Friday, September 14, 2012

Solitude and Silence

I wanted to post about my trip the moment I got home. But truthfully, I wanted to first unpack my suitcase, talk with Husband a bit, and just sort of take it easy. I knew that tomorrow would be back to my usual life so I just wanted to soak in the last little bit of the day in my memories.

And of course, because of the homesteading lifestyle we chose to live, I had a cow to milk, milk to process, eggs to wash, muddy floors to mop, a bed to make and the challenge of trying to find the kitchen counters. Apparently the "maid" didn't show up even once while I was gone. LOL

I started my day with devotions, of course. I first journaled this: "I am home now. The house is a wreck. I see work every place I look. Dirty dishes, laundry, unmade bed, so many, many things out of place. It's a panic-type feeling looking around the house. Especially after my weekend of prayer, peace, ah...... I need to read some Scripture and pray so that I can start my morning routine out in the barn first. Then I can shower, dress and start my day here in the house. I need to wash windows inside and out before the cold weather starts. So much to do - so much to do!"

And then, quiet as a whisper, in my heart, God said to me "Instead of finding fault with your life and always asking 'why' you should be willing to ACCEPT EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE OF LIFE IN AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE! If you truly believe, Laurie, that your affairs are in My hands, every event, no matter how joyous, mundane or tragic, it should be taken as part of My perfect plan for your life."

OK, Lord. Thanks for the attitude adjustment. You are right - I know... die to self, die to self! *smile*

So here is my story... better late than never, right?

This is the beautiful little cabin that the Lord provided for me for my Solitude and Silence Retreat. It was in a very serene and secluded place. I felt like I was the only one in the entire world - Just Jesus and me. What a delightful, peaceful, incredible experience!
It had everything that my heart desired. I love little log cabins. I love screen porches! Just look at this beautiful porch. I spent many hours in either the wicker rocking chairs or the little picnic table, reading praying, searching for what God wanted to tell me. He surprised me time and after time with little gifts of love. For example, I love drinking coffee in my tall coffee cup. Guess what was in the cupboard? Yep, a tall coffee cup. I love cooking with stainless steel pans instead of Teflon. Guess what? Yep, one little stainless sauce pan and one stainless steel frying pan. I consider myself a "foodie" and avoid things like grains, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, etc. as many of you know. I had taken a few almond flour pancakes with me. The syrup in the cupboard was listed corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup as the first two ingredients. No syrup for me.... There was a jar of peach jelly in the refrigerator (no preservatives, only peaches and sugar) were the ingredients on the label. I spread a tiny bit on my pancakes and smiled. He went to great lengths to get me there to shower me with His grace and mercy and lovingkindess!

This is the incredible view out the back of the screened in porch. The little cabin sits up on a hill and looks down over a creek, in the little valley below. It reminds me of the view out my own little screen house. The weather was perfect - not too hot and not too cold to enjoy sitting out there a lot. I was reminded of His goodness in the lush, green woods. Even the birds declare His goodness!

 Even the cabin's supporting beams declare His glory!!!!

I had no idea why the Lord brought me to this place. I had been feeling that He wanted to tell me something but my life was too busy to hear Him. (He knows me so well.) I sat in silence for the first day and night. I woke in silence the next morning and remained silent all the second day. No worship music, no creating art, nor hand-quilting, nothing that would drown out His voice or distract me from Him. I read my devotional book, and wept as I prayed for my precious family, for dear friends, the lost and unloved, and my country. I journaled, searched the Scriptures, rested, repeated the process. Over and over again I kept asking, "OK, I am here. I am trying my best to listen. What do You want to tell me?" I only felt His great love for me.

 As I silently ate my dinner the second evening, five deer came out of the woods and grazed outside the kitchen window. Immediately the verse "As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God." Psalm 42:1 came to my mind. I watched them for a long time. They would look up at me and go back to grazing. What a blessing! What a gift of love!

I finished my dinner, did up the dishes and sat back to read The Word and journal some more. Again, only silence from Abba Father. But still the love remained strong. At times, I felt I could hardly breathe deep because His presence was so strong. Lovely, lovely time.

I woke the next morning (day 3) and wrote in my journal, "I am sitting here thinking how slow time is in this place. It is a restful pace that gives one plenty of time to read, pray, sleep and ponder. I am so grateful for this time....

I am so thankful that I came to this beautiful place. My heart is content here and my spiritual love-tank is being filled to overflowing so that I can go home and serve again. This time it will not be in my own strength but from the fresh filling God has given me. I can't wait for Bible study!!!

Well, enough rambling for now. I need to grab a cup of that delightful smelling coffee, open my Bible, devotional book and see where You take me this morning. (Wishing Husband was here to have coffee with me. I miss him.)"

During devotions He finally spoke to my heart!!!! Here is my journal post....

"Wow, Lord! You really showed up this morning! So much so that I had a good cry of happy tears of joy. I finally figured out why You wanted to take me away to this place. You wanted to tell me fresh and anew HOW EVERY MUCH YOU LOVE ME!!!! That's it! Nothing new and profound - just the simple basic truth of how much I mean to You.

I stepped outside for just a minute or two (it's cold out this morning and I am still in my pajamas) and as I was scanning the beautiful view, God whispered to me,


Every blade of grass, every tree, this cabin, the deer... all this is for you! I knew you would be here today, Laurie, so I created it all for your pleasure."

The pressure is off my shoulders now - my wondering what He wanted to tell me or show me. Oh my! Was He wanting me to serve in Africa???? This truth of how much He loves me will sustain me through any trial the world has to bring. He love me! He loves me! Oh how He loves me!!!!!

Then I heard "Laurie, do you know what a joy it is to live in your heart? Do you realize that I have looked on you and loved you for all eternity? Before the world was created, before you came into being, I knew you and had a plan for your life. In my book your days were all written. The days that were ordained for you, Laurie, when as yet there was not one of them. I knit you together in your mother's womb, carefully choosing what you would look like. How precious are My thoughts to you, Laurie! You are My beloved. You are My delight and My delight is in you! All this for you. All this for you."

*insert tears here - lots of tears* 

I went inside, turned on the worship music and danced before the Lord. Just Abba and I. Round and round we went. It was a precious time I will never forget. And I felt that now I was free to just rest, have fun and soak in the gift.

 I gathered my things and set my art quilt up. I am so glad I brought it, though I was willing to lay it aside for Him. I set it up outside on the screened porch. Tiny beads and tiny stitches in remembrance of Him.

I memorized the 23 Psalm here. I always "sort of knew it" but now I can quote it word for word. I am sure God will use that memorized Scripture many times in my life.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the quiet waters. He restores my soul. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows! Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of Lord forever"... and ever and ever and ever! AMEN!

A tiny beaded cross in the center of each square. Every time I look at it I will think "All this for you!"

I sat here one last time, before I packed my bags to go home. I must have said THANK YOU a trillion times. And you know..... I think I heard Him say, "You are most welcome. It was My pleasure!"

And you know what? He means it.

He loves YOU that much too - and desires a deep, abiding personal relationship with the Savior. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

What I received on my retreat is available for anyone who loves the Lord, has asked Him to be Lord and Savior, and is filled with the Holy Spirit. ALL THIS IS FOR YOU TOO!


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