Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Need to Retreat


There is nothing like feeling the need to get out of the house, to get away from the daily grind and take a break. We all feel those times, and know those moments of desperation.   Like the "I just need to leave the porch this moment or I think I'm going to scream" kind of feelings. I think it's part of our human nature.  We work, we sleep, we try to discern how to best use our time, we love, we run, we talk and listen, we bless, we discipline and train, we clean...We just straight up exhaust ourselves and need to retreat. But how do we go about this in a way that actually refreshes our soul, rather then just escape into unhealthy addictions or false realities? 

And then, how does one retreat with one husband, four kids (and one in the oven), a dog with five puppies, serving the community around, a ministry to women, and home schooling in the balance (did I mention the messy house part too?) Not very easily. 

 I feel like I'm just beginning to find more time then I used to, but then the selfish side of me comes out as well. "What? No! I'm reading my Bible! Go read a book!" or "I'm going for a run, so of course I want to be alone!"  I can find my heart wandering, wondering what it's like to have time without little children begging for another banana or always having people at my door. Or else I find myself listening to one of my single friends who is living in the heart of her calling to prostitutes, wishing with all my heart to be on the front lines with her. But then again, what is my calling? It is here, it is now, it is my life to my husband and my children. This self-sacrificing, the lay it all down NOW kind of life.  And in spite of what you might think from the outside looking in, I wouldn't trade it for the world.  So how can I ever retreat?

Jesus retreated away from the stresses of life to commune with the Father, to be refreshed and revitalized in a supernatural way.  Granted, Jesus' ministry far superseded that which I do in my own home and life, but none the less, he is our example. He is my example. He found a mountain, a garden, a piece of graceful landscape and prayed.  Luke 9:29 even says the appearance of his face changed after praying.  I remember times of deep intersession with my bestie, Natalie. We'd fall on our faces together in a quiet place and pray our hearts out until there was not a breath left in us.  Even now as I think of those moments, tears spring to my eyes.  Sweet timeless intercession.  I'd come home and hear my mom say, "Your face has changed -you've been praying, haven't you?"  I'd have to smile, knowing it was God's work shining in me, not my own doing.  I can't make my own face shine, no matter how much Bare Minerals I apply.  God's work in you is the best make-over you'll ever have! 

So, being a busy wife and mom, I have to find retreat in creative ways. Here are a few moments when I've found retreat in Him in the last few weeks:  A sunrise that deserved my praise; a morning run that burned my lungs but filled my soul with joy; meditation on 2 Corintians 4:16-18 and repeating it over for my memory to take hold; being a daughter in my parent's home; a quiet walk with the fall leaves and the setting sun; a few moments with Keith when he prayed over my tearful face; listening to Beth Moore, and getting to laugh my head off and yet know His conviction my heart of how little I bask in His love; getting to bake an apple spice cake for a friend's birthday in a still, silent house which turned my heart to Him.  These moments may look like not much, but they are the moments that keep me going, keep me longing for more of Him.  These are my little retreats into His presence.  How about you?  How have you retreated into Him today?  I hope you take time to think about it, find Him and find time to bask in His refreshment today. Nothing, not anything fills and satisfies the soul as Jesus does!