Retreat of Silence

Midday of Day 2 on our Retreat of Silence and I was ready to talk.  Cheryl laughed, gave me a hug, and said, “Tomorrow.”

I was ready to share with my sweet friend what the Holy Spirit has been revealing through this time of silence, of listening, of learning. Ready to talk about the connections I’m making with what I’ve been learning through the last several months and where I hear Him calling me to focus now. Today. This minute.

Ready to talk about the plans He’s unfolding in my heart and mind, what I’ve written down, what’s yet to be written down.
And ready to listen to what and where Cheryl hears Him calling her.

I told God I was ready to start talking, too. Funny thing, He wasn’t done sharing with me and, if I’d have started talking then, I’d have missed a lot of what He wanted me to see and hear, of sweet moments of peace and worship … some of which brought me to tears.

I won’t lie, it’s been tough not talking for almost three days. There are times when hand signals and smiles just aren’t enough. We limited our conversations to only what needed to be said in those brief moments. I get Drew’s advice to do these solo, the temptation to talk is tremendous!

We started our Retreat with two different agendas.  When I let Cheryl know several months ago I was planning to do a Retreat of Silence (we call it the RoS), she said without hesitation that she’d fly down to join me. My friend left the cool-compared-to-Texas weather of North Dakota without even a second thought.

Our conversation just prior to her boarding the final leg of her flight earlier this week,

“Lisa, is it hot?”

“Yes dear.  It’s hot.”

My sweet friend & I started our RoS both seeking to hear God’s voice with an earnest desire to know His heart and eager expectation to learn where He’s calling us to serve. Both of us. Together these few days in the same space and yet alone, because God has plans for us individually as well as together.

I found us a space to retreat close enough to home but far enough away that nothing is familiar. A space where the only thing to capture my attention, our attention, is the quietness. A space where our only priority is to sit at our Savior’s feet and listen. Cheryl & I set our own individual agendas, agreeing to meet at specific times for meals. The rest of our time was solo and we both let the Spirit lead us where He willed. Prior to Day 1, I gave myself a very loose agenda as a guideline to follow: listening, planning & Bible study, prayer.

Sad our time is winding down, I’m tired yet rested. I’ve shed tears over these past days and spent time just plain smiling. It’s been a good respite. It has been a time to stop, to listen and read, and yes … sleep. Would I do this again? In a heartbeat.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV

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