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Posts Tagged ‘Retreat’

Retreat

retreat copySometimes what I write is because I so desire to share what I am learning. Sometimes what I write is my attempt to put a positive spin on something that is negative, or to speak of joy in the mourning, in the pain, in the bad news or the discouraging. Much of the time what I write is because I know that if I have heard, seen, felt or experienced something, others have too.

But, my main purpose in writing is always to leave something for my kids … so that when I am gone, they have my words to remind them who they are, how loved they are, and who loves them more than their mom ever could.

I also want to teach them that there is not perfect formula for finding balance in life. For life is lived in a sin-filled world, alongside individuals who have the freedom to make their own decisions. Sometimes we need to persevere, sometimes we need to retreat.

Jesus knew what it was to retreat. He knew that his human body and mind needed to get away alone to refresh, to rebuild, to rest and to reconnect with his Father. Even when (especially when) the demands for his message were greatest, he slipped away from those who needed him for awhile.

There is the story of Jesus healing a man with leprosy. As one can imagine, when word got out that someone had been healed of that horrible, disfiguring illness, people came in droves looking for Jesus. Luke (5:16) tells us thatJesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Then, after Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, “he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” (Matthew 14:13)

Just hours before he approached his disciples, while walking on the water, Jesus “went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (Mark 14:23).

And, of course, before his arrest, he had gone to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.

When Jesus retreated from the crowds he wasn’t heading off to an adventure-filled holiday, nor was he picking up his favourite book, having coffee with a friend or catching up on social media. When Jesus retreated, he did so with one purpose in mind, to pray to his Father … seeking guidance, strength and support.

Our world is busy, noisy, demanding. Solitude, the reality of being still and knowing that He is God, is something that takes intentional effort.

May we seek our Father, when we retreat from the world around us, for his guidance, strength and support.

 

 

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I looked at my dirty toilet, Wednesday morning, and thought to myself,

“I’d really rather stay home and clean my house than go away with hubby for a couple of nights.”

What woman thinks these thoughts?

The school year had come to an end, and hubby had planned a little mini get away for just us two, and I wanted to stay home and clean toilets? I do need a vacation!

Now that we are home from our two night get-away, I truly do not know that woman who stared longingly into her dirty toilet bowl.

I am so thankful for those days with that man.

We talked, we walked in silence, we sat at the beach, we relaxed in the hot springs pool, we laughed, we dreamed, we discussed, we enjoyed good food, and were totally spoiled at a couples massage.

Twenty-eight years ago, yesterday, this man asked me to marry him (after I told him we were done … that is another story, for another day).

We didn’t take much time to get to know each other before walking an aisle, repeating vows and sealing it with a kiss.

Our marriage has been:

good … and bad,
romantic … and boring,
united … and divided,
healthy … and so very unhealthy,
committed … and should have been committed … to a psychiatric facility.

The effects of the demands of jobs, children, home maintenance, financial stresses, mutual disappointments, disagreements and drudgery have made for a number of … right sided (see the list on the right, above) marital experiences over the years.

But in moments like we just had, away just us two, are more cleansing and rewarding than the mundane of cleaning a house.

This time remind us that it was love, attraction, and joy in each other that started this wild and crazy life journey together.

The youngest of our three just graduated high school, this is a transition time for us. How lovely to start this new phase, together, away … with not a care in the world … not even dirty toilets.

“My beloved said to me,
“Get up, my true love, my beautiful one,
and come with me.”
Song of Solomon 2:10

the lake

 

 

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So, I told you yesterday that I had a hiking story. And it comes from the retreat that I wrote about yesterday … so, this could be “Retreat … the Sequel”

On Saturday the weather was … west coast (aka. rain, showers and sprinkles, followed by monsoons).

We started the day with a delicious breakfast of Belgian Waffles, Oatmeal, Fresh Fruit, etc., etc., etc. … none of which did we have to make :D.

Then we had our study time on what is really awesome, and learned that to use the word awesome to describe waffles (no matter how mouth-watering good … mainly because we didn’t have to make them) is really not the way to use ‘awesome’.

The study time was followed by lunch, and it was awesome really good (and we didn’t have to make it).

The afternoon was open to ‘free time’, but there were the options of a craft …

OK I need to segue …

crafts … this is an area of failure for me, in my life.

And, what’s worse, one of my kids LOVES to do crafts.

As a matter of fact, once, after hubby and I had been away,

said (crafty) child says to me, upon our return,

“Mom, look at the crafts our babysitter taught me to do,

do you think that she could teach

EVEN YOU

how to do crafts?”

(my, silent, response, ‘NO’)

… and a hike, and a nap, and games to play, and (because it was a ‘woman’s’ retreat … chocolate to eat). So, I did the craft (photo of that tomorrow), had a nap, ate the chocolate, and took a hike, because the sun had come out.

