Here is a thing that happened that I can’t even get my head around yet. It is such a big experience that I have to write about it and maybe it will unravel here.
A year ago my husband and I found a secluded retreat center by accident. We were just driving around in a new place and we saw a sign along the road. The sign said St Andrews Retreat Center and we just drove in to see what it was. Because i have a Catholic background , I was wondering if it was like a monastery or something to that effect. We went in and the chef greeted us and was totally fine with us walking around and exploring. He told us groups met there for all sorts of reasons. There was a quilting group there when we walked around. The building felt almost intoxicating , like a place you did not want to leave. He said there was only one opening for a weekend the entire year. We told him we wanted it. Then we went home to figure out what to do with it, some kind of retreat , but we did not know what yet. First I thought the ladies retreat would be good there but the council nixed that idea. Ok so what kind of retreat?
We decided on a prayer retreat because you actually felt like praying when you walked in the door. There is a stillness there that feels like that. I had never been on a prayer retreat so putting one on was a little intimidating. I asked my Pastor if he had any ideas and he said he knew a guy that would be great. We asked him and he said yes right away. He had been to monastery and had actual first hand knowledge of such things.
It was not easy to get people to sign up ,as it was pretty expensive and we did not know what to expect. We got 8 but needed 12 to hit the minimum requirement. After a lot of announcements and emails and a good month we still had only 8. Then one dropped out. I was totally discouraged and wanted to just forget the whole thing, but the wife of the man who was going to lead it asked to just try one more time and see if we couldn’t get enough. So we tried one more time , even though I had a terrible attitude . That Sunday we got the other 4 and then later in the week two more. One woman even sponsored someone else to go unexpectedly.
I was very embarrassed at my bad attitude when I saw people come through like that at the last minute.
We went on our way to find out what it would be like. Everyone arrived and found their little bedrooms and then were congregating in the front room. The chef had dinner cooking so we could be inspired by that. We all got in line for dinner and had a fantastic fresh healthy farm to table type of meal that pretty much thrilled everyone.
Our first session was sweet with a fun opening ice breaker that actually was insightful as to where everyone was starting out emotionally for this retreat .
The leader started the session with a simple but profound talk about the Our Farther and we had one hour to go find a special place to answer questions and pray and be quiet with God. It was something I had never done before in this manner. Everyone came back after the hour and we talked about our experience in a small group.
That took awhile so it was about 9 thirty when we got done. One of the retreat goers built a fire outside and played his violin by it and several of us joined him to sing and be together in this new experience . It was one of the sweetest surprises that he did that.
The next morning some people went for little hikes before breakfast and some talked in the front room about their lives. Then they rang the bell for breakfast we we had another fabulous meal. I remember sitting by a friend of mine and just looking at her and we both said at the same time”Can you believer this food?”
One of the guests said they felt so special last night getting serenaded by angels . That was funny as we were the angels!
The next sessions were the same with a short teaching then one hour spend doing the teaching and thinking deeply about what we read. This method is very effective to make the retreat yours and your alone. The silences we did were a new idea too for me.
It continued like this till night when we finished up and decided to pray together as a group and sing and just be together. This was very delicious too as most of us were getting in the silence , read, ponder, write, groove. Everything started to melt together.
Sunday morning we had more good food and then we did our own Sunday Service. This was the first service I had been to where we all contributed to the order of Worship. We also contributed our two cents during the sermon which was very fun.
Communion was Port and fresh bread and at the end we all hugged and agreed that this was one sweet Sunday. Nobody wanted to leave so we stayed for lunch and then nobody wanted to leave again. We were full in every way you could be full.
All this prelude to this the actual mountain top experience which occurred after we got home. It was sort of like an onion unfolding. I started to not be able to talk about it. It seemed like a dream state after we got home. We floated off to evening service at our home church and everything was different. It was as if I could see past the service to what was happening in the spiritual realm . I know that sound spacey but I can’t thing of another way to say it. Then I felt as if I was coated in Gods love. Let me tell you that is a feeling you don’t want to every lose. It feels safe and clear. The great thing is that my husband felt the same way. I was glad I wouldn’t just sound like I was making this up. I still feel like this three days later and I don’t know how long it will last, but as long as it does i am thrilled to be here . Two other things happened. The words of the Bible seem to be jumping out at me in a way they did not before. Everything seems like it applies to me and it all makes sense. The other thing that is real is that nothing else matters to me. When you feel this close to God you feel complete and all anxiety is gone. My husband feels the same way.
This is the only time in my whole life that this has happened and I don’t know if it will happen again but it certainly was worth writing about . There is nothing i wish more that to have others experience this in your life. I don’t know if it was the prayer retreat or it just happened but it did happen and is still happening.