Monday, July 11, 2016

Slow Retreat Part One

One of my favorite summer traditions is taking a personal retreat for quiet, Bible study, prayer, reflection, listening and planning for the year ahead. This summer, it worked out for my kids to go to VBS and me to take those mornings for my retreat. So instead of a day retreat it was for a portion of the morning every day for a week.

I like the day retreat because I find it easier to stay immersed in retreat mode rather than stopping and starting every day - however in total hours, the every morning worked out to be more than what I usually get - so there is beauty and value in either way!

I actually spent most of my time this year working on my next book. I know, that is completely crazy to say out loud. I've had the idea for several years and it has been rolling around in my head and heart for ages so it was time to let some of it out and make some progress. In reality, while it sounds crazy to start a book when my first book is limping towards the finish line, Slow Lane has been essentially finished for a year and I've taken that year to pray about and pursue publishing. Now, a year later - the writing and creative itch has returned and so I write regardless of how crazy.

Who even knows how long it will take to finish, but it is started and that is a great place to be right now. I'm not ready to get into details yet - because I don't want any pressure if the vision changes or any certain time frames right now.

There were also some things I wanted to process, so I spent some time journaling, walking, thinking and praying through some of that. When there is a lot on my mind, it swirls around and around sometimes until I have some time to get it out whether through writing, talking it through or just processing it mentally. The queue was getting pretty long and my mental capacity was stretched so this was extremely valuable to me in getting some of those things moving along rather than stuck in over-think mode.

Being outside for all the mornings for an entire week was such a gift. I find that I'm so refreshed by being out in God's creation, it does restore my soul as we are encouraged in Psalm 23. The weather was great, one 45 minute rain didn't crush me - I just sat in my car for that time - and enjoyed the rest of the week as it got progressively warmer all week.

The sky was blue, the fountain was turned on to trickle a little water and a lady bug came to visit me two mornings in a row.

These retreats I take each year are one way I refresh my spirit and soul. Especially as a homeschooling mama with little to no down time, these times away in quiet and solitude are one of the things that keep me going.

How can you carve out some slow soul refreshment this summer?


Unknown said...

What a blessing,and so beautiful!

Aimee said...

I just returned from a Personal Retreat! I went down to St Christopher's Camp and Conference Center in Seabrook Island. Every time I take one I always wonder why I don't do it quarterly :)

Tina Leigh said...

You are very blessed in many ways to be able to do this. I have not figured out how to do that but it is refreshing seeing your posts about it. And another book! How exciting. I started a few weeks ago reading your blog from the beginning. I'm enjoying it so much & learning a lot (taking notes & sending myself email links!). You have so much to offer & you are very wise. Thank you Monica for sharing so much.

And your Mom seems like an awesome person as well. I see her wisdom and love often in your posts.

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

Dear Monica,

That is so exciting about your "next" book. I am thrilled to get Slow Lane. I can not wait. I love reading about your retreats. It has inspired me to do the same. I did an overnight prayer retreat two years ago and it was so nice. was actually very hard. I was in a rough place in my life and I was stuck in overthinking mode. I decided to set up a time to go away and just Be Still! This process was unique because I had to go through circumcision of the heart, repentance, forgiveness (I had to write a letter and make a phone call), study things out the Lord led me to, journal, cry, worship, and sing. It was a different sort of retreat I suppose but at the end God nourished me and refreshed me. He came in when I felt all exposed and healed my heart. I probably would have not grew in the Lord (I wouldn't have) if I had not went on this retreat. I was in a serious rut. Have you ever read Celebrations of Disciplines by Richard Foster? This book helped me so much through this process.

But for a lighter note I do take time occasionally through the year to go to my favorite spot (Panera) with my things and journal, plan, dream, think, and usually I will find a park or beautiful peaceful place to just walk and pray.

Well I have taken too much comment time. Have a wonderful week. I am looking forward to Part Two.


Monica Wilkinson said...

@Aimee - hooray! So glad you had some sweet time away!

Monica Wilkinson said...

@Tina Leigh: wow, from the beginning?! That was about 3000 posts ago :) Grateful to God for His faithfulness - blessing to you, Monica

Monica Wilkinson said...

@Chrissy: thanks for commenting! Great to hear from you! I have not read that book thanks for the suggestion. Glad you have had the opportunity for some retreat time as well.

Mom said...

What a special place this is for you and our family! I'm so glad for you that you've had the opportunity to retreat there each summer. :)