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Ignite the Journey: Intentionality

Join author Winston Faircloth in the latest "Ignite the Journey" blog post series. Experience his journey toward embracing intentional living and finding purpose.

On this day, as we sit at her bedside, it has been ninety days (about three months) since her stroke. The only sounds are of heartbeat monitors and the bustle of nurses outside our door. I cannot believe we are here in the hospice ward again, a little over a year after losing my best friend. This has been our daily pilgrimage: day after day, night after night – no matter the facility, to love her deeply and to be fierce advocates for her care.


caregiver holding patient hand

Having walked alongside this family’s journey through unexpected health challenges provided a crash course on Medicare coverage, eldercare law, wills/probate, skilled nursing care, cancer treatments, and much more. Navigating this maze of daily decisions drains one’s pocketbook and spirit.


There was a season, decades in the making, where I would not have been present in moments like this one. Climbing the ladder of success, seeking accolades and recognition. My identity was tied up in titles, responsibilities, and achievement, leaving in its wake the wreckage of countless broken promises and more than one broken marriage. I’ve spent forty plus years in a spiritual wilderness, far from God and the faith of my youth.


Looking back, so many moments I missed, sacrificed on the altar of productivity and pride: dad’s retirement party, the funeral of my best friend’s mom, an invitation to go on a cruise with my dad and nephew, the birth of my grandson – these and so many more, all because I was too busy pursuing professional achievement.


Yet, despite my wilderness ways, He relentlessly pursued my heart. He reignited words spoken over me as a teenager; words that made me flee this pronouncement: “Son, one day, you’ll make a great minister.” Words given from a visiting pastor at our tiny, rural Virginia church who saw qualities and gifts in me that I could not see in myself.


The same setting, decades later, I began to experience unmerited grace following the end of my latest marriage. This time, the words came from my sister, Cheryl, who invited me on a local Walk to Emmaus, where she had been active for many years. That weekend changed everything, as I personally experienced unconditional love in so many small and tangible ways.


This ended up being a tiny crack in my walled-off life that finally allowed God in. I started noticing how others were swimming against the tide of what our culture values most. Their countenance, more than their words or actions, drew me in. Friendships outside of work began to blossom. Instead of drifting through life, I wanted to walk with Jesus more intentionally.


The past nine years represent a gradual return Home to His Heart. A journey of Reunion with the essence of who He always made me to be. Not in my own strength, despite my plans, sometimes kicking and screaming like a spoiled child. Imperfectly perfect, in His timing. Setting aside my kingdoms, my desires and especially my fears. I had my own journey, my own race to run, in coming back to the Father.


A significant mile marker on “My Reunion Tour” over the past few years was when I was exposed to the story of the Loyal Soldier, shared by Richard Rohr in his book Falling Upward. Japanese veterans returning to their villages after World War II returned home broken and defeated. Many stayed stuck in the mindset of a defeated Solider – some committing suicide when the burden became too much. Yet, some village elders took note of this and decided to help these “loyal soldiers” intentionally step into their new identity, with this admonition:

The war is now over! The community needs you to let go of what has served you and us well up to now. We now need you to return as a parent, a partner, a friend, a mentor—something beyond a soldier.”

The intentionality of shedding our identity, even one that had served us well for a time, and taking on another takes courage and commitment. Reading their story of challenge and transformation sparked in me a desire to shed my wilderness identity of shame and regret, the wedge that had prevented me from experiencing more of Christ daily.


From that day to the present, I decided to intentionally slow and notice how God is present in the everyday, normal activities of life. Online I began to share my journey or reunion with a short poem and photo from my collection on something I observed about God’s movement in my life.


This intentional daily practice, alongside others I have discovered through communities like this, has helped me over time begin to live out 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV): “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"


Let us circle back to the hospice ward. This mother figure, 93 years old, is now in her final hours on this earth. My thoughts return to months earlier when my best friend, weeks before entering hospice himself, asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks:


“What has MY cancer diagnosis taught YOU about YOUR life”?


After thinking for a while, I said: “You taught me how to be a better, more loyal friend.”


A lesson I have brought to this next moment, here at her bedside.  Being present, even in the hardest times, is one of the best gifts we can bring to others. Being present, with attention and intentionality is such a sacred privilege. I am thankful I did not miss it this time. A lesson I want to intentionally live out the rest of my days.



Finding your own intentional rhythms and spiritual practices can take many forms. It need not require a pilgrimage or a silent retreat – often, the most meaningful practices are small, everyday encounters noticing how God is present.


Think about your day, yesterday. How did God show up in your life? Was it an unexpected call from a friend? A favor you received or gave to another? Is there a specific word or phrase that seemed to burn brightly during your devotional time?  Was there a moment of pure bliss or deep sorrow indelibly etched in your mind?


Now, decide to make this an intentional part of your day today, this noticing or practice.


Commit to be present to this Holy Invitation for the next several days. At the end of your day, capture what you noticed in a journal or share in a conversation with your loved ones. Over time, you will develop and craft your own rhythm and spiritual practices that bring you closer to Him. It begins with a decision, with intentionality.



Heavenly Father, in the chaos of my day and the challenges which await me tomorrow, let me draw nearer to You by slowing and savoring the sacred in the everyday moments of life. Help me to be more intentional in seeking spiritual rhythms and practices which allow me to notice your Presence, so that I can be more present with others. Let me not take for granted this day and these moments where I can see You at work in my life and in the lives of others. In so doing, by noticing and sharing, through my words and actions, help me point others to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


Winston Faircloth

Winston Faircloth is the author of daily inspirational poems paired with his photography called “My Reunion Tour”, which chronicles his return to faith after 40 years in the “spiritual wilderness”.  He is a spiritual director, nonprofit consultant and executive coach living in Tampa, Florida. As a son, father, grandfather and loyal friend, Winston is devoting more of his time to sharing how the broken pieces of our lives are useful in Kingdom work. You can find Winston at his new website:  and on Instagram at @winstonfaircloth. 


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