Last year about this time, I sat down and thought through some of my goals for the next year. I am too embarassed to post the entire list, since I definitely dreamed big and perhaps was a big unrealistic. (I.e. I didn't do well accomplishing them!) But there was one goal that I set that really has been wonderful, and that was the idea that I would take a half a day each month to have a mini-personal retreat. This has been such a blessing to me; I want to recommend it to you all!
It hasn't been anything formal, that I put on the calendar (though that would be a great idea); it has been more just when I am feeling like I really need it, I've tried to find a way to get some time away from my usual child care and home duties to spend more time in the Word, prayer, or reading a good book. As I've mentioned before, the last few months have been so busy for our family, and particularly John, that occasionally I've felt a bit "cooped up" in my domestic sphere and with the girls. Maybe you other moms can relate! So sometimes it's really refreshing to break up the routine a little and get some time away.
On Monday, thanks to the generous offer of my friend Amy, I was able to have some "get-away" time. She took my girls the whole day so that I could recharge and be refreshed. And, she made me a fabulous white chocolate mocha to take with on my mini-retreat! It was absolutely delicious! I took my coffee, books, and journal to a hotel downtown where I relaxed in one of their lobbies and enjoyed the peace and quiet.
The last few months, I feel like these retreats have been key to me maintaining my sanity! The settings have been different, usually I've stayed at home, but really anywhere you're comfortable and uninterrupted would work. On Monday, the Lord really used the time to deal with some things in my heart...everything I read really spoke to me. I was under no time pressure, so I could actually have a thought and linger over it. No one asked me questions or interrupted me, no little children needed me, ahhh, it was lovely! I spent time reading in the Psalms, a bit in Matthew and John, and also in Proverbs, just going where the Spirit led my thoughts and meditations. I read some more in my current books (In My Father's House by Mary Kassian and The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot), and was able to take the time to think through what I was reading and how it could impact my life. What a blessing!
I'd really like to encourage you moms out there to find a way to do something similar. Even if (as in my case) your husband is not able to take the children for awhile so you can do this, find a friend that would swap with you. I received such a blessing from this time away, I know you will too!
So, how did I end my retreat? I went out to lunch--by myself! I enjoyed eating my food while it was still hot, not having to share with little ones, and continuing to read my book as I ate leisurely. Prolonging the joy, I took a taxi to a nearby wholesale flower market just to go and enjoy the beauty for awhile. It was a relaxing, refreshing, and wholly enjoyable morning. Time spent with Him always is! See if you can make time for something like this in your life this month!