Where do I begin about my weekend. I want to capture every bit of it, so that I never forget.
"God writes the gospel not in the bible alone,
but also in the trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars."
I live in a most beautiful place.
We are nestled near sleeping volcanoes, a glorious mountain range, quiet islands, evergreen forests, ocean beaches, rivers, lakes, a temperate rainforest, beautiful desert - all within this very state. Traveling a short while, we experience the glorious differences that only God could orchestrate together into such a compact space. This is what I love about living here in Washington State.
I was so blessed to be able to spend 3 days at a resort with a wonderful group of ladies from church.
I had no idea what to expect. I had never entertained the thought of going on retreat, it just never seemed like all of the effort to plan my absence was worth it, it was easier to stay home. Well, my children are older now, much more capable of helping take care of things. Alongside Eric, they cared for home beautifully.
A ferry ride and a bit of driving and we arrived on Friday afternoon. We had a very large meeting lodge that was full of cozy couches, tables & chairs, lots of warm coffee & tea, a beautiful view, and each other. Meals were served family style in another large lodge. This was no camp food. We were treated to real food. I think my favorite meal was the second night, when we had homemade bread with baked chicken, rosemary red potatoes, and steamed broccoli. YUM. Best of all no cooking or dishes for us! We were kept very well fed.
Each day we had 3 sessions. The theme of the weekend was kindling creativity and spirituality. It definitely stretched me to see creative ways to pray, and that we pray and worship in ways that we don't even realize. That our whole lives are prayer and worship if we see it that way. This is how I want to live for sure. I see that God being the original creator, that when I create, I am closer to Him.
"Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God."
What a blessing to have that side of me encouraged and purposed. We did quite a lot of writing using prompts. One exercise I loved was using the alphabet to write a psalm. One exercise that was uncomfortable for most of us was reading our writings out loud and accepting praise from others. It is difficult to expose yourself that way for most of us. I am not a person that likes to have the spotlight on me or take credit for things. I prefer to work with a quiet spirit and know that God sees. Whether or not others see is secondary. It is nice to be appreciated though, that is for sure. I was not alone in this, most of the women at the retreat took a bit of coaxing to relax and come out of their shells. our teacher had a special verse that she had us sing over and over throughout the weekend, which worked because now I can't get it out of my head :~)
"I will believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is."
We have the hardest time believing the beautiful and the good about ourselves. God does not want this for us. We are created in his image, and He is good. A beautiful truth. Period.
I had an amazing weekend that has given me so many things to ponder. Here is a prayer that I thought was so beautiful.
"God of passionate life, who sends the sparks, who lights the inner blaze and tends the flame, fill us with your radiance. Enkindle us with your love. Touch us with your goodness so that we will be the kindling of your generous compassion. May the truth we seek and accept shine through all we are and do. God of compassionate life, stir up the embers of your joy. In Christ, Amen."
We had a small worship service Sunday morning and then it was time to head home.
My family was so gracious to manage schedules and keep our nest tidy while I was gone. It was such a blessing to come home to peace and sunshine. I am glad to be home.
Have a blessed day, Tami