A Lovely, Unexpected Retreat

This past weekend was Valentine’s Day. Normally, at this point, I wouldn’t give it another thought. Historically, Dave and I didn’t do much because the recent holiday season also included his birthday and our wedding anniversary. We might’ve watched a movie or made tacos, but nothing over-the-top.

But, God surprised me this weekend with what felt like a Valentine’s retreat! He rearranged my schedule and I enjoyed a much slower pace as a result. As a busy single mom, it felt like a getaway—even though we stayed home—and was just what I needed.

lake and chairs

Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).

On Friday, friends came over to visit. When we spoke the day before, I mentioned an important meeting I had planned. Thus, our time together would be limited. But, we decided to squeeze in a play date anyway.

Well, for reasons outside my control the meeting was rescheduled and our friends were able to stay longer. We enjoyed catching up and our girls played so well together. After that, Lydia and I ran some errands. While we were out, our neighbors invited for us over for an impromptu dinner/play date.

That also was refreshing—and we stayed there about two-and-half hours past Lydia’s bedtime. After we walked home, Lydia helped me finish some laundry. She cheerfully exclaimed, “It’s my job to help you fold the laundry!” And, I don’t even think she was trying to get out of going to bed!

relax-stone

Thus, on Friday, we spent about seven hours with two dear families. I think we all were encouraged that day. I went to bed in awe that God would arrange such a lovely day on my behalf. I rarely allow the opportunity to just sit and relax. (I’m working on that!) It was completely unexpected, and I didn’t realize how much I needed that down time. I was also thankful for the community God provided during a (potentially) bittersweet weekend.

Because of Friday’s change of plans, I incidentally had more free time on Saturday too. I took Lydia out for lunch after she passed her very first series of ice skating lessons. After sticking it out for six weeks, I was so proud! Lydia was proud too and sighed with relief, “I’m so glad I passed that class!”

That afternoon, we watched a movie, read books, completed puzzles, and even took a short nap. Then, I called a few friends and family like I normally do. I enjoyed each moment!

On Sunday, we stayed home and rested. It has been months since I lounged all day and did nothing in particular—not even chores. It was peaceful with few interruptions! I did prepare meals for the upcoming week, but even then, I enjoyed the creative outlet. And, it didn’t feel like work!

books

Lately, I have been busier than my normal for this time of year. I have several good ongoing commitments and projects—but they require lots of energy. Ironically, by resting during our little unexpected staycation/retreat, I feel renewed in my focus. It was delightful to realize God had a wonderful weekend all planned out! I felt so special to Him!

If you are overwhelmed with life or even frustrated with a project, consider pausing and reevaluating your schedule. Is there something you can postpone or remove?

It’s worth taking a break because REST is a part of Restoration!

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Heavenly Father, thank You for restoring my soul with a peaceful Sabbath. Thanks for Your loving grace that covers me. Help me implement more rest and relaxation so I don’t get burned out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: How long has it been since you last took time to rest and relax? What personal benefits could be found in choosing a slower pace?

2 thoughts on “A Lovely, Unexpected Retreat

  1. I was reading in Exodus 31 this week, and it talks about when God gave the instructions for the tabernacle and its furnishings. He gave the artists specific duties and the ability to complete them. He also told them to remember the Sabbath b/c his rest transcends earthly rest.

    I have been wondering lately if I am supposed to work full time while going to school. I still don’t have an answer from God about what to do with my job, but I do get the sense that he wants me to relax when he blesses me with a day off. He has been helping me manage my time well during the rest of the week so that by the time my day off comes on Monday, I can actually enjoy it. This week I even had time to go to lunch with Paul and then do a little shopping for some new jeans. I know it may sound silly, but I get excited sometimes when I get new clothes (especially in a smaller size!). It got me totally excited to go back to work and school to tell my friends about the great day I had.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Livi! I pray God will give you wisdom to know HIS limits for you…and the courage to make changes if needed. 🙂

      I too have found my capacity these days is much less than I think it “should be”… In society, we feel the need to be busy all the time. But, I am learning that in order to be effective at what I truly DO need to do, I cannot do everything. I find it is at least a weekly “readjustment” for me!

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