If you’re like me, your needs and wants are often last on the “to do” list. For many women, that’s the case. Taking care of the kids, running the home, working, homeschooling…fill in the blank. “Go on retreat” usually is number 87 on the list of 86.
That got me thinking…
I looked up the dictionary definition of retreat and found this:
1. the forced or strategic withdrawal of an army or an armed force before an enemy, or the withdrawing of a naval force from action.
2. the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy; retirement; seclusion.
3. a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy: The library was his retreat.
4. an asylum, as for the insane.
5. a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation.
6. Military .
a. a flag-lowering ceremony held at sunset on a military post.
b. the bugle call or drumbeat played at this ceremony.
7. the recession of a surface, as a wall or panel, from another surface beside it.
In the context of the daily life of a woman, wife, and mother, I find these both comical and applicable.
Sometimes we need to…
strategically withdraw so that we can fortify ourselves against the enemy (It’s important to retain our focus on who the real enemy is!)
retire to a place of safety (which I find is most often for the safety of others in the house) enabling me to avoid sin
get to a place of seclusion or privacy in order to pray deeply
recognize that things are a little crazy, and we need to do something different to improve our circumstances (insanity being doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results)lower the flag and lower our heads in sorrow for our sins and the sins of the world
sound out the bugle to remind us of our daily need for God
just get away!
With Lent fast approaching – only two and a half weeks away – consider going on retreat. It doesn’t have to be an overnight thing. It can be a parish mission, a weekly holy hour, or daily Mass. Whatever it is, plan. For busy people, especially moms, it will only happen if you plan. Remember, this is a “strategic withdrawal” (see definition #1 above). Sometimes the planning itself – the details of accommodating for everyone else’s needs –can seem overwhelming, and they tempt us to resign, “Why bother?” I encourage you to bother. The enemy wants to keep you away from God, and obstacles will arise to discourage you. When stumbling blocks appear, look at the enemy square in the face and say, “Get behind me, Satan.” (Mt 16:23)
When little things, and sometimes big ones too, would encumber my doing something for God, my grandmother used to call it “nit-picking.” She’d say, “It’s the ol’ boy nit-picking at you.” Recognizing the real enemy would only steel my resolve.
I remember lamenting to my spiritual director one time about the nit-picking, he retorted, “Praise God! You’re doing the right things! The enemy would leave you along otherwise!” I laughed…never thought of it that way. Same goes for you.
So today, I encourage you to start planning your Lent. Pray about where God wants you to retreat. Line up the ducks, consider contingencies, and with delightful anticipation look forward to what God has in store for you. Let Him love you and lavish you in that time. You are His chosen child.
I will take you all with me in spirit on my retreat! Anne