Was It Only Last Week? {The Grove: Memories}

Does the retreat feel like a million years ago? I don’t know what your week was like, but chances are the realities of your world didn’t get the invitation to return slowly. Instead you were probably slapped around a bit.

That is why we wanted this week’s theme to be memories. Because it is never too late to return slowly. God, in his gracious loving kindness towards you spoke to you during the retreat (or at some other time this spring for those who couldn’t participate in the retreat.). Even if you have been experiencing His “thin silence” as Elijah did. What echoes have you heard in silence?

God spoke to you, directly to you. What you needed to hear or learn or come at from a new direction. Part of returning slowly is to incorporate what you have learned into who you are and who you are becoming.

I am reading through A Year With God by Richard Foster and am spending time these days with the idea of worship.

“The worship experience of festivals emphasized memory, in this case the memory of the exodus experience [in our case, the story of Elijah]. That experience was one of deliverance and guidance [ditto]. The purpose of worship is to remember that experience, to live it, to rehearse and reenact it, and so to bring it into the present. The people then can see that God is still the one who delivers and guides and can remember to structure their lives on that basis and move into the future with hope. This kind of memory is extremely important to our spiritual life.”

This is the nugget I’ve been ruminating on in anticipation of the retreat and this week’s theme: The role of memory to help us “remember that experience, to live it, to rehearse and reenact it, and so to bring it into the present.”

So again I ask, what do you want to bring into the present from the retreat?

How can you remember it? (One way is to share in the comments or with someone.)

How can you live it? (What does this lesson mean for your life? For your interactions with God, yourself, and others?)

How can you rehearse the lesson or insight? How can you reenact it? (Maybe it is as simple as adding it to your listening prayer. Ask God where it was reenacted in your day.)

These questions are not meant to add to your “to-do” list. Actually, I believe that by doing less, we can do more. Instead of doing all the things, what is it that God showed you during the retreat? Do that. Do that a little bit each day. Watch it sprout and grow. Or watch the roots go deeper.

This post is shorter than normal so you won’t be tempted to think you have brought the memory of what God said to you into the present merely by reading this post. Even if you do not normally comment, please take a few minutes and leave a comment. Ask the Triune God how to bring the message he spoke to you into the present. Into your kitchens and commutes. Into your team and studies or work. Into your interactions.

