A few months ago, I told my husband Patrick that I was invited to attend a silent retreat with the Hidden Heart Ministry. I remember his first response: “You … silent with a group of women for an entire day!” Honestly, that was my first thought as well, but the idea intrigued me. Getting away from it all and hiking the beautiful trails near the Meramec River was appealing to my love of the outdoors. The silence was to begin promptly at nine o’clock, continue through lunch, and end at three o’clock. Could I do this? Could I sit at lunch with others and not speak? It was my Father who answered my questions: “Come away with Me, Julie. Get out of your comfort zone and draw near to me so that I may draw near to you. I have something to say.”
The day came when we all piled in the car and noisily chatted all the way to the Marianist Retreat Center in Wildwood. Knowing we were going to be silent for most of the day, I felt the need to empty my mouth of all the words stored up from the night before. I prayed that morning to let go of self and be filled with the Spirit of God; to grow in my prayer life; and to meet my God in His secret place of silence. I so wanted to draw close and hear him.
In the silence, I was awakened to a part of me I’ve never known – a person deep inside of my soul. Oh, how beautiful she is. I believe this is the me who Jesus calls to ‘arise.’ I smiled when I met her.
She is fully satisfied in Christ alone.
She is sustained by Christ’s bread and living water.
She breathes by the power of Christ and by the blessing of His Word.
She has made no room in her heart for earthly idols.
She receives wisdom, discernment, and sweetness from Christ alone.
She wears a crown of beauty and a garment of praise.
She adds nothing to herself because Christ is her all in all.
Oh, how I wanted to celebrate this part of me. Then I heard, “keep her hidden, keep her safe from the noise and busyness of this world.” But I knew this was not the voice of God speaking. Faithfully, God brought His word to my mind. We need to be living as children of Light and not be taken astray by the powers of this world.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
What good is keeping her hidden? How does this bring You glory, Father? It is here where I really camped out on the truth that we are to be imitators of Christ. This is what God wanted me to hear that day. It was then that I wanted to move aside the me who came to the retreat and welcome the part of me I met in silence – for her to take her place front and center in my life. Knowing this is possible through the power of the Holy Spirit, I opened myself up and asked God to fill me to His fullest measure; to live out of the fruit of His Spirit and not out of the ways of this world.
My prayer today, Father, is that I remain fully connected to this inner part of me; to fully understand she lives by faith and finds refreshment in silence; to fully understand that we live in this world but are not of this world; that we live in the darkness of noise and calamity but we do not have to be a part of it.
Thank you, thank you, that you encouraged me to come away with you, Father God. It was a day that I will always treasure; walking on your beautiful trails into the center of your heart and being able to hear you in the sound of silence.
Friends, I hope you will consider joining us on the upcoming retreat and taking a step into the silence with Our Father. You never know what you may hear, but be certain you will be blessed by the experience.
There is still a place for you to Come to the Well. Register at EventBrite.com.