Mid-way through my Saturday morning retreat, I realized the significance of the date. June 7 was my 25th "Christian birthday." (Although I was only 4 years old, I distinctly remember being on the swings at a neighbor's house and praying to ask Jesus into my heart. I ran home and told my mom, who also prayed with me. What a journey began that day. Thank You, Lord, for Your grace and mercy!)
After the stress of moving, taking this retreat was even more valuable than usual. By the end of my time spent reading, writing, praying, and just sitting, I felt like I could breathe more deeply and then step back into my other responsibilities.
As I reviewed my notes from my May retreat (it's always beneficial to me to see where I was a month ago), I was startled to notice a verse I had recorded during that time away: 2 Peter 1:3 (and following): "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." I hadn't remembered highlighting that verse just a few weeks ago, but interestingly, it's the passage our pastor chose to preach on throughout the summer. Each week, our church will be challenged to grow in one of the different attributes listed in the chapter: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. I know I want to possess those qualities in increasing measure (v. 8)!
My retreats have been such a blessing--I am so thankful for this time and space to reflect and learn!
If you are considering taking a regular retreat, which I highly recommend, here are some tips I've learned this past year:
*Set aside a block of at least two hours
*Use a piece of scratch paper to write down any to-do items that come to mind so you can set them aside until later
*Try to find a location away from home, if possible (Saturday I went to the house of a friend who was out of town for the weekend. It was a win-win because I was able to check on a couple things at their house, and bring their mail in.)
*I like to have a balance of a plan/lack of plan. I don't bring any book that I have to read for a Bible study, etc., because I want to protect my retreat time from obligations. I bring my Bible, journal, this book (I read one chapter each month) and sometimes another book.
*I try to have a general timeline by scheduling my retreat around the first week of each month.