Well today I was up early because I started my Daily Life Retreat which is a spiritual retreat held at The Meeting House where I attend church. The retreat is for busy people who can't get away to 'get away'. That would be me!
I was actually out of my house just after 7am. I met the buzzing roads that were already busy with traffic and off I went. I didn't listen to my favorite radio station( which is CBC) but was consciously preparing myself to meet with God and my spiritual director. I know it sounds rather formal but I have never had a spiritual director...I mean not really.
I arrived 10 minutes early but my spiritual director was awaiting her first client, ME. (um I'm not really sure what I was...or am to be called) I wonder what they call us? Retreatants perhaps.This lovely woman had travelled here for the week from Quebec and is staying in Toronto with friends, so I can only imagine she must have been up at 5! She is a Pastor's wife who has left her husband and 3 children (well only for the week). I liked this woman the moment she smiled and I sensed her soft and gentle spirit. I was thankful to be there and to have managed to put aside this time for me and for God. I have been wanting to take part in this ever since my church held this the first time 3 years ago. Either I was off travelling with my music or I was just too busy. I have a song called "Too Busy".
I have felt for quite some time that my personal intimate time in God's word has been stale and quite frankly non existent for weeks on end...gee maybe even years. Ouch. I have found it difficult to carve out a disciplined and consistent time which I could dedicate to meeting with and hearing from God. Praying on the 401 while driving can be quite hazardous...well especially if you feel you must close your eyes! Trying to read the bible just before turning out the light at bedtime often means that God is getting the dregs of the day and if I don't hit the gym first thing in the morning then I'll never get there. So...guess what, that's right I haven't been able to fit Him in!
After introductions we sat comfortably in our cozy chairs, candle flickering and opened ourselves up to the Holy Spirit. Through a few moments of deep breathing and then a prayer of protection we made our invitation to the Holy One. The scene was set. Our time was spent in a sacred space and I soaked it all up. My director slowly read aloud to me a passage of scripture I had spent time meditating on the night before in my quiet time as I prepared for our initial meeting.
Apart from the daily meeting we are required to set aside at least 30 minutes to read, meditate, journal and listen. She then read the passage once again and asked me to tell her what was jumping out at me, what was personally speaking to me. I talked, she listened, and then guided and directed me. She read it again and I elaborated on what I thought God was saying to me through this piece. I had actually journaled from my time alone so I read some of that to her. We started to connect right away. I liked this woman already. Before I knew it my time was up and she invited me to come back at 7:10 am (yes that's not a typo) the next morning, as she said she would be there and willing to spend the extra time. Before leaving my director handed me my day 2 sheet with my choice of scriptures to choose from for the next session.
I left my first session with great anticipation for my time alone that evening. I LOVED it and felt so positive, and less guilty because I had done it!! YEAH! I had made the commitment to God and myself for a daily spiritual retreat.
I am picking up from where I left off on Monday - yikes! Sorry about the delay. Starting my day so early now has totally thrown me. I'm ready for bed after the dishes!
Wow since embarking on this Daily Retreat I can't even begin to say how much has taken place these past 4 days.This time which I have dedicated to my personal spiritual growth has proved to be enlightening, refreshing, meaningful, revealing and profound. I have heard God's voice (well not audibly, but in the way He speaks to me) felt his deep and overwhelming Fatherly love, experienced His direction and affirmation for this new season in my life and have been challenged and encouraged. Yes God has done ALL that and more.
I can't believe it's Friday tomorrow - my last day with my very own personal spiritual director. It's been a privilege and an honour. After my session tomorrow morning I will have shared almost 5 hours with someone, who on Monday, was a complete stranger. In that time I have cried, spilled my heart & soul, revealed my weaknesses, acknowledged strengths, shared dreams and visions and allowed this person to guide and direct one of the most personal and intimate parts of who I am. I have walked away with a new confidence in the woman that I am becoming and a continued wonder in the child of God that I have always been.
I will be ready to face the world again, as I am each day, however I will be getting up earlier and He won't just be getting the dregs. Time to go, day 5 sheet awaits me.... and so does He.
I am gratefully yours,