happiness · house

Making a spiritual retreat at home

20170115_083619It never occurred to me that I could find Jesus at home. Not the flesh and blood but the spirit. My physical sense of longing has been active for years, searching in churches and temples, sacred spaces, parks, oceans and rivers for the God I loved and the God I let go of. There have been days I have found Him deeper in the waves of the ocean than on my knees in a church. In the rough terrain of spiritual travel, the inner divine sometimes gets caught up with the worldview of spirituality. With so many different ways to celebrate God, I have often become mired in the rules and opinions of others. The beauty of humans is their willingness to go to any length to find comfort in the seat of God’s lap, but the darkness creeps up in the judgment of where that lap is. God will always be God regardless of our thoughts or opinions. But the way we relate to God is similar to the way we relate to the world; a blade of grass that speaks to me may mean nothing to you while the sound of the highway may mean everything.

I have been bed bound for several days now and the kids and husband are away. Though the pain has been great, the clarity has been far-reaching. The depths of my heart have been crying out for a spiritual retreat, a time of silence, a time away. And although I have silently prayed for these things, almost an unconscious prayer if you will, I always thought it a bit selfish to ask God for a spiritual getaway. In any event, it would never happen. I have a job and three children, a husband and a full plate; that is until I was forced into bed by something I could not control. So when the family left for the weekend I was in pain and alone. It’s been ten years or so since the last time I ever remember being alone like this. Smack dab in the middle to end of Lent I found myself here, in a desert I prayed for but never saw coming. My first thought was to reluctantly give my pain up for someone who didn’t deserve it, my least favorite person, someone who had persecuted myself and many around me. I asked God to accept my pain as a sacrifice for this man’s salvation, his reconciliation with God and a second chance at mercy.

Heading into day two, the silence seemed uncomfortable. But I noticed the sunlight coming off the kitchen window, the beautiful color of the dark wood stairs and the sound of the highway that reminded me I was not far from the chaos of the world. I wanted to create a sacred space, get on my knees on a kneeler to Mary, look at an iconic picture and find myself surrounded by darkness and candlelight. But from a bed this was impossible, so I started to research retreats at home and found nothing. So I turned back to Jesus and his methodology and the idea of spiritual retreat.

Withdraw to deserted places to pray

I realized that it didn’t take a special set of prayers, or an icon or candles. I didn’t have to fall to my knees. The ocean didn’t have to be close and I didn’t have to sit amongst flowers in a perfectly manicured garden. The house was deserted, my heart was open and I simply had to be…

Many of us find ourselves in these situations. Hectic schedules, health problems, the inability to travel due to time or money constraints. We want bigger houses, bigger jobs and bigger lives.

But bathed in silence, the places that we are planted come to life. The light shines from the darkness

I am not saying that God may not move you, He may. But chances are the thing that you are searching for is right in front of you. We are missing the wood grain, the ray of sunlight, the sacred shrines in our hearts. What we are missing is silence…

I encourage you today to drop the thoughts in your head at the threshold, invite the Holy Spirit in, sit and do absolutely nothing. Like the magic of Beauty and the Beast, the things around you will suddenly start to come to life…

 

Thank you Nino…

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21 thoughts on “Making a spiritual retreat at home

      1. That’s what I’ve been trying to explain about “form”. Answers to prayers don’t always come in the form you expect them. We probably miss a lot that way.

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  1. Melissa, when I was searching for a place of my own – a search that took about three years – a friend gave me these verses to pray on: “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven.” (Psalm 107:28-30)

    Ever since I moved into my own place three years ago, I have embraced the Spirit who moved in with me – Immanuel – and have given my thanks for this desired haven He brought me to. Yes, God is in your home, in the quiet spaces, in the meals you serve, in the laughter of your children, in the smile of your husband, in the tears you shed and in the times you hold each other and feel each others’ breath and heartbeat. For that is His breath and heartbeat you feel. His love in the meals and laughter and hugs. And even in the tears.

    I am so glad you found Him; He has been waiting to be discovered. ❤

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    1. This is so beautiful Susan. I wasn’t expecting this move into my new home- it will be the first time my husband and I have owned a home together and we will be married 10 years this year. I am also turning 40 which is a spiritually significant number. For all my years of wandering, I feel closer to the sacred space I am about to receive. I love that verse, I will meditate on that today!

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  2. Jesus said “I am in the Father He is in me and I am in you.” We carry the power of God with us at all times. Ask and you will receive. He wants to pour out His grace more than we are prepared to receive. He believes in us more than we believe in His presence.
    God Bless.

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