Retreat…Seeking What is Certain in an Uncertain World

“Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.”
Hosea 2:14 (NIV)

Did you know there are writing tools to help you find just the right title for an article? I wanted to name this one:

Going inside-out to find right-side-up in an upside-down world.

My online tool said it stunk, so I dropped it. But dang, it captures what I prayed the words in this post would convey:

  1. The world is topsy-turvy. If it isn’t a pandemic, it’s protesting— all on a global scale. It’s the kind of stuff that makes us lose sleep at night.
  2. The prophet Isaiah said on behalf of God, “My people don’t know up from down.” What’s true and what’s false depends upon what channel you’re watching. Fortunately, even when we’re not sure what is up and what is down, we can take comfort in the meaning of Isaiah’s name and the motive behind the prophet’s message…GOD SAVES.
  3. But when, where, and how do we experience the God who saves? We at Sisterhood Ministries believe we can find Him in the same place Jesus did while He was here on earth—in the wilderness.

Scripture says,

“…Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” (Luke 5:16, NLT)

The Message version reads this way,

“As often as possible, Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.”

If you and I wanted to have an intimate conversation with someone, we wouldn’t expect to have it in a crowded room or in the middle of balancing a ledger at work. We know that the best way to connect is one on one. Jesus knew it too.

If you’ve been with us for a while at Sisterhood Ministries, you know that our heart’s cry has been to provide opportunities for women to get away with God. We envisioned women experiencing a sacred time of connecting deeper with Him and one another. And yes, we were planning on literally spending time in the wilderness.

Then a minor thing called “global pandemic” got in the way. We wondered if we had heard God’s call regarding Sisterhood and retreat correctly. But then God began to speak more profound things about retreat to us. He helped us realize that whether it be one hour, one day, or one weekend…

Retreat is simply an opportunity for us to experience God and be changed, energized, or both.

All because we’ve spent time in His transforming presence.

Ruth Barton (author of Invitation to Retreat) says this:

“The practice of retreat means we are fashioning a wilderness within that is always available, and we can always return to. However we do it, we are establishing rhythms that give us a concrete way of returning to God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.”

One of the founding verses of Sisterhood is:

“Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14, NIV)

God loves retreat.

So do we.

July will mark the beginning of retreat for the team at Sisterhood. We’d love to invite you to do the same. We are seeking God’s presence as we step away for four weeks. No doubt, the “wilderness” will take on a unique form for each of us.

It’s important to remember:

Time with God can look different from person to person because God's creativity results in variety. Click To Tweet

Each of us is a unique creation of God. Some of us connect with Him through nature. Some of us respond to God by worshipping through music. Others of us draw near to Him by delving into a good book. Each of us will have a unique path (or multiple paths) that lead us to experience intimacy with God.

It is also good to know that:

Time with God can look different from day to day and week to week because sustainability requires flexibility. Click To Tweet

A mistake I’ve made as I’ve tried to “fashion my own wilderness” has been to beat myself up or just plum give up because I couldn’t maintain a consistent rhythm. Some days we have the luxury of a block of time with God. Other days we invite Him to be with us even when the day looks nothing like we planned. God is bigger than whatever idea we may have regarding time with Him.

The point isn’t perfection in the pursuit. The point is that God is present in the pursuit, no matter what it looks like.

This week we’ll be leaving you with ideas and resources for your retreat. If you go to our Freebies page you’ll find a great resource for how we can stay connected with others even as we disconnect! Below you’ll find a resource with ideas on how to connect with HIM.

Our prayer at Sisterhood is that we each hear tender truths about how deep His love is for us and that those truths stoke the flames of our faith, as well as the trust and confidence we all need in this topsy-turvy world.

Click the image to download the resource list.

Reflection Questions

Have you ever tried attending or creating a private retreat with God?

If the answer is yes, what was your greatest takeaway, and what would you want for a takeaway today?

If the answer is no, ask God to show you why. If it was financial reasons, ask God to show you creative ways to spend time away with Him that are not costly (an afternoon in the park, a morning walk before the kids are up, swapping homes with a friend for a day or overnight). If fear has held you back, ask God to show you why an intimate time with Him makes you afraid. Then ask God to break any chains that are keeping you from drawing closer to Him.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank You that You are the kind of God that desires to have an intimate relationship with us. Help us not be defeated by lies that the enemy may use to sabotage time with You. Lies like, “A retreat is for folks who are more religious than me.” “I don’t know how to retreat, so why try?” “The thought of retreat makes me feel like I don’t measure up.” Lord, drown out any lies that would prevent time with You. Help us hear only Your word and Your invitation to come and rest. Show us how to find our “getaway” in the wilderness with You. Allure us. Lead us. Speak tenderly to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

7 thoughts on “Retreat…Seeking What is Certain in an Uncertain World

Cindy Wilkins

I pray this is a time of renewal and refreshment for you all! You and the Ministry will be in my prayers!

Reply

    Cindy Krall

    Aw, thank you Cindy! Your prayer for us is our prayer for you and every woman touched by Sisterhood! May the month of July bring revelation, peace and intimacy with God for every single one of us!

    Reply

Nancy Silvers

Some may hear the word “retreat” and think of armies drawing back after facing a formidable enemy in defeat but in truth the retreating back is to regroup, make a plan, get some rest for what is coming ahead. To retreat is a smart strategy. It allows us to assess without the distraction of the battle. I have had to pull back and retreat the last few days and will continue to do so as I spend time with Abba daddy, my brother Jesus and my helper, the Holy Spirit. I need to meet in a quiet place and listen to all three. When I don’t I give the enemy permission to steal my joy-I need a daily refilling so that I can do what God calls me to do each day.

I will be holding you’all and Sisterhood Ministries even closer in prayer as you step back and retreat. May God’s light shine on you and bless you richly.

Reply

    Cindy Krall

    I love this Nancy! I read once that retreat in the military is also known as “strategic withdrawal”. Isn’t that a cool way to think of it?! We covet your prayers. We are sincere in seeking His best plan for this ministry as well as the ministry He calls every single one of us to in our daily lives. We appreciate you (and the prayers) so very much Nancy!

    Reply

Jodie

Cin- I have attended a retreat! My soul purpose for that time was to nourish my soul as I spent intentional time with God. I found a depth of prayer I was longing for. I was reassured that having other deep spirited friends to support me was good. I left well fed and longing for more time with Jesus.

I’m so thankful that …
THE POINT ISN’T PERFECTION IN THE PURSUIT. THE POINT IS THAT GOD IS PRESENT IN THE PURSUIT, NO MATTER WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.
I have undiagnosed ADD and often change how I retreat but a few things remain each time- my bible, a journal, and a quiet place. This time I will call it a wilderness and trust that God will allure me, delight me, refresh me.
And after? Well- wherever He leads, I pray, I will go!

Reply

    Cindy Krall

    I think my favorite part about what you shared is what you said about leaving a time of retreat “well fed but longing for more.” Isn’t that the truth? Time away with Him can leave us SO full and yet it is impossible not to want more! I think God is the only one who can fill us with perfect contentment coupled by the perfect yearning for more. Love you Sis. On to the wilderness we go!

    Reply

Becky

Yes I have and it was wonderful, I did a day retreat and it allowed me to refocus and recenter.

Reply

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