- by Tom Sine –
Christine and I, and our golden retriever, Bonnie, just came back from one of our prayer retreats at a doggie friendly motel in Anacortes just north of Seattle. It is a modest place with a little view of the water and a great walking trail. Part of the discipline of our lives is to go on a prayer retreat 3 to 4 times a year…following the church calendar.
We usually spend two nights and come back on the third day. Day one is always hard for me. We start by reading back over 3 months of journals. I find it always hard to see how little I have changed. Day two is always a little easier as we seek to listen for a new sense of direction for our individual lives and for our lives as a couple.
Christine and I have found these times immensely valuable. We encourage all couples and singles to find a friend and go on retreat at least twice a year. In addition to reading scripture and our journals and spending time in prayer we often bring an inspirational book. This year I read Desert Fathers and Mothers: Early Christian Wisdom Sayings by Christine Valters Paintner.
It was just the book I needed for this Lenten retreat. The author writes “The desert elders call us to a radical reclaiming of full responsibility for ourselves.” pp.46. I have long believed that the major work of the Holy Spirit is to get us to come out of hiding and deal honestly with all our broken places. God nailed me this past weekend regarding one of my real broken places. I have with God’s help been working this issue for years. But change in my life seems to come at glacial speed.
God’s prescription for me isn’t really that demanding. It means taking time every day in addition to my time in scripture an prayer to re-discover how deeply loved I am by the creator God…in spite of all my broken places.
On those rare occasions when I can fully enter into God’s grace filled love for me at a very deep level then nothing can shake my tree. In those deeply centered moments I can view my life and times of difficult encounters with a much fuller sense of both detachment and discernment.
As we are journeying through the final days of Lent, can you find even a couple hours on Sunday or some other evening to be present to God? I encourage you to ask the Lord to not only show you those areas in your life that need some work, but also to ask God to show you how deeply he loves you.
Can you find two hours this Lent to transparently wait before God to receive both God’s correction and God’s deep love for you? Will you write me this week and tell me how God is getting your ready to celebrate on that great Easter morn?