Thursday, January 05, 2012

Guest Post

This is a guest post by my friend Angela. She is sharing about her experience at my Advent Retreat. Deitra


Each year when Christmas is over I think about how much I wish I had been more focused on preparing my heart throughout the Advent season instead of getting caught up in all the crazy hustle and bustle that Christmas has become. The parties are great, the gift giving is nice and thoughtful, being with family is the best but through it all I feel like every year my thoughts are anything but centered around Christ and how the significance of his birth and entrance into this world can truly, continually change my life. So this year, instead of simply wishing my heart were more focused on Jesus, I decided to actually do something about it. This sweet lady, Deitra, has become a dear friend of mine throughout the last year and a half since I met her and have had the privilege to be mentored and receive some much needed spiritual direction from her.

Almost every month she holds day-long retreats at her house, each centered around a different theme. In July I signed up for her Advent retreat scheduled for the first week of December and eagerly anticipated this day, knowing that it would be just the springboard my heart would need to cultivate the deeper focus I long for. The day came and went and I was NOT disappointed. Every time I go to her house, whether for one of her retreats or for one of her study groups I used to be a part of, I ALWAYS come away refreshed and feeling closer to the Lord. I knew that God would have something special in store for me during this Advent retreat. He did! At the beginning she passed around a basket of rocks, each with a word written on it. We were instructed to pick a rock without looking at the word. My word was Anticipation. How i was attempting to focus more on anticipating the coming of Christ while also anticipating the arrival of our second child. She gave us a folder of materials, showed us a stash of Advent related books, and set us free to go into any room in her home for some solitude. The first chapter of the book I chose to look at "just happened" to be titled Anticipation. Hmmmm....must be a concept I really need to unpack and contemplate. So i did just that for the next 3 hours. It was a beautiful, peaceful time that set the tone for the weeks remaining leading up to Jesus' birth. One of the pieces of material she gave us in our folder encouraged us to write a Cinquain: a simple structured form of poetry which encourages you to get to the heart of what you are experiencing in just a few words. I am no literary genius and certainly not anything close to a poet so I wondered what I might possibly come up with but decided to give this cinquain thing a try. It was to be 5 lines and there were instructions about how many words or how to structure the phrase for each specific line. I sat with my word (Anticipation) for quite a while, contemplating it and its special significance in my life write now as I prayed and read through my Bible and some other materials. I came up with a long list of words or phrases that came to me when I thought of Anticipation, and then I narrowed it all down into my Cinquain:

Peaceful Unhurried
Savoring, Beholding, Waiting
Eagerly Expect, Prayerfully Rejoice

To you it may just be a mumble jumble of words, and that's ok. To me its a picture, a reminder of what I wanted these weeks leading up to Christmas to be like, as well as the weeks leading up to the arrival of the little one growing inside me.

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