Monday, December 14, 2015


In her book, A Circle of Quiet. Madeleine L’Engle called the word, “ontology,” her, “word-for-the-summer.” For an extended period of time, that word continued to unfold and come alive to her. The meaning of ontology has a lot to do with creativity and teaching. Both of those things are part of the legacy Madeleine L’Engle lived and left for us to enjoy.

Madeleine L’Engle was born in 1917 and died in 2007. She probably knew little of the thousands of people every year who choose a One Word.

I believe words have been finding people for a long time.

It has happened that way for me. Single words arriving uninvited and rearranging the furniture of my life and heart.

To focus on a single word seems narrow and small, in a world so full of words.

I wrote about my One Word for 2015 here.


I was sure that I didn't want a word like that.

I told you about my experience in the ocean while scuba diving. A vast body of water, magnificent and powerful. The liquid beauty that stretches out in all directions and seems to drop off on the edge of the horizon. Even on relatively calm days, waves can rise higher than buildings. 

But the thing about the ocean?  

Walking on the shore is wonderful. To sail in open water is refreshing. But to never go below the surface is to have missed the greatest part of the ocean.

You have to go deeper to find the greater wonders. 

When you dip below the surface there is an almost instant feeling of awe and freedom.

It is other-worldly.

Gravity is changed to buoyancy. You are held in its weightlessness and astounded at the silence. Even in all the odd trappings of SCUBA gear, you are no longer aware of anyone's appearance but entirely caught up in the wonder of your surroundings. It causes you to be enthralled with the experience and empty of thoughts about material things.

Your eyes are wide open and all your senses are on alert. 

That is a bit of what this year has been for me and going deeper.

That is very much how I see God.

According to 1828 Webster dictionary, the word deeper is to, "thrust or plunge." It is to extend far below the surface. To go beyond the superficial and obvious. To go deeper is to peer into the hidden, profound and secret things.

It is to pierce beyond the surface of shallow.

I think I need to hear that again. 

Going deeper is to move past what is shallow.

Oh, the joy of simply moving past small talk!

To get past the formal nice-ness of admiring each others temporal stuff.

I want  to hear your messy story and enter into your untidy life and rejoice in the broken places God is using to reveal His glory.

This year has been getting past that kind of stuff and pressing in.

Pressing into the Word.

My one word, deeper, has drawn me into the Word ––deeper.

I don't know why that would surprise me.

This has pushed me to get up early to make time to read. And I've been keeping a private journal which is honestly not my thing. And I've been uncomfortably learning to be okay with really imperfect blogging and the sharing of my heart in my public journal.

It's been about spending many days alone, in the quiet. Leaning in and listening to what the Spirit is teaching me.

Going deeper has been risky and a tiny bit a lot, uncomfortable.

This year I left a perfectly good paying job and working with a-m-a-z-i-n-g people, to do things that are unseen and unpaid.

And even though there isn't a shred of evidence that what I've been doing matters at all, I feel like, maybe for the first time in a long time, I am doing what really counts.

My going deeper has largely involved being in the Word more and praying more.

It has resulted in a deeper surrender and an unexplainable love that has risen even in the face of difficulty.

This year has been full of highs and lows. 

There has been great life events and drama.

The heaviness of death and the weightlessness of grace.

There has been the ever, surging, seasons of change.

There has been the hard and the familiar, the beautiful and the truly dark.

But to the God, I serve, even the dark is light. (Thank you, to my friend, Kathy who reminded me of this verse.)

This year, going deeper has involved deeper conversations, a deeper desire to know God. a deeper joy, deeper healing, deeper truth, and deeper hope.

I've spent far too much time walking along the shoreline and drifting on the surface ––of the vastness of who God is.

Madeleine L'Engle was changed by her "word-for-the-summer."

My word "deeper" has pierced the mundane and the apathetic and altered how I see life and hopefully how I live life.

Can I encourage you too?

Don't just stand on the shore. Take the risk and plunge into the deep places God is calling you to.

Going deeper isn't a way to play it safe, but it is a way to live life well.

Tell me what has been messing with your heart?

Tell me how I can pray?

Tell me, what I can do to help you as you journey this life?



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© Rhonda Quaney