Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spiritual retreating

She invited me, and so I headed northwest about 45 minutes or so, finding myself on a dirt road, carefully following signs and arrows that pointed to "Lutherhaven."

The "day away" of spiritual retreat was a last-minute idea, and I gladly seized it. Since moving from Michigan, I have craved quiet, nature-filled spaces--and have so seldom found them. But find them I would. Brenda led me to a room filled with a bed, a desk, a dresser, and a few books. She prayed over me, that God would meet me in there and in the outdoors, and that my soul would be refreshed and renewed.

Her kindness surprised me. As you might suspect, it was a Lutheran campground, and I attend a Nazarene church while studying at a Grace Brethren seminary. But Brenda's heart beats for Christian leaders who need to be refreshed. So she found me through some recent articles and this blog, and she welcomed me as a sister in Christ. I was more than a little grateful.

I hiked a bit outdoors, Brenda's words ringing in my ears. "Listen." and "Accomplish nothing." Unguided tours into the presence of the Almighty tend to unnerve most of us. So I sat and quieted myself. And read a bit. And journaled, confessing the competing motives in my heart...

"We tend to forget a very simple truth about prayer: It is passionate dialogue, a living conversation with the God who pursues us Because of what Christ has done, we may enter God's presence with the freedom of little children who cry, 'Abba, Father.' (Romans 8:15) - Matthew Woodley

I wandered up to the lodge's loft, and with colored chalk, began to list the places and things in which I sense God's presence. Just taking in the list reminded me of the healing Christ has brought to my heart, and the subsequent joy I have experienced.

"It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in." - CS Lewis

And the result of the quiet, and sitting surrounded by forests and nature, and just listening was this. My Father asked me quite simply, "Am I enough for you?"

-Am I enough for you if you never have a child?
-Am I enough for you, or do you need a new car?
-Am I enough for you, or do you need a seminary degree completed on your timetable?
-Am I enough for you, or will you fill yourself with sugar to replace me?
-Am I enough for you, or will you try to control life instead of depending on me to provide what's needed?
-Am I enough for you, or will you pressure your husband to be "god to you" as well?
-Am I enough for you, or will you persist in worrying over things in which you have no control?

Am...I...enough? Yes, Lord, you are. You're enough every minute of the day and the night. You're enough when I'm lonely and when my love-tank is filled to the brim. You're enough when I'm grieving, enough when I'm doing laundry, enough when I'm dreaming, enough when I'm serving, enough when I lay my head down on the pillow each night. In fact, I'll go one step further...as the extra bread at the feeding of the 5,000 signified, you are more than enough.

When was the last time you experienced focused time with God, with no agenda and a heart that was quiet enough to hear his voice? What was the result?


  1. I love the "listen and accomplish nothing" statement, Suzanne. This is a much needed truth. Like you, I just finished another semester of seminary and I find myself now trying to get a grasp on my life (organize all of things that I simply could not do when studying, completing house "projects," spring cleaning, etc). The family commitments (though very exciting) seem to be endless at the moment. Looks like I won't settle for another 3 weeks, but I have committed to giving God "retreat" time this summer: allowing sapce just for me and him. I am comforted that he is enough, more than enough, and he will continue to be more than enough. Thanks so much for sharing, Natasha

  2. Brought tears to my eyes and a focus to my thoughts for today. Thank you