How can your memory of the retreat reside in more than the rear view mirror?

~~~

This is The Grove and we want to hear from you! You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

 

 

17 Comments

  1. Kiera May 4, 2017

    The retreat doesn’t seem so far away to me. 🙂 Each year, the insights of the retreat are powerful and long-lasting to me. Actually, while doing the retreat this year, I was remembering specifically where I was and the specific insights that came to me in those places both the of the past two years. I am attempting to incorporate the practice of fixed hour prayer using the prayer book from the retreat.

    1. Amy Young May 6, 2017

      Now that this is our third retreat (I know not everyone has done all three and that is fine!), I can see how, like you, God reminds me during the retreat what we (He and I) have done in past retreats. Glad I”m not the only one :)!

  2. Ruth May 5, 2017

    I mentioned last week in my retreat reflection that I was being forced to return slowly – a week in bed laid out by the flu. Excellent, lesson learned, now let’s get on with life… Except instead I came down with pneumonia!! I may have said, “God, I appreciate you forcing me to rest, but don’t you think this is a little overkill??” In addition to my own health concerns, two of my children have had their own more minor illnesses that have brought me worry. It has been a capstone to a long year of so much sickness. I keep thinking, “The journey is too much for me!!” But you know, God keeps speaking his love and care. He keeps providing help for my family through friends here. He has humbled me to ASK for help and allow others to show their love. During the retreat God really spoke to me about his care of Elijah in the wilderness…my idea of what that would look like was rather different! I certainly hope there is health and healing around the corner, but I am also remembering to willingly surrender my ideas of what is best. If this continual sickness is not lifted, I know that He will be enough.

    1. Amy Young May 6, 2017

      Ruth, I have appreciated your sharing, both last week and this. Sometimes I say, “Yup, God, got it! Learned the lesson.” And then it seems we don’t move on (I’m not saying this is you :)) . . . I find I like having insights more than some of the changes that come with those insights.

      I DO hope that health and healing are around the corner for you and your family!

  3. Adora May 5, 2017

    What a blessing this retreat was! I wrote to a friend back home about my experience and talked with a friend in person about some of the things that I was so excited to realize in Kings 19. It seems to me like the words and wonder have remained… but the joy I experienced is something that needs to be more constantly rekindled. Not by earthly fulfillments, as is my default habit, but by spending time with God (and remembering that it’s not a chore and there are many ways of doing this)!

    1. Amy Young May 6, 2017

      Adora, rekindling the joy. Yes to that! I like how you want it to come out of time with God instead of out of a “program” or something you “do”

  4. Evelyn May 5, 2017

    I enjoyed this week’s readings. Remembering, as I have posted in a previous comments section, aligns to our lifestyle right now. We as a family are on sabbatical. Sabbatical from ministry, from work even. But we’re still in the field that we’ve been sent, which makes it hard for me to let go of caring for those who are lost and those who I’ve been discipling for years now. This is the message I continue to hear in the echoes of silence. This is a time for renewal, to take stock of the past 7 years in the field, to regroup, to reconnect, to remember. But i’m finding this very hard on a day to day basis with two young children at home and the temptation to want to reach out to our local community. I need to let God take care of me, holistically, the way He took care of Elijah. I gotta trim down the to-do list that i feel is so important, but not more important than resting and ceasing and learning to surrender it all to Him. He is working even if we’re not. I am trying to practice this by not looking at my phone after the kids have gone down, to refrain from responding to ‘urgent’ requests from others who should be seeking the Lord instead of me. Slowing down has always been hard for me, and this time, i feel God is saying this is a pertinent lesson for me to learn in order to be equipped for the journey ahead. “The journey will be too much for you” – that’s what some of the other translations say when the angel speaks to Elijah. Rest is a precursor to hearing God’s still small voice. And a precursor for receiving instructions for the journey ahead. Please pray for us. Thanks.

    1. Amy Young May 6, 2017

      Evelyn, resting while still at home is hard, isn’t it! I like how you have thought through a few practical ways to do that. And as I read this, the thought came to just remind you to be gentle with your self :). Being in familiar territory and with two kids — I don’t quite know how to say it, but even be gentle with yourself in the resting 🙂

  5. Elizabeth May 6, 2017

    During the retreat I learned that I carry around a lot of shame. I don’t generally think I do, until I get really still and quiet. The shame I carry is about who I am — I am too much for people to handle, I need to change who I am and then people will like me, etc etc.

    I did not return slowly enough after the retreat. Or perhaps the retreat merely stirred up issues that needed stirring up, and I didn’t have enough time in my 26 hours away to fully process them. It was on Tuesday, after several the-world-is-going-to-end crying sessions that God met me in my mess and illuminated some of the deeper issues in my heart.

    My time away with my friend was SO GOOD. Then the next few days were SO HARD. But now looking back, it was vital for all of these things to happen, and they simply would not have happened without the time set aside for the retreat.

    P.S. I love the chapter on remembering and how it tied to the Passover/communion. When I initially saw the topic (but knew I didn’t have time to write on it), what I would have talked about was communion and passover. It was a pleasant surprise to have all those thoughts align in this chapter.

    1. Amy Young May 6, 2017

      Elizabeth, sweet friend. You know how you can see someone else so differently than how they see themselves? I can’t imagine anyone thinking you are too much or need to change. Until I realize, that is often how I feel about myself :).

      And I am also not surprised you and Adele approached remembering from the same angle. You are both deep wise women.

      1. Elizabeth May 8, 2017

        Thank you for the “Me Too,” Amy. I needed to know that.

  6. Grace L May 6, 2017

    A week has passed since I finished the retreat and one of the main things that I have changed in my life is to incorporate more listening prayer in my daily journaling time. I am opening myself up, once again, to letting Jesus speak into my heart and it is good. The other aspect of the retreat has been to feel hope from a word that the Lord gave me during my journaling about 1 Kings 19. After all that Elijah had gone through and God had spoken to him through the gentle whisper, God then gave Elijah specific directions. As I read about God directing Elijah to put his anointing on Elisha, I sensed God speaking to me (and my husband vicariously) that this summer, while we are back in the states, that God would show us who He is calling to come and take over the BAM we have been involved with for 15 years here. And that we are to put our “cloak” on this couple that would succeed us, all the while understanding that it would take time for this couple to prepare for this new ministry. And in my journaling times, the Lord keeps encouraging me to trust Him. I am grateful for the retreat this year. I really needed this. Thank you to all who worked to put this together.

    1. Amy Young May 6, 2017

      Oh Grace, what a beautiful personal word to you. It is a blessing to the next person/couple to be able to “put your cloak on them.” And it is hard. It is hard to release something you’ have invested in so much. Prayers for you in this season!

  7. Michele May 6, 2017

    One way I have kept the things God spoke during the retreat before me this week was to put my crayon art on the wall above my desk. Since most six-year-olds can draw better than I can and my desk is in the same room where friends gather for Bible study and prayer meetings during the week, this took a bit of courage! But seeing them there every day has really helped keep the sweet revelation of His kindness and patience toward me, and His deep desire to be with me fresh. I have also been practicing centering prayer each morning. I have been learning to slow down and to rest these last few months, but have found the hardest part is slowing my mind down, and centering prayer is helping lots with this! Thanks again for all the work that went into this retreat! It really was amazing!

    1. Amy Young May 6, 2017

      Michele, I love this act of bravery :). Those drawings are so helpful to remember, aren’t they?!

  8. Katie Rose May 7, 2017

    Just wanted to leave a little note here, because God did something really sweet on Friday to help me remember what He taught me on the retreat:

    I met with some new ladies. A local fellowship leader has wanted me to do a training for awhile with them, but never got it to work out until this past week. I shared with them how the Good News changes us, and then we learned the story together. Several ladies shared and then we set a day (two days later) to go out together (I’m about to leave my house now). The leader wanted me to write down the names. And one of the little girls, whose mom wants to bring her along, smiled and said her name. “Elijah.” (L-ee-jah). What a beautiful reminder that He speaks to us and teaches us, even in the smallest of details.

    1. Amy Young May 7, 2017

      Beautiful indeed :)!! Thank you for sharing, Katie.

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