FAITH NEWS SERVICE – Being alone has gained somewhat of a negative reputation with the COVID-19 pandemic and with stories of Americans suffering from loneliness as a result of sheltering in place. But isolation and solitude should not be confused. While isolation is often associated with loneliness, solitude is recognized as vital by many.
Henri Nouwen, professor, author, and pastor of the twentieth century, had strong thoughts on the spiritual benefits of being alone. “Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.”* According to an NIV devotional, “solitude also has the meaning of ‘absence of human activity.’ . . . The purpose is not to be alone but to experience the absence of human activity so that we can more fully experience the presence of God.”**
Author Sharon Lamson has particular insight into solitude, or more specifically sanctuary, which she defines as a time of being alone, removed from all distractions, focused on conversing with God, and meditating, resting, thinking, and listening to the Holy Spirit. In her encouraging devotional for women, Seeking Sanctuary: Finding God, Lamson discusses her need and hunger for regular sanctuary and the spiritual benefits and lessons that have resulted.
“For me, sanctuary is a safe place for intimate conversations with God that set the stage for sharing my problems, hurts, and emotions or just a time of listening for the lessons he has for me,” Lamson said.
God’s lessons for Lamson often come in the form of nature. With Lamson’s love for God’s creation, she shares within her book of the ways God has used her observations of birds, flowers, or even a single blade of grass to reveal Scripture and teachings. Readers will resonate with Lamson’s stories of her challenges, struggles, and successes, which are weaved throughout the devotional.
“I want readers to know that God can talk to them, and this devotional encourages them to look for opportunities for connection with him,” she said. “I know personally that taking time to look for him and talk to him has been adrenaline for my soul and has transformed my life, and I want that for my readers as well.”
Seeking Sanctuary: Finding God includes brief questions for reflection at the end of each chapter, which will encourage readers to look for and turn to God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Lamson is a talented author, editor, and copywriter, with published works for both adults and children. She is especially proud of a seven-book fictional series she coauthored, which received recognition from the International Board on Books for Young People. Sharon lives in Michigan and cherishes spending time in God’s creation, most notably enjoying prayer walks along the shores of Lake Michigan. With a loving husband, five adult children, and nine grandchildren, Sharon is never short for new stories.
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