Posted July 5th, 2013 

This is my daily walk. The LORD and I chat, frankly I ramble. For the first half of the walk my monkey mind runs. This morning was no different… “What a day I have ahead, need to make a cake for a grieving neighbor, run over spelling words with the kids, pack for camp, write a blog, Oh! My shoe is untied, I don’t have time to stop and tie my shoe, and I’ve got to finish this walk so I get on with the real work of my day.”

So I drug that shoe lace for about half a mile. Refusing to stop. After tripping twice, I finally stopped and squatted down. Silence. My shoes on the gravel road had been making so much noise I couldn’t hear the birds, or the crunch of the deer hooves nearby, a rooster crow in the distance, my neighbor’s bull bellowing. So I wandered off to the side of the road, sat down and listened.

Parents need a retreat time. I don’t mean as a luxury, I mean as a necessity. And when I say a retreat, I don’t mean attend a conference. Conferences are great times of learning and connecting. Retreats are times to sit down, tie your shoes, take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re going- retreats are times of active listening.

Here are a few starting suggestions for “retreating.”

  • If you can’t find a nearby retreat to attend, take a DIY retreat.
  • You need a full day or more.
  • Don’t go to a hotel, they are built for entertainment not solitude.
  •  Instead Google retreat centers and get a room.
  •  Or go camping, wander around your nearest national or state park.
  • Just get away, if you stay home you will find things that need to be done, other than listening.
  • Bring your Bible and your journal, but not a truck load of other books.
  • Settle into these questions, and invite the Holy Spirit to guide you, “Where did I experience the light of Jesus last year?” “When was I most filled with joy?” “Where and when did I see my children grow in their life with God?” “When did we experience delight in each other?”

At this writing I’m packing for my own retreat time. I’m camping and bringing my Bible, journal, a meditation on the Psalms, and a tender heart.

So how about you? Farm out the kids to eager grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or neighbors, or see if you can slip them into the UPS truck… Summer is the perfect time to stop, breathe, and tie your shoes.

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