I feel like I could write pretty much the same post every month when I take my retreat. I always head into it tired and discouraged, and come away feeling much more calm and peaceful. As great as these monthly retreats have been, I'm learning that I need to experience that calm and peace much more often than every few weeks. I'm not sure what that looks like--how to incorporate "mini retreats" into my life. I'd be interested to hear from any of you who are willing to share: (How) Are you intentional about time and space for true rest and reflection?
As usual, the book I've been reading during my retreats offered great challenge, insight and encouragement on this journey. Author Ruth Haley Barton writes, "He waits patiently for us to stop flailing around until we can relax and receive the nourishment of His presence."
I was in tears as I read a paragraph in which Ruth poignantly described life with her newborn daughter:
"Charity was a very intense child with little patience. She had her own ideas about where she wanted to be and was generally trying to squirm her way somewhere else when any of us held her. This was disappointing and frustrating at times when my whole self longed to cuddle and cradle this beautiful girl."
Our son has been just like that--intense and impatient, and it has been a very challenging year for us. Ruth's point in sharing about her daughter, of course, is an example of how we can act with our heavenly Father. And how I relate to that as well! Please teach us, Father, to stop flailing, to relax and receive the nourishment of Your presence.