Living and Leading in the Deep – Inner Chapel Community

Did I just do that? Did I raise my hand to volunteer? When I volunteered three years ago, I did not realize what I was saying yes to. We began gathering together three years ago to help Becky Eldredge launch her book, The Inner Chapel: Embracing the Promises of God. At a time when our country and the world were going through a pandemic, this group of women that met from across the country and the world became a safe place to come together, discuss Becky’s book, and pray. We met virtually for a few months with Becky or a team member leading. 

Things started to open, and little by little, the world was trying to return to a new normal. Becky’s schedule prevented her from continuing to meet on Friday afternoon. To the surprise of some of us, we were not ready to say goodbye. We learned then what a vital group this had become for us. Becky asked for a volunteer to run Zoom and manage the weekly prayer call. I remember that afternoon like it was yesterday. I remember thinking, Should I? and I raised my hand, and here we are three years later, still meeting on Friday afternoons.

The bonds established with this group of women are so special. We laugh and cry together. Our prayer group has become a safe space for us to come together and continue to grow in our spiritual relationships with God. We have become spiritual sisters from across the country and the world. We have found our safe space to be vulnerable and not be judged. We support each other through prayer, phone calls, texting, and getting on a Zoom call whenever we need encouragement. I am excited to share what we birthed in our group these three years with others through Ignatian Ministries. I eagerly await working with the team to create the Ignatian Ministries community this fall.  

Initially, I felt I couldn’t lead/facilitate the prayer group. Thoughts such as this would sometimes come up: “I don’t have a degree in Theology, I don’t write a blog, I have not written a book, or I am not a spiritual director” “Can I do this?” I often think of the bent-over woman and how Jesus saw her at the synagogue on the Sabbath I imagine she continued to show up to pray despite her illness/pain because of her faith. Jesus saw her and healed her. “When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said. “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.” Luke 13: 12-14

The more time I spend in prayer, the more Jesus made it clear that I need to continue moving forward in service to others. Jesus set me free like the bent-over woman in Luke.  I do not let my insecurities stop me. I stand firm in my desire to serve and deepen my relationship with God by serving others through Ignatian Ministries. I invite you to join me.  

This fall, we will be meeting to discern what the Ignatian Ministries community looks like.  My hope is that we can have several virtual small prayer groups that allow others to participate and experience what we have had these past three years. I know now that when I raised my hand three years ago to volunteer for us to continue to meet for prayer was no accident. I found a voice I did not know I had. Jesus set me free, and I stood straight. I was being led to this specific moment.

I thought I needed to be more. Going through the Spiritual Exercises, I learned that we ALL have unique gifts to give.  Seeing Ignatian Ministries’ birth is a testament to how God has plans for us that we can’t imagine for ourselves. Yet, if you are open to his love and grace, Jesus will lead the way. Can I do this? Yes, with the grace of God, I can.

And you know what, you can too!  How do you feel God inviting you to be part of Ignatian Ministries?

Going Deeper:

  • Ten months ago, a group from the Inner Chapel Prayer group started meeting virtually once a month for a book club. The conversations that we’ve had have been so rich and meaningful. We want to invite you to join us for our monthly book meeting. Click here to complete a form to join the Inner Chapel Prayer Group.
  • Visit our new Ignatian Ministries website. How might God be inviting you to be part of or support Ignatian Ministries?
  • How might Jesus be calling you to Know, Love or Follow him more deeply? Consider joining us for our online retreat beginning in September. 
  • Please continue to pray for our Ignatian Ministries team.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Liz Aceves is a passionate Catholic school educator with a decade of experience teaching Spanish. Her love for working with children and teaching them about their faith and language has been a constant source of inspiration. Liz believes that learning a second language is essential in fostering acceptance and understanding among people of different cultures. Her spiritual journey has been enriched by her discovery of Ignatian Spirituality eight years ago, and she has been an active member of the Inner Chapel community for three years. Liz finds joy in facilitating the Friday Inner Chapel Prayer group, surrounded by inspirational women. As a devoted wife and mother of two teenage boys, Liz enjoys reading historical nonfiction and spiritual books, traveling, and hiking.

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