The weekend before my birthday, I had a conversation with a friend in church about the upcoming womens retreat.It turned out that one of the ladies had cancelled unexpectedly and a spare room was available and I was offered the room. In my mind, there was no doubt about it, this was God, I mean what were the chances of this happening? At this moment of good news I made a promise that I would bless this woman whoever and wherever she was.This had really come at the right time as my spirit was in desperate need of an MOT.
The weekend was themed ‘Seeking God’ a spiritual pampering experience, however nothing could have prepared me for what was in store for the weekend.I arrived at DeVere Chesham, Latimer Place on Saturday afternoon, after a difficult journey and my blackberry dying on me halfway. At the reception the retreat organisers said that we had quiet time for 3 hours. What? This was not what I had planned, what was I going to do on my own for 3 hours? I entered the large conference room as a CeCe Winans song began to play and found all the women sitting in different parts of the room just basking in the presence of the Lord. I remember the scripture that instantly came to my mind “Be still, and know that I am God,”(Ps 46:10 NIV) I sat down in one corner of the room and began to cry, I had finally come to a place where I had no choice but to face God.
Over the next two days, I slowly unwinded, far away from the hustle and bustle of London life in the heart of Chesham, near the Chiltern Hills. The view from my room overlooking the Chess Valley, just five miles from the junction 18 of the M25. Right there and then in the midst of Victorian architecture, the beautiful English countryside and fresh Chiltern air all the walls of pain came tumbling down, in such a simple way. From one sister to another,this act of kindness changed my whole perspective. By just being in a new environment I released myself from so much of what had been holding me back. I had been coming to church and putting a first aid bandage on my pain but this retreat caused me to be still and face God. I was like a patient on an operating table, being spiritually cut open.Just like that in the twinkling of an eye, the coin had flipped and my inside had changed.This was the beginning of my healing process.
For me the ability to go on retreat and slow down completely was so crucial.To be perfectly happy in being inactive. To be still.To appreciate God and to bring Him back to the centre of it all.To have glorious sleep, new friendships, prayers, nutritrious food, country walks, to cry and to laugh. It sounds so simple but it is entirely true.
I recognise now that stillness is truly the presence of God. Prior to this I had lost sight of who I was in Christ so I needed to go back to basics.
Although I am not entirely out of the woods yet, I am back on the right path. I realise now that nothing can happen for me in the outside world unless I retreat regularly and settle it first with my Father.