As part of our “Celebrate A Sister” series, today’s guest post (and first for 2018) is by a very good friend of mine, Singer/Songwriter, Lisa. In this honest expression of a real-life experience, she shares on her journey at a recent retreat, the reason that compelled her to take it, and on the value of designating quiet time to pray, fast, reflect, and grow.
With that – settle into a comfy chair, get a hot cup o’ somethin’ special, and join Lisa through this inspiring painting of words about a refreshing retreat. Lisa reminds us of the importance in shaping quiet time amidst all the tasks and ‘to-dos’ of today, and how to guard this space with grace.
“So here I am; finished a great NYE gig celebrating with wonderful people at a fabulous venue, and it’s 4AM and I’m thinking….hmmm…what’s next? Where do I begin? It’s 2018!!! I don’t do New Year’s resolutions since my habit is to daily evaluate areas I need to improve in being a better person.
As I’m driving around 1pm , pondering on all the ideas rushing in my head. I go into a silent prayer, and God says, “retreat Jan 2-18.” I’m like, “what?” I’m already planning my ‘vacation’ for February. I can’t do that. The command is repeated…I humble myself and accept. Challenges at work, and a very busy season.
I make a decision – FACE IT HEAD ON LISA. You are WORTH IT! I hear the words of a dear friend echoing in my ear…”Lisa, you are Uprooted” – you need to find your grounding again..use this time to plant your feet again. I smiled at the thought of him. He often thought I was running from him. How could I, when loving him and being in love with him reintroduced me to my purpose?
No more struggling or hustling to survive. Value for this struggling and hustling are no longer meeting my needs.
I will listen. I will be still. I rest, listen, fast, pray…I use the tools I know.
Prayers & Revelations – I remember who I am.
Prayer is what I know! Fast & Prayer! I am still to the outer world as I retreat to be guided by God. I am removing my selfish limited beliefs and allowing myself to be guided. I am no longer settling for good. I command the GREATEST! I listen, I listen…retreat…I treat me…I cook…I bake…I take communion…I fellowship with a chosen few.
I pray for others…I lift them up. I celebrate people in my life. I pray for order in this world. I pray Man turn to God again. I pray, I listen, I retreat.
Staying the course, and resisting temptation
I am tempted to turn my phone on. Tempted to connect with those I miss so dearly, but I say no! I retreat, I listen, I pray. I pray for those I’m missing…I have a short moment of daydreaming then return to prayer..I feel fear…I pray…I smile…I’m excited as God unfolds in ways I have heard in stories before. I give thanks…I’m eager to plug back in …I’m scared…what’s awaiting me? Where do I begin? I stop, I laugh, I write…I begin praying for the hungry who don’t even have a choice in when to break their involuntary hunger fast. I fall on my knees and start praising God for the many choices I am gifted daily. Oh, I humbly fall on my knees traversing in God…crying out for strength I have not of myself.
My journal & scented candle
natural hot cocoa
I journal..I take this chance to share my truth, to face it with you.
So here I am…vacation vs retreat? God is speaking “just stop, speak less and listen” – so I did that the best I could for the first week. I contacted my Virtual Assistant about giving my webpage a facelift, then unplugged from social media, and prayed a lot. I took a deep breath, and started my ‘retreat journey’ at Faces, Nails & More with services by Beverly, which included a foot detox. Had my nails done, then followed that up with a reflexology treatment from Lily….this lady has the gift of HEALING hands. In this treatment, I literally felt a weakness exiting my body. It was different. Everything about this day felt different. I found myself in the kitchen doing a lot of cooking the next few days, and also baked a Bajan Sweetbread.
A collaboration of cooking started to flow naturally and creative dishes were born…lol. This activity I shared with other beautiful sisters in Christ. Simply refreshing!
On Jan 8, I was guided to COMPLETELY UNPLUG & RETREAT. I immediately obeyed and accepted the compass that lead into a 21 day fast and prayer which I started Jan 9-29.
Again, guided to retreat to a Christian Facility that allowed the space and room for me to COMPLETELY UNPLUG from my world AND PLUG INTO God. I was in constant prayer and worship for the next 10 days and this journey was incredible. Without going into too many details of the private communions I experienced with God on this journey. I can safely say, I am now hooked on doing more unplugging and private fast & praying sessions with God. I have now begun a journey that will include “RETREATS” in my schedule.
On this beautiful retreat, I drank a lot of exotic authentic herbal teas made for royalty. I also received an Intensive Vitality Facial, a Clay Facial and specially customized ‘Bath from the Nile’ Beauty Treatments for the duration of my 10 days.
My typical day started with my personal praise, devotion & journaling which lasted for hours. as I was guided and flowed in my rapture with God. I mostly drank Jasmine Tea and prayed with another sister – the experience my soul lives with daily.
This is where I sit in perfect posture lol….what do I do God? God responds “begin where you are, use what you have.” RETREATING IS NOT EASY. But the Coach in me finds the discipline to BE a student….such a BEAUTIFUL place to BE!
Tips For Embarking On A Retreat: Turn your phone off, be alone, deep breathe, get out of your head, pray, be thankful, be thankful again in the moment; it is all we have, now listen, give thanks again, worship God, pray, listen, journal, share, be!!!
As I retreated, I found myself accepting and releasing my fears. I removed my dreams, gifts, passions, ALL relationships and I simply found myself LISTENING. In other words, I released my selfish wants and needs.
There is such freedom there!
As it flowed naturally, I accepted I had given up. I gave up on my worth of who I am, because I was drowned by past bad decision making and I beat myself into settling for ‘at least it’s better than nothing’…another revelation for me…..I was asking for ‘at least’ so I was gifted with “at least”. In this moment I was awakened, and “at least” no longer served me, and so I gave thanks for the revelation and I let it go.
I cannot give you a magic course in retreating and the benefits associated with it, but what I can share is, it is like taking your car to the shop…you do a diagnostic and you do whatever the mechanic saids because you need your car. You seldom ask questions or seek a second opinion. Because deep inside you are sure the mechanic will fix that car so you can get to where you need to. Treat your (inner) artist the same!
In your fear do what you are guided to. Speak less and LISTEN MORE. That way you don’t over-debate, and you simply follow your compass KNOWING YOU WILL BE SAFELY GUIDED to FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE.
When I returned, here are some of the phrases mostly used to describe my new energy by my fans and friends: “You look renewed,” “you look radiant,” “oh wow Lisa, you look so different; where did you go?” “did you go on a spiritual retreat?” People see, people know, for we are all one seeking to find our natural purpose.
A Prayer I saw on the wall when I was leaving Retreat Facility. I snapped a quick photo. Exactly how I was leaving….THANKFUL