Sunday, September 25, 2011

Retreat

You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)
      
      
It’s amazing what God tells you when you slow down enough to listen.
      
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I retired from teaching school two weeks ago. Health issues, particularly an ongoing, worsening fatigue, and a string of health challenges (two surgeries, two bouts of a lingering virus, one of which kept me down for a week and dragging for a month, and an allergic reaction to a wasp sting which sent me to the ER) forced me to relinquish a job I loved. A 59-year-old body can take only so much.
      
I’d like to say I feel great, that the fatigue is gone, my energy has returned, my brain fog has cleared up, and I’m sleeping well. But I can’t. While I’m not as exhausted as I was, I’m nowhere near where I want to be. Will I ever be? I wonder.
       
“I feel beat up in body, mind, and spirit,” I told my husband.
      
So I decided to spend my mornings in a personal retreat, feeding my dried up spirit, soaking up the Word, reading spiritual help books, and working through a couple of Bible studies.
      
In her book, Meet Me at the Well, Virelle Kidder tells of when the prophet Elijah needed a retreat. The first time he ended up at the Brook Kerith, exhausted. It was there God sent ravens to bring him bread and meat in the morning and evening. The brook provided the water to drink. The second time Elijah was running scared, his life threatened by a wicked queen. He just wanted to curl up and die.
      
“I’ve had enough, Lord,” he prayed. “Take my life.” Then he lay down and fell asleep.
      
Ever feel that way? Me, too.
      
But God knew what his exhausted prophet needed. A few hours later, someone—an angel—tapped Elijah on the shoulder. “Get up and eat.” 
      
He ate the freshly baked bread, drank from the jar of water, then lay down again. A second time it happened. After that he trekked to Mount Horeb, where he found the perfect retreat—a cave. It was there he learned to listen to the still, small voice of God.
      
Life before fatigue stopped me in my tracks was too noisy for me to hear the gentle whispers of the God I professed to love and serve—but didn’t take the time to really listen to. My time with Him was more like rushing through a drive-through for a quickie meal than reclining at a table prepared just for me (Psalm 23:5). No wonder my spirit was so dried up!
      
But, drop by drop, sip by sip, gulp by gulp, I’m drinking from the water of life. And God has not disappointed me. I’ve filled pages and pages in my spiritual journal with notes—insights—of things that God is showing me.* No major life changes, but a clearer perspective.
      
Virelle writes: “Elijah’s assignment? Just rest, eat, drink, and listen to God. . . . Rest is a certain step toward renewal.”
      
Right now, at this time in my life, that’s my assignment, too.
      
      
O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You: my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and wearly land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1). Amen.

*I’ll be sharing these insights with you in future blogs. Stay tuned!

NOTE: Virelle Kidder will be the featured speaker at the 2011 Punxsutawney Christian Women’s Conference, “Meet Me at the Well,” on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Punxsutawney First Church of God. For more information, email me at punxsycwc@gmail.com or visit the conference blog at http://punxsycwc.blogspot.com .
 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are resting and retreating, seeking and finding.

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