We went back out to the Lakeview Baptist Assembly and Conference Center like we did last year. It's a beautiful camp set on the "Lake O' the Pines" in Lone Star, TX. The food is always fantastic and the motel-type rooms are always clean! That's my kind of camping. ;)
One of the greatest blessings of the weekend was having Dr. Karla Hale Gerdes as our speaker. Aunt Karla, to me! We were lucky to get her for our retreat as she had a busy retreat-speaking schedule this spring!
Now it does seem rather odd to have a speaker at a silent retreat, but I wanted to bring someone in who had been a part of a silent retreat before to be able to "sell" the idea to our ladies. But Karla did so much more than that. Friday night, she walked us through what to expect during our time of silence. She prepared our hearts to be in the presence of God and prepared our ears to hear his voice. Her counseling talents were put to use as women opened up to her with questions, sorrows and joys. Sunday morning she honed in on the reciprocal joy that we and God feel when we are in each other's presence! So many women, including myself, were blessed by her words. She truly directed our attention and focus to God and he was glorified!
Saturday night, after spending the day in silence, we had a time of sharing. I wanted to give the ladies an opportunity to share the exciting or mundane, painful and/or healing, disappointing or fulfilling, sorrowful or joyful experiences that they had had during their times of silence. Women shared how God used books to speak to them exactly where they were. How being in the beautiful outdoors gave them a greater sense of his presence. They shared words that God put on their hearts for themselves and for others. We grieved with Chelsea on her recent miscarraige. (You should definitely read about her experience!) We celebrated with the "Top 10 Joys" of Lori's life. We laughed hysterically with Sherri when she told of how she felt God calling her in one direction of the camp, but she went the other and then a bird pooped on her head!
For me, God put a song on my heart. An old hymn that I could have sung the alto line perfectly on, but not realized the words I was singing. I love rewriting the lyrics of the old hymns so that they are a little easier to understand, so that's what I did with this one. Here are my lyrics:
- Speak to me, Lord, so that the words I say reflect what you have said to me.
- In the same way that you have repeatedly sought out this lost sheep, give me eyes to seek out the last, the lost and the least of these.
- Lead me, Lord, so I can learn how to be a leader.
- Feed me, so I will remember to feed others.
- Give me the strength I need while standing on you, the Solid Rock, so that I can then reach out to pull others out of sinking sand.
- Teach me, Lord, so that I can teach others. And give my words wings to fly as far as they need to go to reach the people who need to hear them.
- Give me your rest, so that I will be ready to speak gently, but powerfully to the right person at the right time.
- Fill my heart, Lord, so that it overflows with love and praise in my thoughts, words and actions.
- Use me however, whenever and wherever until that blessed day wen I see your face and experience your rest, your joy and your glory!
Of course, those are the revised lyrics for the hymn, "Lord, Speak to Me." "Faith & Praise" doesn't have all of these lyrics, but these were the original ones, revised, of course.
After the retreat, I felt rested. Amazing, right? Usually after a ladies retreat I'm exhausted, wiped out, depleted ... in need of a retreat. :) But after this weekend, I was energized, rested and filled!
Please go on a silent retreat. Plan one if you have to. You and God need a long date!