The hike was described to me this way, ‘it take about an hour and starts out muddy, it’s pretty easy in the beginning, then gets more steep towards the top’. I was up for the challenge, besides, the sun decided to shine and it gave me the opportunity for an intake of Vitamin D. Besides, I love the great outdoors! I just have a problem with the great outdoors that is fast enough, big enough and hungry enough to eat me (is this sounding familiar from my post “Walking Alone in a Wonder-filled Life”?). So, hiking with a group should eliminate this fear … right?

Because I have such strong feelings towards … wet weather, I donned my water-proof jacket, to ensure that it would, indeed, not rain (had I not brought my jacket, Murphy would have guaranteed a 60 minute down-poor, equal only to Noah’s flood).

Sure enough, the path was muddy, in the beginning. But certainly passable.

Then it got steeper and steeper … a good challenge to my ‘maturing’ body. I enjoyed the increase in heart rate, and oxygen intake. And I was having a delightful conversation with a young woman (when I was still able to breath … huff and puff … from the steepness of the path) … life was indeed … good.

Then it happened. The worst thing that anyone could EVER say to me (next to, ‘there is a bear behind, in front of or beside you’), “watch out for the snake.”

Well, if you have ever wanted to see fear personified, you should have been on that hike with me.

I looked up, not down, because I knew that if I had actually seen the snake at me feet, I would have fainted, and then it would, certainly, have crawled on top of me and waited on my chest, peering into my eyes so that, once I came to, it would have killed me, so that I would know it was killing me.

Then I moved my feet in a manner similar to a leprechaun’s dance on St. Patty’s Day, while, of course moving forward, in hopes that my forward was the snakes backward.

OK I need to segue …

I HATE snakes!

If you ask hubby, he will tell you that

when I am having a dream/nightmare/night terror

about snakes

you DO NOT want to be the person sleeping beside me.

What is ‘just a dream’

to him

Is VERY REAL to me,

and I will do, and scream, what I must to ensure

that I get freed from the snake.

… enough said …

(but, this might be a future post)

Then I stopped, a good many feet ‘forward’ looking to my companion, who at about the age of sixteen, was laughing hysterically (probably wishing she had caught all of my antics on video so she could broadcast them on YouTube, or enter the video into an Americas Best Video Contest. She laughed even longer than my psychosis lasted!)

Finally she pointed out the snake, and it was … dead! (I was hearing the Hallelujah chorus all through my being). The snake was headless! … now, it didn’t have to be headless to be dead, but, in my psychotic episode, God knew I need undeniable proof that the snake was really dead, otherwise, I might still be up on that mountain!

So, back to the hike …

Once our four fellow hikers arrived, and ‘admired’ the dead snake (I am confident the only snake to be admired is a dead one), we continued on. Our leader said, ‘now the path gets steep’.

Well I thought my head would spin like in the Poltergeist movie. Because I was pretty confident that I had already done the ‘steep’ part of the trail! My heart rate actually had no where to increase when I experienced the fear of the snake!

So, off we trod … after all I had faced the fear of the snake, whats a steep hill?

Well this hill needed a bungy cord! It was a path that has trees along it … so that you can grab them and pull yourself up. Man, was I missing my ‘eager beaver beast’ who would have hauled my sorry butt up that hill!

But, we made it, and it was spectacular! There was an, enormous hawk glide by … but I was thinking eagle (I have a rather vivid imagination 😉 … like you didn’t know that already) …

“those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

and that, is what retreat is all about.

P.S.: For those who understand what a fear of snakes is like, would you believe that, even though it was headless, and must have been dead for awhile, it was still moving a bit when we came down the mountain … now that is the stuff that nightmares are made of!

 

 

 

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Retreat!

I just got back from a retreat … a women’s retreat … ahhhhhh it felt good.

According to definitions.net, retreat is:

-the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy (we withdrew to a beautiful spot, where we were ‘away’ from it ALL)

-an asylum, as for the insane (it was all women, and, after a certain time of night, and a certain amount of chocolate, this definition might fit)

-a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation (we listened, we prayed, we meditated, we learned)

-to make a retreat (hum, well we did ‘retreat’ from doing cooking, cleaning, jobs, families, groceries, etc)

-to slope backward; recede (any sloping backwards was the delightful going back to ‘giggling like school girls’ … but, since there were school girls there, maybe we were not ‘receding’ after all)

-to draw or lead back (we were drawn back/reminded what is most great, Beginning and the End)

All that to say it was a time away, with just females, having a blast, in all the best of ways. And I am so thrilled that they would invite and include me.

And man, in the near future, have I got a hiking story for you!

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