Last Thursday I was able to head up to our church’s annual Women’s Retreat held at the Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center. I had been really looking forward to it for a while. Special thanks to my sweet hubby and mom for helping hold down the fort so I could go. To be honest, by Wednesday the kids were getting on my last nerve and I was just exhausted and ready to head out. Plus I was excited to chat with friends and meet new people and just get away for a bit.
The great thing about “retreats” is that they are usually out like in the woods somewhere quiet and removed from the busyness of the day to day life. The word retreat implies getting away from something. I was trying to get away from noise and clutter. Not only audible noise like the constant mom, MOM, MOOOOOOMs that make up my days but the mind noise, the to do lists, the never ending “shoulds, have tos, and need tos”. The iphone, email, tv, texting, phone, computer, etc. I was desperate for the quiet.
This was my second time attending and I had an amazing last year so I was definitely excited to see what would be in store for this year’s retreat. The retreat theme this year was “Sisters Growing Together”. There were great speakers and lots of time for connecting with friends and having fellowship with other women. I was able to drive up with some friends and we had lovely conversations on the road.
On Friday we had a speaker session in the morning and then had a long afternoon of “free” time. I always love this time because it’s just so beautiful there and really how often do I get “free” time? Not very often. They did have activities that you could participate in, there’s a zip line and a ropes course available at Mt. Hermon and there were also other workshops you could participate in. I decided to join a couple of friend and do the “Hula” workshop. This was put on by our church’s Hanalani Ministry; this is an amazing group of women that uses choreographed Hula dances as expressions of worship. They are truly awesome and their dances move me every time. It’s like seeing a glimpse of heaven. So I was excited to try to learn some of the dance they had performed earlier in the day and it was really fun. Sorry I don’t have pictures to share, I’m sure they would have been good for a laugh.
After the workshop I decided I needed some “quiet” time so I went back to my room and read a bit, I was really tired too so I took A NAP. It was amazing to just be able to close my eyes and rest without out any little bodies coming to interrupt me. When I woke up, I still had some time before dinner so I went to one of my favorite spots. The Be Still Chapel. I love this little chapel, it’s so simple and yet so beautiful at the same time. I went in knowing that I needed some time to be “still” and listen from God.
So not only was I in a “quiet place” at the Be Still Chapel in the middle of nature at Mt. Hermon but I also needed to look and find my inner “quiet place”. We all have them, they’re the places we often ignore because we’re too busy or distracted or just don’t want to get to them. They’re the places where we stash old dreams and goals, the places where we put certain people or relationships we’re just not ready to “deal with” yet. Sometimes they’re the places we put God in, knowing He’s there but we’re just not ready to talk to Him yet.
|The “Be Still” Chapel|
Last year I went there. I went into my quiet place and I met Him there. I felt lost. Things were not working out the way I had hoped they would. There was confusion, hurt and disappointment. And so I let go, I surrendered. I gave up and let Him takeover and I vowed to do whatever He asked of me because I trusted Him and I didn’t really trust myself. That began the year of saying “yes”. And it’s been pretty amazing so far.
This year was a little different. Again, I met Him. But this year I had peace. I asked if there was more I should be doing? But I felt His loving confirmation, that He was pleased with me. That He was pleased with my obedience and that I should just continue to do what I’ve been doing but to take things slow, this would be a “building” year and He didn’t want me to get burned out. I had to really sit with this a while. I’m not a very patient person, I want things to happen like NOW and I also can over commit because I just want to do everything. (Yes, again weaknesses!) But I also know He works for my good, so I trust Him and am going to listen.
After my time at the chapel I went into the bookstore for a bit, you know me and books. . .as if I really need any more and yet I couldn’t resist. I ended up running into an amazing sweet friend who has also recently started a blog. And we had some great conversations. I’m so truly blessed by the people that have come into my life. Am constantly in awe of the things we can learn from one another and the unexpected blessings that come from community.
Overall, it was a great weekend. I laughed, I cried, I sang, I danced, I talked and I listened. I found the “quiet places” and He met me there.
Are you in need of a “quiet place”? He can meet you there too. . .