Nov 21, 2011

A Time to Retreat

My life is busy. I work full-time in ministry, have a curious and busy toddler, a son in college, another son in the 11th grade, a gracious husband, bills to pay, groceries to buy, and a house to keep somewhat clean. Sometimes my soul can feel completely depleted. Don't get me wrong, often my kids and my husband are very good for my soul...but to be honest, being pulled in so many different directions can wear a person out.

I know you can relate.

God has wired me to need times of solitude. Before my baby girl was born (19 months ago) I was in a rhythm of going on a silent creative retreat one night every other month. These retreats recharged my soul and reinvigorated my relationship with Jesus which in turn, inspired massive amounts of creativity in me. Silence and solitude was a very crucial spiritual practice for me. Dare I say, it also benefited my family and anyone else who came into contact with me... my soul felt a deep rest due to my retreat rhythm.

Last weekend was my first retreat since October 2009 and let me tell you, I was way past due! Even on the drive to the retreat center I could feel relaxation pour over me. Then when I stepped through the door of my room, I nearly burst into tears out of pure relief and an almost audible "Glad you are here to spend time with Me, just the two of us."

There are two beautiful ponds on the retreat property. One of which I spent lots of time at (pictured above). The other one was home to two huge swans and from what I hear, you don't want them angry at you. So I stayed clear!

I hiked on never-ending trails for nearly three hours Saturday afternoon, I took photos along the way and was in a constant open dialog with God. I remembered what freedom feels like. I even had the sense that God missed me the past two years - missed this intentional time together.

I looked alone, but I didn't feel alone. He was and is beside me.

Many times in His life, Jesus retreated from the hustle and bustle of the crowds and the demand of life to be in solitude with His Father, the One who sustained Him in ministry and in death. When I feel "guilty" for my desire of a silent retreat, (like I'm selfish or care less about my family) I just remember the example that Jesus set before us. Yes, throughout my daily walk, I know He's there...sometimes I'm just not very present to Him because life distracts me. He gets but little chunks of my day. But one thing I heard loud and clear last weekend while in His extended presence is that since He's wired me to need solitude, I must be intentional about getting back on track with my silent creative retreats. Every other month would be delightful and that is what I'm aiming for, once again.

To slow down means you see beauty in unexpected places. To be silent means you are more apt to hear Jesus' voice.To retreat means to fully engage your heart with God's.

May you find time to retreat, even if it's once a year. Your soul will thank you. And you'll make God's heart smile in a special way too.

Grace & peace,

1 comment:

Renee' B. said...

So beautifully written deAnn! Happy for you that you got to spend this precious time of solitude with Jesus! I hope you get to carve out this time for you and the Lord every other month as your heart desires! I'm sure the blessings that come from your retreat time will spill over into all areas of your life including the arts ministry. Can't wait to see and hear about whatever is inspired through your time away!