re-treat n 1 : an act or process of withdrawing esp. from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable 2 : a place of privacy or safety, refuge 3 : a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study and instruction
This past weekend, I was able to accompany 3 high school girls on a retreat for Youth Leaders. It was something planned a few months ago, before I had any idea that I would be having surgery. It still surprises me (and it shouldn't) to see how God plans our lives before we have any clue that a plan is in place.
Although the retreat was focused for students that are "leaders" in their schools or youth groups, there was so much there for me! It was then that I was reminded of the act of retreating, and that again, God's perfect timing was at work in my life. I got to see old friends, and mentors of my own walk with Jesus. It was held at Ozark Christian College, a place that feels like a second home to me (even though I have never attended classes there - yet!) and it provided a focus on spiritual renewal for me as I prepare to enter a difficult time in my life (healing from surgery).
I think that whenever "spiritual retreats" began, they must have seen the benefit of "military retreating" and felt that it would work in other applications. How often we have watched old war movies, to see the troops go back to the home camp to beef up on supplies and rest a little before making a final (victorious) attack. I think that this is the reason that we have spiritual retreats! We get battle weary, often thinking that we are alone in the battle. By retreating back to our home camp (putting God back into main focus) we see that we are not alone, and we receive the necessary stocking of supplies (spiritual) to be prepared to face the enemy, to attack with full force!
Although I love to get together with other Christians, there ARE times that we need to be alone with God. Even Jesus prayed alone in the garden (remember, the disciples all fell asleep while they were supposed to be on guard!) There is a time and a place for both. Even getting together for a day retreat with a few prayer partners is great, and may provide a more intimate time for renewal.
I'm hoping that God will provide a time for spiritual renewal for each of you. More than a devotional, or a daily prayer time, but something special that inspires, motivates and really refreshes you to a point of being aware of all that God wants to do in your life.
If nothing else is available, then organize one for yourself and a few friends. Plan a time to laugh, to relax, to pray, to dig deeper into God's Word, and to worship. If you don't feel capable of leading a Bible Study, then get a few teaching tapes from another retreat, or a favorite female teacher (Chondra Pierce is GREAT for the laughing part!) Larger churches usually have lending libraries (that helps keep the cost down.) I think that you will be renewed and refreshed and you will each be blessed by it!
PS- A special "Thank You" to those of you who have written words of
encouragement to me. God is using you daily to encourage me during
this trial! You are blessings in my life!