The sisters did this last year. We packed up for the weekend and headed out to Cedar Hill State Park for some quiet time with the Lord. It all started with a retreat that Gene Edwards did in Roanoke, Alabama. While he was able, he was hosting week-long retreats where you were given practical tools to deepen your experience of Jesus Christ. It was spent quietly, though we did have meetings and times with another sister.
(For the sake of those who get all wigged out when I say "sisters" and "brothers" - it's not a dogma. It's not religious. It's a practical reality for us. We live close together, we do things together. We are not alike, but are together for only one purpose: to know Jesus Christ. In this, we have found our relationship. He is our relationship. We are brothers and sisters. We can say ladies and men, but choose the more apt words. A truth. Not a title. NO ONE calls me "Sister Sarah." I'd bust a move on them. I always want to explain that, because it's about the weirdest thing we do, besides not having a pastor! :))
So back to the retreat. The Roanoke conference was transforming for so many people, and I think it's the simple idea of slowing down, letting everything go, and turning to Him, whole heartedly. For a WHOLE WEEK.
We want that here. We want to spend as much time aware of Him as we possibly can. We'd like to spend every moment before Him, not reading the bible, not analyzing anything, not even making requests. Just loving Him. In the course of our daily tasks: while washing dishes, doing our work, eating dinner- but to get to that, you sometimes have to stop and re-group, so to speak.
We all know how easy it is to get bogged down in the "daily's."
So we took a weekend in April, and now in October. It's camping (I'm not a camper). We take our own food, and sleep in a tent, trailer or van (whatever you prefer!) and met at mealtimes to share what our experience was. Other than that we were alone, except for three seperate times when we met with 2 others to turn to the Lord.
Oh Shoot. This is getting long. No one reads these outrageously long posts. But I had to give some background! Forgive me please!
So Friday night, we eat, we talk and laugh, and share a little, and head to our prospective solitary sleeping places in the dark forest. (oooh the Drama! I was like 10 feet away from Kim.)
Now I will change the personal pronoun from we to I because I am the boss of my own blog. (thank you April!) No really, because I can only share from my own experience at this point, although it was so corporate. But personal- ug. This is so hard to do!
As I lay in my tent, looking at the dust sparkle in the candlelight, I wondered so many things. Would I sleep? Could I quiet myself down enough? How are the kids? How would I scrapbook this? How would I blog it? How much laundry am I gonna have when I get home? How is that patient? I wonder if I am good at my job? Will I ever lose weight?
Then a sigh and I say "Lord Jesus."
Fall fast asleep.
Mind whirring once again in the morning. Around 8:30 I was getting really frustrated because I couldn't summon up that feeling that comes when you are drowning in the awareness of Him. I had to realize that I was trying to push down thoughts, instead of having them, and letting them go, then turning to Him once again. I don't have to drag Him out of me. I just have to let the other go. So I began to do that. And there He was, warm, loving, patient-
Not like He wasn't there before, and that's why I keep using the word "awareness." That sense of Him.
That moment when He is before your thoughts and everything else fades into oblivion and He is all that matters. That "in love" feeling you dreamed about as a teenager. With hearts and fireworks and all. The knowledge that the God of all Heaven and Earth is crazy in love with You. He couldn't wait to get you to look at Him so He could tell you that His longing for you doesn't stop day or night, that everything He ever did was just so He could show you how wonderful His Father is!
There is no scolding for bad behavior. There is no penance. He is glad with the Gladness that birthed creation! He holds nothing back. He unleashes all Himself upon you to whatever extent you can hold the glory! And all I did was call on His Name. It is all the Lord. I add to Him because His nature is increase. He is everything. And in that moment, I know that nothing else will ever matter, and whatever does matter will be found here, inside of Him. That He has taken care of it all.
So here's what I wrote that morning:
In stillness. Active, living stillness
Exchanging, growing - hopeful
You will stop
and abide a while with Me.
Breathing our love for each other-
Growing as One being.
One still, vibrant, eternal life
Inwardly throbbing with
The pulse of Our Father - working
at the speed of light.
You are as
So, that was Saturday morning. And the rest of the weekend proceeded in like fashion. Only more. He kept piling His love all over us, and when we came together to share, it multiplied again. Glorious. And I hear ringing in my spirit His words: "Stay with Me."
So here I'll stay Lord. When I remember You, I will Love you. Just as when I really look at my kids, I kiss and hug them. XO, My Hope- I love you, I love you! Do you hear me? I love you!
Donna wrote it: "You are Liberty in my conciousness!"
I used Mom's camera, so look at her blog if you want pictures, cause she took it back!
Forgive the lack of fine-tuning ya'll. It's not edited, but it's a lot clearer than the journal in my lap!
To behold my Lord in Glory
To come to you as a child
Is all you ask of me
Oh! What a wonderful story
To all those who believe
Lord, You have called us to Glory
To be One with Thee.
I think you portrayed your weekend and experience beautifully to us.
Thank you, Sarah.
I hope all the churches will one day find practical ways such as this to intentionally remind ourselves of who He is and why we are here. To become more completely comfortable in His realm, our true home, and to learn how to get there much more often...daily in fact.
That just sounds like the most incredible weekend. I am so glad you shared.
What a wonderful weekend : ) And by the way...I just loved your poem...how beautifully u expressed yourself...what a love story told for sure! That for me was the best part of the blog was your poem, very exspressive thoughts of love. Wonderfully done : ) I feel the LOve.: ) Well done again GIRL!
Sarah...that weekend sounded amazing...I don't think we as humans can truly describe in words what it's like to be in His presence, but I think you did an awesome job at it...very very touching...glad you shared it!
This really spoke to my heart. Thank you for sharing and your poem is unbelievable. I wrote it down. Thank you again.
Remembering is taking me back. You made the experience doubly real for me Sarah. Lord, I know you never give up. Your purpose stands firm. To have a bride! I love you Lord!
Love you Sarah
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