The Retreat has Ended, but a Melody Lingers on…

My last two blog posts have been about a recent personal retreat I made to the Monastery of St. Gertrude in Cottonwood, Idaho. Today’s post illustrates the lingering impact of that special time away.

     This past week I had one of those days when conflicting emotions swirled in my heart all day long. No doubt you’ve had a day—perhaps two or more—like that!

     The first emotion I experienced was joyful anticipation. Our entire family was going to be together for the first time in many years. It’s rare when we’re able to coordinate everyone’s busy schedules. Ron and I had been thinking about where to get the best possible family photo. We tossed around ideas about potential memory-making activities. Of course, I planned meals, trying to recall everyone’s favorites.

     Later in the day, joy turned to disappointment when we learned a Southwest Airlines computer glitch caused our California family’s flights to be cancelled!

     The same day, I experienced a brief period of panic because of a bookkeeping error, which was my fault. Fear gripped my thoughts before logic managed to step in. I wrangled with harebrained possibilities, understanding full well such wrangling is the antithesis of faith. Nevertheless, for several minutes, I felt unable to reign in ‘thoughts gone wild.’ Eventually, the problem seemed solved. I breathed a sigh of relief, convinced all will be well, but was left asking, “Why did you allow yourself to get so distraught?”

     Next, I was pondering conversations I’ve had during the past few days with two dear friends. Both are berating themselves because of frustration with their weaknesses and shortcomings. These two people are amazing Christ-followers, committed to growing in godly behavior and to helping others. While I feel sad my friends are being so harsh about their own humanity, I can relate. So often, I’ve been my own worst critic.

     The most difficult emotion with which I dealt, was profound sadness. A special family I know was enroute to say final ‘good-byes’ to their loved one. The young wife and mother is too young to die. Her incurable illness seems unfair. The devout family has prayed for healing, believing the God they serve is more than capable of performing the miraculous. Yet, the miracle for which they’ve prayed doesn’t seem to be in the making.

     I’m sad for my friends. I feel enormous sadness for the young woman’s parents. This is the second child they’re about to lose to the same cruel condition. My heart aches for the young husband and small children who can’t imagine how they’ll survive without their beloved wife and mama.

     Dealing with conflicting emotions is not uncommon.

          Our joys mingle with sadness.

               Excitement clashes with disappointment.

                    Responsibility reveals our flawed humanity.

                         Anxious thoughts lead to fear.

                              Questions disrupt our sincere faith.

     As I contemplated the swirling feelings, thoughts returned to a hymn sung at the mass I attended during the final day of my personal retreat. The words captivated my attention that Sunday morning. Written over 100 years ago, the truth in their message remains relevant today.

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Horatius Bonar

  1. I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Come unto Me and rest;

Lay down, thou weary one, lay down

Thy head upon My breast.”

I came to Jesus as I was,

Weary and worn and sad;

I found in Him a resting place,

And He has made me glad.

  1. I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“Behold, I freely give

The living water; thirsty one,

Stoop down, and drink, and live.”

I came to Jesus, and I drank

Of that life-giving stream;

My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,

And now I live in Him.

  1. I heard the voice of Jesus say,

“I am this dark world’s Light;

Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,

And all thy day be bright.”

I looked to Jesus, and I found

In Him my Star, my Sun;

And in that light of life I’ll walk,

Till trav’ling days are done.

pub. 1846

As I typed this post, I asked some questions:

  • How can I manage the plethora of conflicting emotions I so often feel?
  • How do I keep on walking the path of faith rather than permitting runaway feelings to drag me along?
  • How do I pray for my friends dealing with feelings of condemnation, which surface when the enemy of our souls cannot find another way to keep us from doing the good work God called us to do, congruent with the manner in which we desire truly to operate?

The answer to these questions seemed to be found in an amazing prayer the Apostle Paul prayed for his friends in Ephesus.

I pray that out of God’s glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

(Ephesians 3:16-19 NNIV)

Today this is my prayer for you and me. May God—the great ‘I AM’—bless, strengthen and encourage us on our journeys…

Sue Reeve

C:\Users\Sue\Desktop\Ron Photos\Misc\07062016_7778.jpg

Photo by Ron Reeve

Special times in our lives conclude, but their impact continues as we continue on the journey.


4 thoughts on “The Retreat has Ended, but a Melody Lingers on…

    1. I am so grateful whenever I hear God has used the words in one of my posts to provide a “needed message” to one of His children whom He loves so deeply. Thanks, LaRayne! Blessings on your continuing journey….Sue

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