I'll admit, I wasn't "good" at it.
I'll also admit it was a practice that I needed, and have added to my disciplines on an ongoing basis.
Our College Ministry has also adopted this practice, and this past Saturday we took our Second Annual trip to Pilot Mountain for such a retreat. Last year, we arrived to beautiful clear skies and gorgeous weather.
This was where Michelle was sitting before she got attacked by vultures. True(ish) story.
When we arrived Saturday morning, a mist of rain had followed us the whole way there. This was my view as I started my alone time. (Note: our only "rule" is that you leave cell phone, iPods, and other distractions behind. You can bring with you journals, books, Bibles, whatever.)
Not quite the sunny skies of last year, but still, gorgeous. And, oh? What's that? Look at those pretty little puffs of clouds off to my right...
Pretty soon I remembered my basic science that clouds like that could mean... rain.
Just before I ran for cover, I snapped this self-pic:
I made my way to a shelter fairly quickly and there I found two of my favorite people.
My "silence" wasn't that anymore... Miss E kept stage-whispering wanting more paper, wanting to know how to spell "Michael", wanting to ask if I was done praying yet. Suddenly my "retreat" felt a lot like normal life. This is what I deal with if she is ever awake when I am having a Quiet Time. I'm not going to lie- my first response was that I was exasperated. Seriously, I'd craved this time for so long... and now it's like any ol' morning. Zeesh. Then I remembered that one of my favorite things of leading College Ministry is that my daughter gets to live life with these students... and even in my own frustration, I needed to model for her what this morning could look like.
The rain let up and I left E with Dan (their MO on these mornings is to hike... I wasn't shirking my responsibilities, promise) and went off in search of more "quiet" areas. I stumbled upon some lovely moments.
This bird and I hung out for quite a while. Since we've entered this Foster process, I've been drawn to trees and birds. There is something about both of them that captures what's going on in my heart about loving those kids we don't yet know. So I sat and watched and listened to this little guy... praying for those children who are in the process of hurting right now.
Saturday was a perfect example to me of how God wants us to function in our current situation in life. It's not what I'd planned (sunny days!), it's not what I thought I needed (extended time alone!), but it's what I got from the whole thing that blessed my day.
And, bonus? I got to experience it with some people I love a lot... even if one of them is wearing a silly ol' Dook shirt.