My Recent Retreat Experience
I was thrilled and intrigued when I received the email from my stepsister Susie Minno inviting me to celebrate her 60th birthday by joining her for a day of retreat. What a unique idea! I’ve been to plenty of exciting, wonderful, blessed birthday festivities, but I knew this one would be a gift to all who could attend. I marked my calendar right away…
The day was bright and beautiful.
The retreat property included a large gracious home on sweeping grounds with a lovely pond, a vegetable garden, and sitting areas scattered around. We met in a large parlor, in a circle, and shared a bit about who we were. In-between reflection and journaling on our own, we returned to this sacred place to share. Much of our time was spent silently, alone, meditating on scripture, particularly:
Come to me!Matthew 11:28
There were also a few quotes, thoughts, questions; exercises we could use to direct our quiet time. I must admit, looking back on my journal (which Susie gave us as a special retreat gift), I see I was having a tough time settling down.
One of the exercises was to write a letter to God. And I had plenty to say. We were just three weeks away from launching Circles of Faith, so my mind was racing with To Dos, due dates, etc. Starting this new venture, I had so many questions, so many “what ifs,” so many hopes and doubts. This letter to God allowed me to pour out my heart and settle down.
Another exercise was a letter from God to me. This is what I recorded in my journal.
I am your lifeline. Take heart and rest in this, apart from me you can do nothing.
You can’t balance work, family, dinner, wants, and have tos.
You can’t have the marriage you desire.
You can’t rely on yourself to eat well, lose weight, and keep it off.
You can’t close your mouth when you want to open it.
You can’t love like me.
You can’t change the bad spending habits you’ve formed.
You can’t obey my command to love me and love others.
But here is the VERY GOOD NEWS…
You can do all things through Me. Everything I have purposed and planned will come to pass. What I have said, that will I do.
Have hope in Me alone. And rest assured, I love you with an everlasting love.
Stay close to Me.
Invite Me in to all things.
Start with Me.
End with Me.
This is rest.
Trust in Me.
I will never mislead or misguide.
I love you more than you can imagine…
My response to God…
Oh God, I believe. Yet, help me in my unbelief! (Matthew 9:24)
Have you met with God recently? What is He saying to you? Let us know here.
*Elise's post was mostly written at the 60th Birthday Retreat Susan Minno shared on Circles of Faith, Wednesday, April 17. Click Here to read...
Elise has been married for 28 years and is mom to four mostly grown girls. She is a writer, editor, writing coach, and blogger. She believes we all have stories that matter--big life bios and small meaningful moments. Elise believes our stories are a reflection of God’s glory and are meant to be shared. They have the power to inform, reform, and transform. She loves God, familly, friends...and really likes travel!