Come with me and rest

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a retreat for the wives of ministers and missionaries. I never before had an experience like this and I have to say it really changed the way I experience God in my life. I was initially hesitant about being separated from my husband and my son, especially so because my husband would be left to care for my son who had recently become ill. Even on the day of my departure to the Dominican Republic, I was ready to cancel the trip. But I knew that I had to go and I am blessed because I did.

The purpose of the retreat was to find rest in God’s presence. “Come with me and rest” was the theme of this retreat from Mark 6:31 (NIV). The retreat began with an activity called “My story”. It was an activity calling us to self-reflection. Our lives are a story that is still being written. Often our lives are so busy that we do not stop to think how our lives are impacting the lives of others. After this time of reflection, we began to focus on identifying the things that separate us from God. Those obstacles, both big and small, get in the way of a more intimate relationship with our Father. All these exercises and other conversations were very inspiring. They created a great time of silence and solitude.

Also the place where we were was away from the city noise and this created an environment to allow time for meditation in silence and solitude, but for me it was hard. At first it was not easy to quiet my thoughts. To clear the mind takes work and effort, but when this is done you can really establish a connection with God that can’t be explained in words. My heart knew that God was with me at this time. I confess that during this activity I cried, asked God’s forgiveness, and took time to appreciate even the smallest things of my life.

One of the best benefits to a conference like this is taking time to pay attention to God. Attention to God is very important in our spiritual lives. The Bible says, “Be alert and pray that you will not fall into temptation.” Matt. 26:41 (NIV) Our daily routine can sometimes steal our attention. We all have a big list of things to do but if we do not attend to God the enemy will use all kinds of distractions to divert our focus from Him who is unseen.

All of the women who attended this conference work in the Lord’s church in other countries. Most of us work alongside our husbands as missionaries in countries that are not our own. Being a missionary is not easy. The distractions we face include culture shock, anxiety, and missing our families and other comforts of life. These things and others can become a whirlwind of distraction. They can fill our hearts with anxieties and frustrations but when these stresses dominate our lives, God offers to take our concerns and promises to give us peace. The Bible says, “Be anxious for nothing; rather in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God and give thanks. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6-7 NIV)

All of these messages were able to soak into our hearts because God used 12 women to bless us. In all there were 40 women at the conference who are serving throughout the Americas and the Caribbean who enjoyed great hospitality and God’s presence. We were well cared for and prepared for a journey that we could not expect. The hospitality of the Vazquez and Paniagua families was excellent.

The exercise of seeking a time of silence and solitude to be in the presence of God and His rest allows us to be aware of those things that create distance between us and God. It also prepares us to pay attention to what really matters. Every Christian must practice this discipline. Silence and solitude strengthens my relationship with God. The fruit of this time with God enables me to be well spiritually, physically and mentally, preparing me to serve God in His kingdom.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Surrounded - Bob Bentley

REST - Laurie Templeton

Food for Thought - Bob Bentley

The F.O.O.D Project – When God Shows Up - Beau Davis

Twelve Hundred Hearts, Twelve Hundred Voices Strong! - Jabbarri Jones



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