A retreat is a great way to recharge, refresh, unwind, talk to God, relax, connect with nature and slow down. Still WaterS Retreat Center in Springtown is a perfect place to do that and I just experienced all of the above. I highly recommend it!
Thank you September James for the impromptu invite when we first met through a mutual friend, Stenell. Thank you for listening to God's voice.
The slowness was refreshing. No alarms. No meals to prepare; thank you Tiffany! No responsibilities other than being quiet and aware of how God would speak to me. I hiked. I swam. I swang. I took a nap. I heard dogs, cows, coyotes, a donkey, birds, frogs and crickets. I saw cats, turtles, fish and two dueling rabbits. I had been working on my book for three days. I was trying to be in-tune with what God wanted me to say. On the last night I prayed that God would show me some thing in the morning. I had a song in my heart by Jeremy Camp (my funeral song by-the-way) that September played on our first day to praise and worship before we were to be silent before God. The song says, “In the morning when I rise give me Jesus." This played over and over in my mind. So I prayed, “God, in the morning when I rise show me something from you to help me have peace I know you’re there.”
As I glided to and fro on the swing the next morning, a cottontail bunny appeared. He was aware of his surroundings and an ear was always pointed in my direction especially since I was moving. He ate grass and paused, looked around and continued eating again. He moved a couple of feet and looked around again. He was a petite brown rabbit. He looked young. When this bunny turned the corner around some rocks, he saw another bunny and immediately hopped up to get a closer look. This bunny was bigger, light colored and seemed older. What happen next surprised me. The young rabbit began pawing at the ground like a bull to challenge the older rabbit. He hopped in front of him daring him to react. The older rabbit reacted by hopping towards the young one. He even got on his back legs at one point and to paw the young one. It looked like a boxing move. This went on for several minutes. Back-and-forth the two hopped just out of reach to oncoming advances. Finally, the young dark rabbit scared off the older rabbit into the tree line. A few minutes later they were beside one another, but this time, they were eating grass and aware of me swinging to and fro again.
This is how God showed up and what he placed on my heart about the two rabbits: They represent my life. My new spirit duels with the old one I have tried to put away. The old one will always be trying to rear its ugly head, but I must fight back. The new spirit within me does not want the old spirit back. I was not even satisfied there. However, I have to battle and come up fighting occasionally, but since I know I am a child of God, I do no battle alone. The new self can live in harmony with the old self because I constantly, intentionally put the old self and its place- On the cross with Jesus. It does not condemn me any longer even though it lurks around. It does not have free reign. Sometimes I go back there and visit, but the loud voice of the new me and Jesus calls me back. I don’t have to be perfect or get it right every time, but I do have to be aware like the bunny, of my surroundings and where there is danger lurking; where there are temptations ahead. It could be physical danger or it could be danger in the form of, “where does my mind go when it wander"?
Where does your mind go when it wanders? Do you duel with your old self? Who wins? Do you intentionally stay in the dark or paw your way out? Maybe you have not put on your new self, YET. I don't believe there will ever be a time when we do not have to battle- that time will come when we are in heaven. For now, I am confident that God watches over me. He sees my dueling and lends me a hand. Jesus' blood covers me and I know I can live in harmony beside my old self because I am confident in the one who is aware of me at all times. If the old self disappeared, we would not need trust or faith any longer. Because it is ready to pounce, I trust in God and am at peace with the battle until I have to battle no more.