While I was in Denver, Alan had a chance to have a LOT of silence in his life. During that time he realized that silence/peace is something that we have NOT been intentional about in our lives, our marriage and in turn, I personally have somewhat lost my soul. I have worked so hard to become a good teacher, a good wife, and now a good mommy, but in 8 years of doing those things, I've lost ME. I used to have hobbies. I used to enjoy something. I used to be passionate. But, I don't really know how to answer those questions now. So, when I got home from Denver, Alan told me that I was going away the last weekend of October. BUT, I had to choose what I wanted to do. My initial thought was, "who can I go and visit?" or "who would like to join me in my "retreat"' Over the course of a few days, there was a still, small voice that kept whispering, "Do this alone."
If you know me well, I do not do "alone" ever! I receive life from community, people, relationships, conversations, sharing in life with others. However, since having Eliana I have been desperate for "me time". So, I began searching for something retreatish. After several nights of staying up late searching retreat centers (found one in the British Virgin Islands that looked amazing, but it would be a pricey plane ticket last minute!), I finally discovered one in Michigan (only about an hour away) called the Hermitage. After reading their website, I decided this was where I needed to go...even though I was terrified! I called the next day and booked one night!
Once I got over the initial fear of actually being alone and in silence, my 27 hours at The Hermitage were life-giving! God met me in my fear and in the silence, reminded me that I am truly never alone, reminded me that my dreams and passions are worth pursuing, and I fell in LOVE with solitude. I journaled. I walked the trails. I prayed. I ate in silence with other people. I cried. I laughed out loud, alone. I played the piano and sang. I read my Bible. I listened. I spoke. I slept. I drank tea. I wrote poetry. I took pictures. I simply WAS for the first time in a very long time. This experience was just the beginning of me finding ME again!
Here are some photos I took on my solitude retreat...and part of a poem I began to write...
Shimmering up on the dew covered earth
is the light of a God who
gives life to those who believe...
(okay, so if you have ever been a nursing/pumping mom, you will get the humor in this last photo...I couldn't resist!)