Liminal Space

by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

“Seneca, research about Liminal Space.”

These were some of the last words spoken to me by a very good friend, an ‘ate’ or an older sister who passed away just a few weeks ago.

Ate Riza and her family came to South Korea for a vacation. It was their first trip overseas as a family after the pandemic. We were spending time along the Han River on a Sunday after our church service when she told me to look for the meaning of ‘liminal space’ in relation to our spirituality and faith.

The next day, she felt sick. Little did we know that just four days after our meeting, she would breathe her last. She was taken to a hospital here in South Korea on a Tuesday. She was admitted to the ICU and just two days after, her husband and two children, aged 20 and 14, went back to the Philippines utterly heartbroken and devastated, but still filled with hope and faith.

As I read about ‘Liminal Space’ on the day that she died, tears fell from my eyes. Those were the very words I needed to hear, the encouragement I needed to lift my soul. God spoke to my heart through my Ate Riza and my heart welled up with joy despite the grief and the pain I was feeling that day.

Let me share with you an excerpt from a Christian Today article by Mandy Bayton titled “How to Live in the Tension and Grace of the Liminal Space.”

“Liminal comes from the Latin ‘limen’ which means ‘on the threshold’. A liminal space is a transitional space, where we are leaving something behind that feels comfortable and safe while not knowing what lies ahead, a space where we feel as if we are on the threshold between what is behind and what is in front. It can be a place of great tension but also of great grace. It is a place where we can let go of what we’ve been holding and stretch out tentative fingers to explore what’s next.

“The liminal space is where God can give us that fresh vitality and purpose to keep our lives moving, where we can develop courage and boldness to be overcomers and conquerors as we battle with our fears. The liminal space is where we mature strength and quality of character as we choose to persevere and to go on in spite of it. It is a place to grow the faith needed to have confidence in what we hope for so that we too can still have a dream.”

This has brought comfort and peace in my heart as I mourn the passing of my friend and as I wait for the great things that await my family.

Ate Riza’s passing left her family in a liminal space – a time of being with her to a season of navigating life without her and hopeful for the time to be reunited with her in eternity someday.

My family is in a liminal space at the moment, too. We are in a time of uncertainty, confronted by the unknown. After being in South Korea for almost a decade, we are willing to move to a different country and a different region. The doors are still closed, and the waiting is taking so long.

My husband and I are feeling the tension of being in such a challenging season of uncertainty but at the same time, we are experiencing supernatural grace and overflowing hope as we anticipate the best that is yet to come for our family.

Maybe this is your season, too. I pray that as you walk through your in-between place, you experience peace in the confusion, joy in the discomfort, and clarity in the uncertainty. May you find joy in your waiting and grace in your liminal space.

Like I do.

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