It’s going to sound ridiculous, I know. How could I possibly have the word Peace as my 2019 Word? And how on earth could I feel a sense of being invited to retreat in my soul while also saying “Yes!” to open doors and upcoming changes.
I’ve been wondering if I’m losing it! But the truth is, I think my heart response, my “Yes” to Jesus when I feel his nudging and invitation has grown in exponential ways in the last few years. Perhaps it’s a cumulative effect of a daily discipline to be in God’s presence (whether I felt God’s presence or not), to study the Living Word of God (whether I felt inspired or not), and to live my best life (whether I was messing up or being fruitful).
Or perhaps I’ve been shaped by the community of women who I gather together with regularly (I love pastoring this group!) and are seeking deeper connection and intimacy with Jesus. In our group we’re not afraid to ask the hard questions and to be vulnerable. We are learning about ancient practices like Lection Divina, and we practice Silence. We started learning about Silence by not only reading about it, but by setting a timer and just starting to still ourselves for shorter, then longer, periods of time. We’re a brave bunch! And we’re hungry for the Living God!
And as wonderful as the small group is, I’ve felt the Lord drawing me, inviting me, to go on a journey. A journey of discovering what it means to be in communion with the shepherd and guardian of my soul. To rest in his presence. To allow myself to retreat, not simply in the going away (which I will do), but to retreat into a place where it’s okay for me to just be quiet about the things I’m learning or experiencing because not everyone will understand.
I guess I could rightly say that I’m going on a retreat with Jesus this year – but I’m also going to be out and about in ways that are stewarding the call to minister which the Lord has placed on my life. It’s sounds like an oxymoron, but there you have it. I’ll be retreating into a journey of knowing Jesus more AND I’ll be seeing you around this year!
Jesus said this:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. Jn 14:27 NRSV
Here are my questions or curiousities that I hope will be answered in a personally transforming way this coming year:
- Jesus, what did you mean by the word Peace? What did YOU mean, really?
- What is a divine peace and what makes it radically different than what the world gives/offers?
- What does it mean to serve/minister from a place of peace & retreat (soul) in one of the most exciting years ahead?
- I’m curious Jesus about what it means to go on a journey of retreating with you and resting in your presence. I’ve curious about the places in my own soul you’ll reveal to me. Places that need your healing touch or your forgiveness or your love.
- I’m curious Jesus about what it looks like to walk with you and experience the kind of peace you offer.
- In a year from now, how will I be different because of your grace and truth and peace that will be shown in my life?
- What will a year of serving, in admist retreating, actually look like?
p.s. I’m also a little afraid, but I will hold onto your invitation to not let my heart be troubled and afraid. I’m confident you’ve got this and you’ve got me.
Falling into Jesus’ invitation,
Carmen & Ashley invest in others so they can lead and live better. They are the co-founders of LEAD Women.