Spiritual Renewal in Times of Crisis

Spiritual Renewal in Times of Crisis: How to "Eat, Pray, Love" Here and Now

By Patheos Team

Photo courtesy of maryn0503 via C.C. license at Flickr Faced with an unexpected personal crisis, each of us is propelled on a unique journey through grief, without a clear road map or how-to instructions. With the recent release of the movie Eat, Pray, Love, about one woman's spiritual quest after a bitter divorce, we've been thinking about the ways each of us seeks renewal, specifically in times of crisis. And while author Elizabeth Gilbert's journey led her on an extended pilgrimage far from her home in NYC, we couldn't help but wonder:  How do you seek spiritual renewal when you can't leave your family, your job, your mortgage payment?

We reached out to some of our favorite bloggers to share their thoughts on the question:  When you can't drop everything for a year-long spiritual pilgrimage, how/where do you seek spiritual renewal in times of personal crisis?  Their very personal responses follow.Join the conversation by posting a comment below.

Our bloggers:
Amy Julia Becker, author and student at Princeton Theological Seminary
Kara Root, Pastor of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church
Jason Derr, Theologian-In-Affiliation with the Progressive Christian Alliance
Monica A. Coleman, Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions at Claremont School of Theology
Rachel Evans, author and speaker
Carl Gregg, Pastor of Broadview Church in Calvert County, MD
Renee Miller, Episcopal priest, author, entrepreneur
Bruce Epperly, Professor of Practical Theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary and co-pastor of Disciples United Community Church in Lancaster, PA
Susan Baller-Shepard, Editor-in-Chief of SpiritualBookClub.com


Amy Julia BeckerAmy Julia Becker

When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer, it was hard to trust God. After our daughter was born with Down syndrome, my heart felt too raw to pray. And that was where the body of Christ came in. When my faith is weakest, when the world is at its darkest, when I am not even sure that God exists, I don't pray much. My Bible often sits unopened. I don't seek out retreats or workshops. Instead, I rely on the prayers of others to carry me back to Jesus. They've brought me home every time.

Amy Julia Becker is an author and seminary student at Princeton Theological Seminary. She blogs at Thin Places.


Kara RootKara Root

When I'm frenzied, overwhelmed,
I seek God in the forest, amidst creation's great cacophony of silence.
When I'm drained, doubting,
I find God in words, ideas, conversations, disagreements.
When I'm jumbled, disconnected,
I seek God with mug, pen, and journal, in a crowded café.
When I'm unsuspecting, unaware,
I find God in my children's piercing honesty and peace-filled sleep.
When I'm empty, yearning,
I seek God in liturgy, ritual, song, psalms.
But true crises,
when I'm anguished, despairing,
I cannot seek God.
I must be sought.
When I'm hopelessly broken, utterly lost,
I cannot find God.
I must be found.

Kara Root is Pastor of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, MN and blogs at in the hereandnow.