Would you just stop and think for a minute…
How many times in the recent months have you sighed (and maybe even complained) about how busy you were?
My hand is up. I am guilty.
I said there was no time for (xyz). I thought to myself how I wish I could just stay home and get some things done.
None of us could ever have imagined the state in which we find ourselves. Like every other “event” on my calendar, the ladies’ events I was planning on attending this spring have both been cancelled. I know that a sovereign God has allowed this, and wants to use it, first and foremost to glorify Himself. I am praying for a sweeping revival starting in my heart, and moving to my church, my community, my country and my world.
I also know that God wants to use this time to change me. This week, I was reading in Psalm 53 and the Lord arrested my attention with verses 2 and 3 ~
God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
It was as if the Lord was saying, “Denise, will you see Me during this time? Will you understand what I want to say to you? Or will you keep going on your fast track, ignoring my activity in Your life and turning a deaf ear to what I want to say to you?”
My heart cried out, Oh Lord, I want to seek You! I want to understand Your ways! Then I went to my husband and told him he would not see me until lunchtime. I went up to my place where I could shut the door and be alone with God for the whole morning. This is one of the blessings of being my age! When my girls were home, I was a busy homeschooling mom, so 30 minutes in the morning was what most days held in my Quiet Place. But this week, I could take the time necessary to be with the Lord, lean in and hear His voice and then speak to Him in prayer.
In my personal retreat time I:
- Read through several Psalms and other passages in Scripture slowly, meditatively.
- I wrote down what the Lord was saying to me in my journal.
- I stopped and prayed about those things God brought to my mind.
- I sang praises to the Lord.
- I read a devotional book about fear.
- I prayed about my burdens.
- I sang some more.
- I prayed about opportunities to share hope during these days.
- I prayed for others – people who don’t know Christ, people who are sick, those who might need encouragement.
- I prayed for my own heart to respond right in these hard times.
- I asked God for wisdom to spend my days in a way that would honor Him.
I descended the stairs hours later with a new heart. I had a new perspective. I had a new determination about
- My role as a wife, a sister in Christ, as a church member, as a witness to this world.
- How I could be a blessing to others while isolated from them.
- How I could be a voice of encouragement to people who might not know Christ.
- What I should be memorizing from Scripture.
- How I can use my time productively.
The Lord had impressed on my heart that I need to make the most of these weeks. I want to be able to look back on this time and realize that I am better off because of being forced to stay home, to miss times at our church building, to not have the fellowship of friends and family. I want it to make me better!
My encouragement to you is to find time to have your own personal retreat. You might be working from home, so you’re busy all day, but you will probably have the weekend or even the evenings that will be slower than normal. Could you find a couple of hours where you could have your own time of refreshment with the Lord? You might be a busy mom of little children, but could you ask your husband if you could have one hour (or two) to get alone with God? We seek those times when we want to go shopping or go on an excursion. Why not make a real effort to seek a retreat time alone with God?
Like me, you might be able to take a morning or a whole day and have your personal retreat. Or maybe you could do it on Saturday, or Sunday afternoon.
We could spend this down time binging on our favorite shows and we will come out of this restricted time spiritually sluggish, or we could make the effort to spend some devoted time really seeking the Lord’s face, and come out on the other side of this pandemic looking spiritually healthy and radiant. It all happens not by our efforts, but by the grace of God. During this time, may this be said of us that know Christ …
They that fear thee will be glad when they see me;
because I have hoped in thy word. Psalm 119:74
What got cancelled from your agenda? What choice will you make during this time of stillness?