Before I began the 8 day silent retreat I was really struggling with how distant I felt from God. It was not a discouraging feeling more like “UGH aren’t I any closer to you yet.” I felt like I was at the starting line and still had 26.1 miles to go. I know faith and growth are a life long process but I thought after 22 years I might be reaching the first mile or at least over the starting line but little did I know that I was RIGHT where I needed to be because Jesus was about to reveal Himself in an intimacy I did not think was possible.
The 8 day was blessed, hard, tiring, prayerful, beautiful and filled with solitude which is a great way to grow more intimately with our Lord and Savior. (HINT: Go on an 8 day silent retreat!) I meditated for four hours everyday on different scriptures. With every scripture I am suppose to imagine the setting; smells, temperature, time of day, etc. and I am also suppose to imagine myself in the scene and have a conversation with Jesus. I prayed a prayer everytime asking that God reveal to me what HE WANTED to reveal to me and not what I wanted to get out of the scripture. Wow, did I struggle with talking to Jesus! Crazy I know but when you are standing face to face with Him back when He was alive walking this earth you get a little nervous and tongue tied. Like the Mercy Me song says, “When I stand in your presence to my knees will I fall, will I sing Alleluia or NOT BE ABLE TO SPEAK AT ALL!” Well that was me. My spiritual director, Amy, told me to tell Him “I am here” to begin a conversation because then the ball is in His court to speak back. I was given the scripture of the hemorrhaging woman (Mt 9:18-26) to meditate on. I had no trouble imagining myself in this scene as the woman because I am her! I am reaching out to Jesus because I want to be healed and grow closer to Him. I want to shorten the distance between us and know that I have a Savior who loves me and recognizes me. I want to be close to Him! I reach out and grab His cloak and it was as if the whole world stopped the minute I touched Him. He sat down and just stared into my eyes and I just said, “Jesus I am here.” “Let me into your heart,” He said. (me) “How do I do that? I want you there so bad but how?” (Him) “Remain in me and I will remain in you.” And that was the end of our conversation and then He just held me. I was so close to Him and I can always feel that way by just remaining in Him whether through His word, prayer, or just recognizing Him in me! It seems so easy and I can tell myself this over and over again but when I truly heard it from Jesus’ mouth it took on a whole new meaning. “Remain in me and I will Remain in you” became my prayer for the rest of the week. I crossed over that line and can truly say that I walk in humble confidence that I AM the Lords. He is in me as I am in Him.
That is just one of the many experiences that I was able to have but I think it will take weeks to digest all that happened. Many of you probably do not know this but I celebrated my birthday while on the silent retreat. I woke up and told myself happy birthday. Although this was a really cool way to spend my birthday and God gave me the most beautiful day, I still hoped to hear “Happy Birthday” or receive a card or something. After one of my Holy hours I returned to my room to see a ‘Happy Birthday’ balloon on my door. I was so excited and figured Megan or Molly brought it to me but later that day I received flowers from Megan, Molly, and Michelle. So I began to wonder where the balloon came from. When we got out of silence, the next day, JJ comes up to me and asked if I liked the balloon. To myself I’m thinking “Wow he was thoughtful enough to buy me a balloon a week in advance before going into silence for my birthday” but I just said, “Yeah it made my day!” and He said, “You’ll never guess but I was wondering through the woods on Friday and found it stuck on the ground in the middle of the woods”- a balloon still full of helium just happened to be in the middle of the woods on my birthday! WOW, God is soooo cool. He knew I wanted someone to say ‘Happy Birthday’ and He filled that desire in His only special way! Delight in the Lord and He will fill the desires of your heart!
P.S. Mesa Missionares I LOVED your message. I thought my nieces were screaming the Happy Birthday song but then it was even better when I realized it was you guys! Praise God for this beautiful family He has brought together!