Solitude With Christ
With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
Special guests: Carole Nelson and Jennifer Wentzel
(M) About three weeks ago we were talking about our time in the Atlantic Station, and we had such fun living it and then remembering it. But Carole said something in the podcast that was quite striking to me and I wanted to come back and address it, because I think it’s absolutely crucial. She said, “We were all in our solitude with the Lord.” And that’s so; well it was so true that day. Every person was experiencing the Lord separately, and yet we were together. I think sometimes it… We get some feed back that people are impressed with Body-life among us. But I want to… There’s a… When we do podcasts it’s Body-life, but behind that Body-life is a life of solitude with the Lord, where each person has a relationship. So our Body-life is not a matter of being co-dependent or needing the Body to be our relationship with God or… Paul argued for the individuality and the separateness of each part of the Body in 1Corinthians 14, that you have to be the part of the Body that you are. But he said, and the Lord impacted me with it many years ago, individually you are members of one Body. And Carole’s point was so poignant to me, because I hadn’t considered that, that as the issue, but it was. We were together, but we were with Him. What was your insight, Carole, about that?
(Carole) I really believe that it has become a spontaneous response that the solitude that He has really, for me, He’s forced me into. Uhm, but that is the basis for our Body-life. The individual solitude of each of us is the basis, the ground, the foundation, the Rock, of our Body-life. We don’t get together to love each other, we don’t get together to have fun, we don’t get together… that is not the motivation. We get together out of the foundation of that solitude that each of us experiences with the Lord. And out of that comes the fruit of Body-life, and we do have fun, and we do love each other.
(M) And we do work.
(Carole) And we do work. (Martha laughs.) We do practical work. It sounds sometimes I guess very spiritual on the podcast, but the spirituality, the revelation, the fruit that all of us hears in the podcast comes out of the practical life that we live individually first, and then as we come together as a Body.
(M) Carole, describe solitude, or your solitude.
(Carole) Oh, my solitude is… It, ok, it’s being with the Lord alone. I don’t know how else to describe it. It comes in all different shapes and forms of being with Him. Sometimes it’s one way, sometimes it’s another, but it’s all summed up in uhm, being with Him.
(M) I think it’s that you’re awareness is of Him, and if He’s aware of someone else in the Body then you go in that awareness.
(M) If He turns in His love on you in me, then I turn and look at you and relate to you. But our awareness centrally, permanently is of Him, and I think that’s what solitude is. So you can… We were each aware of Him in the, or aware of His absence or whatever form we were aware of Him in that experience. But I think that is what solitude is. It’s being aware of Him all the time.
(Carole) And we have become aware of Him in each other. And I can specifically, I don’t need to go into detail, but I can specifically recall an event several weeks ago when someone was in our group and I came in late and uhm, I had to watch, look, and be in tune with what the Holy Spirit was doing, and I had to make a deliberate choice to surrender and submit to the government at that moment. That the Holy Spirit was moving through, the anointing was on a specific person, was moving through that person, and I recognized that. I didn’t feel that. I recognized that through that person, and I had to bow to that anointing that was being displayed and manifested on that person.
(M) So it was awareness of Him, and surrender to Him that caused you to come into the Body-life that was happening at that meeting.
(Carole) Absolutely, exactly. It is very clear in my mind that that’s what happened.
(M) In the podcast about Atlantic Station, Jennifer mentioned her ah, panic attacks that she used to have among people. And I pondered that and I said to Jennifer, “You know, Jennifer, I wonder…” And Jennifer lives in great solitude, and is seemingly very content. (Martha laughs.)
(Jennifer) Now, yes. (Martha and Jennifer and others all laugh.)
(M) So I said to her, “Gee, I wonder if your solitude has solved, your solitude with the Lord, not just solitude, but solitude with Him, has solved that for you and you really didn’t even realize it was gone, or not aware of it.” And what was your answer, I can’t remember.
(Jennifer) I think that the solitude with Him has been so necessary, uhmm, to bring me into true relationship with Him. I am not only easily distracted and have been my whole life, but it’s been a work to see the Lord, not as some ‘out there’ entity, but as a true Person. And the solitude has enabled that building of trust and it’s enforced the quietness that I needed to not only hear His voice, but honestly to be reunited with my own heart; ok, to be in touch with it enough that I could commune with Him on an honest level. I don’t, I don’t know. I think you can get to the point where you see so many other things and so many other people, and you hear so many voices and the din is so loud and you get so used to that. And it had been such a long time before I even heard my own voice. And by that I mean my own heart, because that’s really what it was. And, and you know, He’s brought me to Him. And the panic attacks, you know, that was a work of inner healing. You know, I don’t want to say that was, just that I think the solitude, that was a big part of it. Uhmm, so much of breaking down my flesh and letting Him in and getting ever closer to Him wouldn’t have happened without that.
