Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the annual Georgia WMU's Hearts Called to Pray Retreat.  This year's theme was "Moments of Truth" and it was held at the Pinnacle Retreat Center in Clayton, the same place I took my daughter to camp this summer. It is a beautiful location for prayer.

Our opening session Friday night was primarily for fun and then to introduce us to the theme .  I loved having an opportunity to meet fellow sisters in Christ and be silly for a while, playing Minute to Win It games and People Bingo (you know that game where you find others in the room who have done "unusual" tasks listed on a gameboard).  I never personally found someone who had more than four children, but I was able to sign the space for many people that I have changed a diaper in the last five years.  Boy, have I ever!  We also ate some sweets that evening.  I'd already stopped at a Mennonite bakery on the way.  I certainly didn't need them, but I enjoyed the fellowship!  God blessed me anyway.  I actually lost weight over the weekend, rather than gaining any!

Part of the fun is staying up late to talk with your roommies, like it's a slumber party!  Roxie, the WMU Director from our church, and I had a room in the lodge instead of in one of the cabins.  Our lodge room had three twin sized beds, so we had another woman from another church in the room with us, much to our surprise!  We knew it was a possibility, but had forgotten all about that possibility when we unlocked the door and found Ruth sitting inside!  It was great to find out about Ruth and to share our funny stories and our own "moments of truth" from our lives with someone new.  If I never see her in this earthly life again, I know it will be a blessing to see Ruth in Glory.

Saturday was really the day to get down to the business of learning about world religions and discovering how to pray for and engage with those of other religions.  I enjoyed my morning quiet time with God in the cool mountain air before our first session.  In college, I was required to take a World Religons course, so it was mainly a good refresher for me on worldview.  It made me think I may delve into some topics on worldview sometime here in the future.  Rather than the personal prayer time scheduled after this first session, Roxie and I actually prayed together, and it was so good for us.

Later, our second session was about facing the challenge of Islam in the 21st century.  We broke for lunch, which was served in two groups.  I was part of the first group, so I had time for a walk alone before the second scheduled quiet time for personal prayer.  I had already walked a couple of marked trails, and I decided to try to find somewhere different for this walk so I might go further away from the group.  I started on a marked trail, but then broke off to the left, staying on a trail, but it was an unmarked one.  It. was. perfect.

Far away from everyone.  Free from the responsibilities of being a wife (pastor's wife at that!) and mother, I was able to really focus on my relationship #1, with God.  Heavenly Father and child alone time.  I could talk and sing out loud because I really did go as far as this trail led (to the road that was not on Pinnacle property).  As for my safety, don't worry, I didn't go off of the trail, and I did used to teach outdoor living skills at a similar church camp.  Plus, I had a cell phone on me if I had hurt myself.

After this time alone with God dealing with my personal needs, I was able to walk back to camp, find a nice spot in the sun on a bench where I could hear the creek running and see the lake in the distance, and pray for Muslim women to come to Christ.  I was so thankful for this time!

When was the last time you stole away for prayer and quiet reflection?

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A Nest in the Rocks said...

I"m going to Women of Faith this weekend with a friend. I'm looking forward to the girl time, the God time most of all, and the chance to retreat a bit from 'regular' life. :-)

Lauren said...