mighty weapons or winnowing whispers.
Yesterday I had the privilege to again attend the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference — though just for the day. I sat under some wonderful teachers and came away inspired to continue seeking God concerning how He desires to use me and the words He’s placed within me.
One class I attended was Lucinda’s. She spoke on discovering themes and weaving them into our messages — a “thread” that not only holds everything together but creates beauty throughout and within.
And I couldn’t help but think of how the Master Weaver so beautifully and creatively uses threads in our lives to connect us with those who will spur us on to good works — encourage us toward love and good deeds.
Lucinda has been that for me and for many, and I clearly see God’s extraordinary character revealed in the light she shines — which is the light of the One who dwells within her.
One beautiful and unique thing she always does before closing her workshops in prayer is to sing a hymn over her students. She told us yesterday, “God sings over us (Zeph.3:17), and He asked me years ago to sing over you. Here goes.”
So Lucinda, today I desire to sing over you in return. May you be blessed abundantly, as you’ve been a blessing to me and many.
Gracious Spirit, dwell with me:
I myself would gracious be;
And with words that help and heal
Would Thy life in mine reveal;
And with actions bold and meek
Would for Christ my Savior speak.
Truthful Spirit, dwell with me:
I myself would truthful be;
And with wisdom kind and clear
Let Thy life in mine appear;
And with actions [sisterly]
Speak my Lord’s sincerity.
(From “Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me” by Thomas T. Lynch)
Thank you for being one in whom the Spirit dwells. I am one who has been abundantly blessed by the Light you shine.
Watch for Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s newest book, arriving November 2019. Life-Giving Choices will make a wonderful Christmas gift. And check out her website — www.EncouragingWords.net.
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