In this set of devotions, Gwen invites us into her love affair with God. She paints a portrait of God—intimate, loving, compassionate, endlessly pursuing us so that we might turn into God’s tender embrace. These are the words and reflections of a faithful woman. Throughout her life, Gwen has learned to rest within the embrace of a God who loves and accepts us as we are, and at the same time loves us too much to leave us the way we are.
These are words spoken between two lovers. They are intimate words. They bespeak a deep love and a longing for closeness and affection. These words are whispered in the light and in the darkest recesses of the soul. They are words of joy and sorrow, hope and despair. These words are born in the interplay between wonder and apprehension. These words live in seasons marked by sunshine and dark clouds.
Gwen paints images of God in a wide variety of hues and colors. She has an incalculable imagination as she seeks to splash her vision of God on the canvas of these pages. She uses playful images that delight in the love that pours from God’s heart for all of God’s creation. Her images are powerful as they draw us into a more intimate relationship with God, and make our hearts dare to believe more deeply that God’s love is surely for us all.
Finally, Gwen has been in labor with this book throughout her adult life. The final push towards birth came with the medical crisis of her subdural hematoma. An urgency was born in her soul to give birth to this book. Each day now has an intense pleasure, the colors of the world more vibrant, the thrumming of God’s heart within her more vigorous.
In these words, I hear echoes of some of the great mystics of the past—Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen. Gwen’s words of pleasure and passion give us a glimpse into the heart of God, and are filled with hope and love.
In Book 8, Chapter 12 of his Confessions, St. Augustine tells of hearing a young child chanting “Take up and read.” It was a conversion moment for him. I encourage you to take up and read. You will find your own heart touched deeply by these glimpses into God’s heart.
Rev. Dr. Yme Woensdregt
Christ Church Anglican