Monday, November 7, 2016
Renewed and Refreshed
Yesterday, I returned from a 4-day women’s retreat in Chouteau, OK. Being on the Leadership Team and preparing for this retreat meant intentional two-times-a-week meeting and much diligence, focus and preparation by our team to give these women an event that had the potential of tremendously impacting their lives.
Here’s the best part of the retreat. We unplugged from the world. No watches or phones. No distractions. Just all on-purpose to disconnect from all the busy, fast-paced, hustle and bustle of everyday life. Young moms, single gals, and mature women like me…who came to get away from it all to be on retreat.
What does retreat mean? If we were talking about an army, it could mean to withdraw from enemy forces....throw in the towel, so to speak. Contrary to that definition, for us, it is better defined as withdrawing from the routines of life to refresh, revitalize, and deepen our relationship with each other AND God. It was just beautiful how we stopped focusing on what's outside, to focus on what.....rather, WHO is on the inside.
I felt so connected with God and my sisters. Though we were from many various cultures, seasons of life, and responsibilities, we had one major thing in common, we are ALL daughters of the Most High God and we yearn for more of Him. I'll just betcha' God enjoys retreats as much as we do, especially when the common language is LOVE and hearing “God is good -- all the time. All the time -- God is good.”
Though we went away, "retreat" doesn't have to mean leaving town or going to a quiet setting somewhere. We CAN find rest in our lives and homes ANYWHERE though “being in a quiet place” sounds impossible?
When I typed the words ‘refresh’ and renew’ into my computer's search engine, I got a wide range of results, from instructions on how to refresh my computer's websites, to Dr. Oz’s nutrition ideas, to advertisements for health spas, face cream, and exercise regimes, to air fresheners, and even to a conference.
Here's how we can refresh and renew anytime, anywhere. Isaiah 40:29-31 gives us the assurance that God is involved intimately with our lives. “He gives power to the faint and strength to the powerless. They that wait for the Lord shall RENEW their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” His strength is available to us when we need it, to renew and refresh us. Psalm 119:114 "YOU ARE MY place of quiet RETREAT"
Being on a retreat doesn’t necessarily imply that we leave town and go to a quiet, off-the-beaten path, retreat center. It can mean, right where we are – right now – in the middle of our hectic and frenzied day – we just need to pause to retreat with our Lord who renews, refreshes, restores and even rejuvenates us enough that we can walk and run with new strength and determination.