A Silent Retreat
After reading the wonderful book series 'Sensible Shoes' I decided to take myself on a 'silent retreat.'
The purpose for my retreat was to quiet my heart and mind and listen to what God might have to say.
I was a little apprehensive to be doing a silent retreat. My brain often feels like a free-flowing highway and I wondered if I was actually going to be able to slow it down enough to make this work. I knew that staying at home wasn't going to help so I packed a bag with my journal, pen, bible and lunch and headed to the place where I grew up, Living Springs. Home.
I've always known I was blessed to grow up in such a beautiful place and I always deeply value the time I spend there. I hadn't been there for 3 years, which is the longest time that I hadn't visited in quite some time. I knew that a lot of changes had happened over that time and I think I was just worried that it would no longer feel like home. I've never been one to take change well, but when I arrived the changes neither saddened or scared me. My soul was just relieved to be home.
I knew exactly where I wanted to go to spend my silent retreat but without ringing ahead I was unsure whether there would be a camp on or not. I parked up, took my bag and headed to the Outdoor Camping Centre'. Whilst walking down the narrow one-way road I was relieved to find the gate closed and locked. Easy enough to pass on foot but a sign that no one was using the Centre this weekend.
On arrival I broke the silence with one whispered word, 'Home'. I felt like I had entered that place that was so much a part of who I am, it was like we breathed together. I journaled the following as I sat with Papa and entered holy ground.
"Thank you that I'm home. The smells, sights and sounds are all part of my relationship with you. The baaing of the sheep, the cooing of the Kereru, the chatter of the birds, the music of the korimako (bellbird). These things all speak of home, speak of You. The fox-glove in bloom, the smell of cut grass, the wind softly whispering over me like a lullaby. I'm home."
For the next three hours I sat in silence, on holy ground (shoes removed) in the presence of Papa.
I reflected on my gratitude for 2018, a year that was one of the most difficult I have walked but still had many incredible things to be grateful for - 3 pages in fact.
I then turned to 2019 and wrote a list of things that I hoped for in the next year. These weren't New Year's resolutions. More things that I knew where going to happen that I was looking forward to or things that I hoped would happen that I could make steps towards such as being matched to Bunny, fundraising, and helping my students succeed to be all that they can be. The list finishes with 'A year of JOY' and 'A letting go and embracing all things new.' As someone who seeks to have control, that is my true prayer for 2019.
My daily 'Jesus Calling' devotional spoke to me and I spent some time reflecting on this and the associated versus.
'I am leading you along a way that is uniquely right for you.
The closer to Me you grow,
the more fully you become your true self - the one I designed you to be.
Because you are one of a kind,
the path you are traveling with Me diverges increasingly from that of other people.
in My mysterious wisdom and ways,
I enable you to follow this solitary path while staying in close contact with others.
the more completely you devote yourself to Me,
the more freely you can love people.
Marvel at the beauty of a life intertwined with My presence.
Rejoice as we journey together in intimate communion.
Enjoy the adventure of finding yourself through losing yourself in Me.
Ephesians 2:10; John 15:4 & 9-11
And Papa met me there.
And He spoke to me.
Not in an audible whisper, not in a booming voice.
But as a kereru swopped and danced overhead in the wind, putting on a show of God's beauty and majesty, God's divine presence was there. When I was still and quiet, He came to show me His love.