(Jennifer) And I say that I am content now and joyful about it now. In the beginning it was a struggle, it was a real struggle. And I think that too many people maybe equate loneliness with solitude, and they’re not the same at all.
(J) I wanted to ask you what’s the difference in isolation and solitude?
(Jennifer) Well that, it’s, I think isolation would be a good synonym for loneliness in the context certainly that I meant it. Uhmm, isolation? (Jennifer laughs.) With me, fighting against the solitude that God was bringing me to. And humanly I didn’t understand what He was doing. Uhmm, and frankly I didn’t want to, let me be absolutely clear. It was like, “There’s no way that You’re doing this for my benefit, You’re just trying to punish me for years and years.” And I mean that’s, that’s how the flesh justifies itself and, and speaks. And that’s what mine did, and all I could think was, “You just cut me off from everybody, everybody, absolutely everybody. I have nothing, and You’ve left me completely and totally alone.” And that is isolation. I think that loneliness has an element of self-pity. And as soon as He had done the work of exposing that in me and breaking that hideous stronghold of self-pity, I began to have an understanding of and love for solitude. Because when you take that out you realize that it is you and Him utterly in unity and then it’s solitude in the sense that you are ‘by yourself’. But you’re ‘by yourself’ even in a group of people.
(M & J) Umhmm, Umhmm.
(Jennifer) And solitude is learning that you’re not alone anymore. It’s Him and you.
(M) I think what you’re, what you may have seen is that solitude is His Presence.
(M) But loneliness is the absence of God and anybody else. There’s a definition of marriage that is very rare; I don’t remember who said it, but it’s impacted me for many years. “Marriage is two people protecting each others solitude.” And I think, Jennifer, we kind of function in this Body that each person has to ‘work it out’ for himself. However, if the Spirit moves in a way of correction or support or help or encouragement, then we do that, but we’re not in each others’ closet so to speak. We don’t even bother. Everybody is free to go, unless the Spirit moves on somebody. But you made a choice to be with Him, to see Him in the stark place that is your closet. It’s a stark place.
(M) And most people run frantically to avoid that much intimacy with God, having to face God.
(Jennifer) Oh yeah, but count me among the ‘runner’s’ for a long time. (Martha laughs.) Absolutely. Uhmm, it is a choice. I think that His love and His hand orchestrated the circumstances that brought about the conditions of my solitude, but at the end of it as you always say, we have a choice, and He is not interested in having a drone, a complete and total slave that is mindless… He’s looking for companionship and relationship, and that had to be a choice. And I think, John mentioned earlier and brought it up to see whether or not I wanted to touch on it, and I will briefly. For about a decade prior to the Lord bringing me to Shulamite ministry’s and more actively to Himself, because my entire life has been a drawing to Him. I had moved into a very deep depression, a very dark place full of self-hatred and self-pity and a lot of rage really, and because I knew that I was a seething cauldron of just nastiness, I began withdrawing. Not necessarily physically, because I was still within reach and touchable to my family, but withdrawing in the sense of into myself. And that was to protect myself so that I would not be held responsible for cruelty to other people. I mean absolutely I was trying to avoid that. But also because I didn’t know what to do with it, and it was taking me over and I didn’t know what to say. Uhmm. (Jennifer speaks with deep emotion.) And that’s a lot of what He had to come in and untangle in me to bring me to a place where I could appreciate what solitude meant in terms of His presence. And the newness of my transformed life with Him which meant that like every other human being, when I go to sleep at night I’m by myself. Whether there’s somebody, a spouse or somebody else in the bed, you’re still by yourself. In your sleep, when you wake up in your true responsibilities in your heart, we are alone. We are lonely creatures in that sense, because no one else can be in your heart and know your heart, except Him. And I really didn’t believe that; I didn’t believe in such a thing as Jesus living in my heart truly, and having His presence there, and having this other, this ultimate relationship and intimacy. And that solitude was necessary for Him to undo all the lies and the damage that I had chosen and inflicted on myself and other people, to even bring me back into my own heart so that I could honestly stand before Him and He could say, “Now see, I’m talking to you, and you’re hearing Me, and talk to Me, because I will hear you.” And my solitude is precious for that, and this is a Body that cherishes solitude, because really what it is, is cherishing the life that each of us has with Him, in us and with us and it’s… I don’t have words.
(M) I think you just did have words.