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Category Archives: Every Woman’s Battle

Running Away With Your Bridegroom- Part 2

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Last time we talked about running away for some quality alone time with Jesus.  Any of these ideas can be adapted to fit your schedule, whether you manage to carve out three days, one day, or only a few hours…

“Past, Present, and Future” Retreat
 
Break up your time into three segments. During the first segment, think about your childhood or recent past. Are there people you need to forgive? Are there people you need to ask forgiveness of? Take time to write letters to those people, clearing your conscience and speaking a blessing over them. Next, examine your present. Make a list of how you spend your time each day and see if you are investing in your true priorities or simply putting out fires day by day. Ask God to show you how to restructure your time each day to accomplish those things and invest in those relationships most important to you. Finally, focus on your future. What are your ultimate goals in life spiritually, relationally, professionally and/or financially? Ask God to show you how to meet those goals and how to become the best steward possible of the precious time He’s blessed us with here on earth.
Hobby Retreat
 
What do you enjoy doing most? Painting? Reading? Writing? Make some time to do just that alone with God. Whatever it is, pack up your tools or books or whatever you’ll need and run away. Paint with passion, dedicating your masterpiece to the glory of God. Take a good Christian living or Christian fiction book and read voraciously without apology. Take a huge stack of index cards to jot down ideas and a laptop computer. Seek His direction and brainstorm things you could creatively write about that would glorify God.
“Prayer, Praise, and Pampering” Retreat
 
Too often we try to sit in His presence at 6 A.M., half-awake in our nightgowns, feeling anything but glamorous and passionate. Remember the painstaking process of getting ready for a hot date with that someone special? A process that we only wish we had time for in these “got to get myself and everyone else ready in forty-five minutes or less” days? Make time for a spiritual spa weekend. Take all of your favorite bath-and-beauty products and pamper yourself to go before the King. You’ll be amazed at how, when you feel pretty on the outside, passion flows freely from the inside. Your heart of worship will soar and you won’t want to stop talking with God, just like you

could have conversed all night with that special date long ago. Although God certainly loves us even with unshaven legs, no makeup, and a bed-head hairdo, He also deserves to occasionally have His princess sit at His feet while she is looking and feeling her best.
Intercessor’s Retreat
 
Many women have such a burden for others, but the burden of a busy schedule keeps us from praying until we feel a peace for those individuals. Take your Bible, your address book, some pretty stationery, and a pen and run away for an extended time of intercession. Pray for those you are closest to and anyone else that God lays on your heart. Ask God to give you a special scripture to pass on to those individuals that you care so much about and write it in a sweet note to them. Whether I am struggling, striving, surviving, or succeeding, it feels so good to get a note from a friend or family member saying, “You’ve been on my heart and I am praying for you.” It feels even better to be the one to brighten someone else’s day with such a note.
“Thanks for the Memories” Retreat
 
Of all the gifts God gives us in life, are there any we cherish more than fond memories of special  occasions with family and friends? I’ve often thought, “Even if my house burns to the ground and I lose everything, I’ll still have my memories.” My next thought is usually, “And if I ever smell smoke, I’m grabbing my photo albums first!” Invest in a nice scrapbook, some creative-patterned scissors, and some colorful, acid-free paper and pens. Gather up all those pictures you have tossed into a box over the years and go on this “Thanks for the Memories” retreat with a grateful heart for all the wonderful people in your life and for all the fond moments you’ve shared. Give thanks to God for each and every photo in your album and pray a special blessing on each face that adorns your pages.
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Miss Part of the Series? 

Part 1

 

Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.

Running Away With Your Bridegroom- Part 1

In addition to putting aside some time each day to rest in the arms of God and converse with Jesus, I recommend that you schedule a sabbatical alone with God at least once or twice each year. Based on the word Sabbath, a sabbatical is an extended amount of time set apart for the further cultivation of a love relationship with Jesus. Again, God loves it when you honor Him with the gift of time. What better way to honor Him and your desire for His presence than to schedule an extended rendezvous with Him. I’ve practiced sabbaticals over the past several years, and I’ve never experienced one where God didn’t lavish life-renewing love on me and give me a major revelation for my life or my ministry to guide me…

When I’ve asked women what hinders them from making the effort to run away for a retreat with the Lord, the three most common answers I received have been lack of time, lack of finances, and lack of help with the house and kids. If running away with God is something that you really want to do, you’ll get creative enough to make it happen. For instance, if you feel you don’t have a weekend for time alone with God, ask Him to show you ways to reprioritize to make some extended time available during the week, even if it’s only a few hours. We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day, and He’ll help you carve out time for such a high priority. If you can’t afford to spend money, be creative about how to get some time away. I often ask some people in our church to use their lake house for a few days during the week, and I take my own food or I fast during those days.
If you feel you can’t go away and retreat with the Lord because of household and parenting responsibilities, try explaining to your husband that you will be a much better wife and mommy if you have this time to yourself to spend with God. (My husband encourages me to go on these sabbaticals when I get out of sorts!) If you are a single mom and you cannot recruit sufficient assistance from other relatives, make a deal with a friend in a similar situation. Schedule two different weekends or other occasions where the two of you will swap houses. On the first weekend, you and your kids go to her house to keep her children and tend to her chores while she enjoys time alone with God at your house. Make it wonderful for her by putting wildflowers in a vase and some fresh fruit on the table. Stock the bathroom with bubble bath, some facial scrub, and a sweet-smelling candle. Leave a mint on the pillow and some relaxing CDs in the bedroom. Then when it is your turn, she’ll take care of your house and kids and treat you to a getaway at her house with God.
While it’s tempting to send your kids away and stay home, I have found that this never works as well because I get distracted by the mounds of laundry, rampant dust bunnies, and stacks of mail. So go somewhere. Offer to house-sit for people. If you are adventurous, go camping. Get away from the normal surroundings and routines and have a refreshing new experience with the Lord.
In case you are wondering, “What would I do on a retreat with God?” (that’s the Martha in us all, feeling like we have to do something.), next time we’ll discuss some ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Remember, think like Mary (see Luke 10:38-42)! This is an incredible opportunity to get away from it all and bask in Jesus’ presence, although some of these ideas will suit both the Mary (the worshiper) and the Martha (the busy do-er) in you. 
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Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.