|The Hermitage, in Three Rivers, MI|
I just returned from a silent retreat at a place called The Hermitage. I had announced prior to going that there were a couple of things on my agenda to process with God - one, intentional grieving time, and two, looking at my future. I knew when I had spoken with people about this agenda that God would have His own. Upon arriving at my little hut in the woods, I found a prayer designed for the beginning of a retreat. Part of it reads,
Help me, my Lord, to leave outside this hermitage, my plans for tomorrow, my memories of yesterday, as I live fully and completely in the wonder of Your present moment.
I smiled. So much for my agenda. I think I heard God chuckle as well. I gave myself over to Philippians 3:10, which says, "I want to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering, becoming like Him in His death...". My goal now was just to be, to know, to fellowship. Within about 12 hours, I gave up control of the "meeting", allowed God to run His agenda, and to host our time together. Very quickly it turned into a vacation with my Heavenly Daddy. I crawled into His lap and heard Him whisper, seemingly for the first time (since it was the first time since Bob's death that I had taken the time to get silent in this way), that He too was sorry for Bob's death. We cried together. I slipped my hand in His and we walked through the woods and fields, seeing, smelling, and hearing things through His senses. I heard Him whisper His delight and joy in me, as He gently reminded me that it's not about what I can do for Him, but it's about what He has done and continues to do for me.
What a great God. What an amazing time.
I wonder why places like this aren't packed out. The incredible luxury of having NO other roles - no cooking, cleaning, dishes, planning, organizing, parenting, conversing...nothing. Just being His child. A slice of Heaven on earth.
And the beautiful thing is that we did get to my agenda...but in His better timing than my own - in the unforced way that a Father leads His daughter, with greater wisdom and understanding.
|Fields and fields of Bob's favorite flowers surrounded me - Black-Eyed Susans and Indian paintbrush|
|On May 29, 2011 a tornado touched down on the Hermitage property, taking out 10-15 acres of trees. Thankfully, no one was hurt but still a lot of destruction.|