A Personal Retreat Testimony

Written by Dean McClary

ocean shores 2

I choose to use part of a recent weekend, and access to an Ocean Shores cabin that belongs to a friend, to take a personal retreat. I wanted to apply some of the different practices and postures to touch the hem of the Lord, that I had learned in the recent “How to Relate to God & Others” Spiritual Essentials class with Pastor Tony. I also planned to use the time to address some issues rooted in my past that I have been increasingly aware of that affect my ability to function fully and freely in Christ.

I first felt compelled to have a “season of silence,” which I interpreted as being totally unplugged from all electronics as well as interactions with other people. Related to that, was a conscious attempt to not track time, but to feel free to be led as He directed each moment. Finally, with my strong “Naturalist” tendencies in how I meet God (Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas), I spent a LOT of time walking or running the beaches over parts of three days.

While I did not hear the proverbial voice coming from a setting sun over the pink-colored waves of dusk at Ocean Shores, I know that the Lord met me in the time I had freed up for us in several ways. A personal Sunday morning “church time” with Christ, involving Bible study and scripture memory card review, suddenly went real deep, from my head to my heart. I found myself lingering over verses from Psalm 73: 23-26 in which David claims, “…I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand.” Suddenly the thought of the Lord rejoicing over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17) became as spiritually real to me as I have ever experienced in a 30+ year journey with Christ. I found myself claiming those verses from the Psalms in a spirit of praise over the rest of the retreat. He also guided three different “free writes” to unlock some past memories in unexpected ways that went way beyond what I feel I could’ve learned about myself resulting from past events.

What I learned from the experience, besides the obvious fact it was way worth it, is it’s important to seek and have the prayer coverage of family and friends, bring what you have before Him with loose reins, and learn to linger with Him as the Holy Spirit directs.

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