The last few years God has been teaching me more about what it means to wait on him and spend time together in solitude and silence. Over the past few months I have simply been overwhelmed at God's love for us and desire to have a unique, intimate relationship with everyone He created. I'm so grateful for His patience with me and the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in my relationship with Him. A couple of years ago I read Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton, and I highly recommend it. It's a wonderful book about spiritual disciplines, and when I read it the first time, I remember thinking that I should read it at the beginning of each year... it has way too much in it to digest in just one reading. So this year, I was thrilled that I finally did it. Last January, I took a morning that was free and managed to not schedule anything else, which was quite an accomplishment in and of itself. ;) There is a botanical gardens about 30 minutes from our house which was closed for a while and then recently re-opened, so I spent my morning there.
Of course, it was absolutely incredible to just spend time with God, surrounded by His beautiful creation. I prayed, read my Bible, listened, and worked my way through most of Sacred Rhythms... it was just a great time to reflect and seek God's guidance on what I should be focusing on in the coming year.
As I was coming near the end of my time alone, I reflected on how meaningful the last few hours had been and what a shame it was that I didn't take special time with God more often. God then gave me an idea that led into our church having a women's retreat in March. We started out at the church with worship and a devotion. Then we drove to the botanical gardens, enjoyed lunch in my new favorite restaurant, and the rest of the retreat was open for everyone to enjoy time alone with God while walking around the gardens. We provided a prayer and Scripture guide for people to use. It was wonderful, and it is our prayer that God would use the time to help build habits of solitude and silence for everyone that participated.