by Boni Piper
Overlooking Admiralty Strait, is an acre of land I sometimes call “My happy place”. There is a peace that comes over me here that I relish. There have been profound moments with God here. As usual, he speaks in the silence this place provides. It was here I felt God’s love so profoundly, here he comforted me when sorrow overwhelmed me, here where the Lord pressed upon my soul the words, “The Lord has promised good to me. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed I have a beautiful inheritance” (Psalm 16). It’s not this plot of land that is my inheritance, but the presence of God in my life. “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices.”
Interestingly, it was in this little cabin on a cliff that the CFDM Formation Program was born. At that time CFDM NW only had a Spiritual Direction Program in the infant stages of development. Julie Anderton was the director of that program. We spent hours here, days even, discussing two things. 1. How to improve the Spiritual Direction program. 2. How people really do go deeper in their life with God. Concluding that happened through practicing the spiritual disciplines God sets forth in scripture, the Formation program for CFDM was born. It became my passion from the first year of its birth. Many things have changed since then and a year 2 was added, but the purpose has stayed the same: To facilitate a Christian’s experience of God in order for them to know who they are to God and who God is to them. And in knowing that, to live a life for the sake of Christ and others.
One of the greatest joys of my life has been to see Christians come to realize how much God loves them. To watch them truly believe that they/we are the Beloved of God! Why don’t we already know that? So many Christians are paralyzed by their guilt and shame and as a result, hide from God and become useless in the Kingdom. Do we not truly believe that Christ’s sacrifice was enough to forgive and redeem us? Do we not truly believe the Holy Spirit’s presence in us actually empowers us? “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5). For many people, CFDM’s Formation year helped them look at the yoke that bound them. Many have experienced moments of freedom and the intimacy with God that allowed them to cast the yoke of slavery off. Most came away knowing they were God’s Beloved and he was their Savior, the lover of their soul. And I was one of them!
I have often said, “I just don’t get grace. It makes no sense!” But year after year I witnessed Grace and my soul has been melted/healed/empowered to live more fully “For the Sake of Others” (Spiritual Formation 2). Leading CFDM programs has given me more than I could ever hope to give to those in the programs and I am truly thankful.
Thank you to all the participants, faculty and Board that journeyed with me through years of Spiritual Formation. I don’t think there has been any calling in my life that has fed me more. I am so blessed to know Gwen Shipley also has the Formation passion. As she partners with Terry Tripp in leading CFDM, I know God will continue to pour out his blessing.
I will be continuing my work in Path from Poverty (pathfrompoverty.org) and hopefully, spending more time with my grandchildren. My heart is full, and so,
for this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (Ephesians 3)
May it be so!