I was grateful to attend the women’s retreat this past weekend. In the weeks leading up to it, I looked forward to gathering and connecting with the women of our church, I was excited to see and catch up with our retreat leader, Markene Meyer, and I was especially curious about my time with the Lord and where He would lead me.
As I arrived, I discovered the retreat format would include times of silence … eek! Confessions of an extrovert: I am challenged in this area. I also happen to be a conscientious rule follower so that helps keep me in line but it doesn’t help the inner turmoil that I have in the process. I had been through a silent retreat once before and remembered how challenging it was.
Our retreat began in prayer and then moved through times of reflection and meditation on Scripture, through Biblical art and through poetry before gathering to pray again. The rhythm was beautiful and helped in staying focused on Christ.
During the retreat, God revealed much to me.
He showed me how He was using a recent time of grieving in my life to prepare me for some challenges ahead in my family. I could see clearly His Presence and His Peace and how He had helped me through those difficult moments and heartfelt sadness. I felt clarity so I could confidently walk in steps of faith going forward, knowing who He is and resting in Him in the difficult days that are to come. He spoke to me during the retreat through His Word and in the silence.
We learn so much about who God is and who we are in Him through his Word. We feast on it on Sundays and are nourished by it through the week. He knows us. He knows we are a people who forget and He reaches us through grace, forgiveness and love to shepherd us as we seek Him. Taking time to be still, to be quiet, to step out of the noise and distraction of this world and enter into silence with Him helps us to focus our gaze upward.
Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest and theologian reminds us, “God is not a distant God, a God to be feared and avoided, a God of revenge, but a God who is moved by our pains…a compassionate God…A God who has chosen to be God-with-us…[He] is a close God, a God whom we call our refuge, our stronghold, our wisdom and even, more intimately, our helper, our shepherd, our love.”
God is with us. Because I can have hope in Him, I am not afraid of the future.
We can share this love of our Lord, time in His Word and the importance of stepping out of the noise and bustle of our daily lives into a period of silence, prayer and stillness with our children. God is loving and faithful and he will guide them and lead them too.