My 1st “Spiritual Retreat”

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Back in the fall, my mother-in-law invited me to attend a conference with her. It was with NANC (National Association of Nouthetic Counselors) and she invited me because she had observed that God had been bringing into my life many people who were seeking encouragement and counsel. She thought maybe it would help to equip me for this task. So strange, because God HAD been clearly working, and her invitation was actually a confirmation to me that I had been praying for. God just keeps bringing these confirmations, and I’m fairly certain, at this point, that He wants me to continue to get equipped through more training. Not sure what that’s going to look like, but I’d appreciate your prayers as I seek His wisdom on it all.

Anyway, I DID go to that conference with her, and it was amazing! Alot of the sessions were specifically aimed at helping the counselor keep his own eyes on God, so that he could be filled with the Spirit and walk close to the Lord, in order to be a useful vessel. These sessions were so helpful to me! One speaker challenged us to take a “spiritual retreat” at least once a year. He offered us articles with more information on how to do this, and I was very intrigued with the idea. I read the articles, prayed about it alot, and decided it was something I needed to do.

So, back in February I went away for a few days to be alone with God. I kind of mapped out a plan for Bible reading, Scripture memory, worship, prayer, study, etc. Sometimes I kept with the plan, and sometimes God led me in other directions. It was the most incredible experience!! I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was. He taught me so much, and drew me to Himself in ways I’d never experienced before. His presence was so real, and I could hear His voice so clearly with all the other noises gone. I came back feeling like a kid who’d been at youth camp….such a spiritual mountaintop!

When I got back I was afraid that I would bottom out, or somehow lose that excitement. But I’m still standing in awe of God and all that He taught me. The lessons are still with me, and if anything, it just increased my hunger for Him. I can’t spend the entire day with Him, like I did there, but I wish I could. And so my “quiet times” with Him each morning are longer than they used to be, because I want to just linger in His presence. And because I’m spending more time with Him in the morning, I’m carrying more with me throughout the day. My mind is more focused on Him, my heart is more in touch with His, my ears are more in tune to His Voice.

I took alot of notes on my trip…things He was showing me and teaching me. I’m hoping to find time to write them out here and share them. I’m still processing it all! But for now, maybe the challenge will be for whoever might be reading this to consider taking a little trip, getting away for a few days alone with God. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life….and I can’t wait to do it again!!

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