Each year, I go on a silent retreat at The Abbey of Gesthemani. The monastery has a great deal of land and I love to walk the trails that wind through silent woods to hear the voice of God. My favorite place of all is a little bench deep in the trees that sits near the edge of an outcropping, overlooking the verdant, forest floor below. This journal entry was written from that spot.
Journal entry from 7/27/08, The Abbey of Gesthemani
“With the exception of the bugs (but I’m wearing spray!) this place is like a sanctuary to me. Last year, I sat on this bench full of ambition and goals (arrogance too) and made big plans. This year, I sit here empty of all of those things but full of the knowledge that God loves me, and that I am resting in the palm of his hand.
I have few goals or ambitions for writing now, but I have determined to use what gifts I have to proclaim God’s glory. Any gift He has given me, no matter how small, I must give back to Him.
I have been reading about Elijah. I am comforted by the fact that although at times he was terribly weak and ordinary, God used him mightily and he found uncommon favor in God’s sight.
We don’t know much about Elijah other than the fact he was a Tishbite. No impressive lineages are recorded for him. He seems to have been an ordinary man. The main difference between him and other men of his time was that he was wholly surrendered to God. That is what made him special.
What have I learned from this retreat? I have learned to ask more often, “Lord, what do You want here?”
It is time to stop living life like a rebel and live like a daughter of the King instead. It is time to stop making stupid mistakes in what seem to me to be “the little things” because sometimes, those “little things” have huge repercussions.
John The Baptist said of Christ, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
A friend of mine who was dying from pancreatic cancer said in the final stages of his life, “I have to go down before I can go up.”
Paul said, “I count it all rubbish…” and “I glory in weaknesses…when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Christ called us lambs and sheep – weak, stupid, needy creatures. He also admonished us, “Abide in me…”
And therein lies true victory and the only success that ultimately matters.
‘What do you want here?’ Let that be every breath I take and the beating of my heart.” Amen
*The photo above is a sign that is located along the trail.