As I mentioned in my last blog, I spent last weekend at our Women’s Retreat at church. I am a veteran “women’s retreater” and I love everything about them.

I looked up the word “retreat” in the dictionary and this is what it said:

1. the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion.
2. a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy

3. a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation
4. an asylum, as for the insane.

When I first started going, I was the mother of a 3 year old and an 8 month old, so that last definition really applied! All kidding aside (and, hey, who’s really kidding?) a retreat is all these things. There is something so soul-enriching about retreating from the everyday and spending time in the company of other women…in the company of God. I’ve attended retreats at camps, hotels and even the beach. I’ve been with large groups and small. I’ve heard nationally noted speakers and the heart-felt words of a pastor’s wife. The setting or speaking lineup has never really mattered…God has been faithful to meet me every time.

This last retreat was all about being quiet – something we have such a hard time doing these days. It was about unplugging, decompressing, and being still. There is so much to learn in the silences. Over the last 5 years, God has been slowing me down. Each year, He has been helping me strip away the unnecessary so I can see and hear Him more clearly. I’ve discovered that the Holy Spirit operates as a “still, small voice” for a reason – you have to stop what you’re doing to hear Him. There truly is a special “knowing” of God when you’re still, just like the scripture says; in fact, I would go so far as to say that there is a side of God that you only come to know in the stillness.

No matter what season of our lives we are in, we need to retreat from time-to-time. It’s okay to run away from our lives, and run straight into the arms of our Abba Father…to rest and find perspective…to hear the whispers of love and encouragement that are only heard in the quiet. If you’ve never attended a retreat, I encourage you to go to the next one your church offers or if your church doesn’t offer one, find one that does. But, in between those planned retreats, find a way to retreat a little everyday. God will be faithful to meet you wherever you are.