Posted by: Diane | October 7, 2013

Weekend Retreat

If my 11.5 hour sleep last night is any indication of the past weekend,  you can imagine how full the past three days have been.

I was asked to speak four times at a women’s retreat up north and what a joy it was to get bask in the beauty of our surroundings!  If you want to see magnificent colors, head to the Haliburton highlands of Ontario and take it all in.  The cottage property was blanketed in yellow, orange and red leaves, there was a gentle breeze coming off Eagle Lake and despite the on-and-off rain showers, all 53 of us experienced endless aspects of God’s creative hand.

The theme of the weekend was, “Late Have I Loved You? – Living out God’s presence and Truth in Everyday Life” and Friday night’s focus was on acknowledging and addressing the ways that we justify sin in our everyday lives – choices we make and different strategies we depend on that do not honor God or help us grow spiritually.

Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.     Song of Solomon 2.15

H.A. Ironside commented on this verse:

What are the little foxes? Ah, I can tell you many  – little compromises with the world; vanity, pride and envy, disobedience to God’s  still, small voice in the little things when no one is looking; the secret, unhealthy indulgences to the flesh  – with this, the beauty and the fruitfulness of the vine are sacrificed.” 

We know there are little foxes in our lives but we’ve chosen to keep them there because they make our life “work”, we’ve practised their presence, they’ve become a pattern and we’ve settled with a life that is manageable, rather than a life that is vibrant.

Last April, our pastor spoke on the “sneaky sins” described in 1 Peter 2.1 – malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. He said, “These sins aren’t the obvious stuff but they are signs of a crippled life. The sneaky sins are the “take down” sins and they fly in the face of Jesus, the Truth.”  On Saturday morning, I took this topic further and with some story telling, encouraged and taught how to “get rid of this stuff” 1 Peter 2.2) and become rooted and built up in Him. (Colossians 2.6,7)

On Saturday evening, we talked about the ways that God gives us direction – the Bible, the Holy Spirit, Godly counsel and we focused particularly on the conscience.

On Sunday morning, we focused on “Potholes and Dancing Scarves” – the trials and joys in our lives –  and the reality that If we get our life directions from the Bible, there is no doubt that the Christian life is a dancing, leaping, daring life.” — Eugene Peterson

The weekend was peppered with lively, honest group discussions, amazing food, lots of laughter, wonderful worship, some tears, times of rest, thought-provoking morning devotionals, hikes, bon fires and beautiful little extra touches like incredibly delicious cookies put on our pillows, creative swag bags and a really cool, fall craft. I’m not all that crafty but I’m pretty proud of my center piece.

retreat craft

It’s difficult for women to intentionally pull out of their demanding lives and make time to rest but when we do, marvelous things happen in our spirits and in our friendships.

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.                         Matthew 11.28

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity. Psalm 1.3

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