Currently, I am passing through one of the busiest ministry seasons of my life. Eighteen years as a global woman and a near-empty nest have provided me with an overabundance of ministry opportunities. Though I remain faithful in my personal time with the Lord, there has been precious little time these days to be still and simply listen to God. A friend, possibly sensing my level of maniacal busyness, invited me to join her at the Thrive Tanzania retreat. Initially I did not see how I could fit this into my jam-packed life, but I felt a nudging from the Lord that I was supposed to attend.
This past week, leading up to the retreat, has been even more intense than usual and I began to doubt my decision to attend, but I knew I was committed and needed to follow through. Just a half hour before leaving for the retreat I was at my computer frantically writing a Swahili Bible lesson for someone else to teach; minutes before I left I was giving last minute instructions to a manager for a young women’s project that meets in my garage. I even packed my suitcase for the retreat with notes for a seminar I am teaching the week after the retreat. I was not coming to Thrive to fully receive the blessings the Lord and Thrive volunteers were offering me. I’m accustomed to giving and leading, not receiving. I don’t receive well.
As the first evening began, I struggled to focus on the singing. My mind could not shift down from high to low speed. It was literally racing from one project to the next. While I tried to be present, I could not focus. But God is abundantly gracious. His Spirit began to clearly reveal my need to be still and know that He is God. I finally began to unwind during a special half hour of being still before the Lord that was put into our schedule.
The evening ended with time in a small group where we were asked what our expectations were for the retreat. I confessed! The notes in my suitcase, my intention to study, my lack of focus. Today, the first full day of the retreat, God is telling me to just be still, to listen for his small quiet voice, to focus on praising him, and to perhaps not try to do it all, but to place my temporary busyness in His all powerful hands and to truly trust the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:24, ” He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
I am enjoying every moment of my Thrive Retreat experience. I look forward to each remaining moment both with the Lord and with some truly beautiful ladies. Oh, and those seminar notes…..
By Beth Calmes | Retreat Attendee