I remain more and more convinced that we all need still points in our days. In this busy, media-driven world we need down-time; we need stillness to sustain our mental health. And, for those of us who would express it that way, we need silence to be more deeply aware of God.
'Be still ... and now that I am God', writes the psalmist.
A recent retreat at Elterwater Park has restored and renewed me after some difficult and hugely demanding times. My time apart was a perfect antidote to the stresses and responsibilities that have dominated the past few months as I have needed to care for and support my increasingly frail father.
Stillpoints @ Elterwater was: a beautiful, remote country guest house, nestling amid the glorious Lake District fells, where Lesley and Neil McCririe offer superb God-centred hospitality and, for those who would like it, the opportunity to make an individually guided retreat. Not a conventional retreat house as such, the house operates primarily as a B&B, but other than at breakfast times the house is deliciously quiet. Surrounded by love, I enjoyed homely touches, 4-star meals, beautiful countryside, a relaxing log fire, deep stillness, a discerning guide in Lesley ... and God ... all seasoned with friendship and a level of TLC above and beyond the call of duty. It was a deeply healing time. And I returned home well rested and with new God-given perspectives on the difficult situations that currently surround me. In short, I was reminded of why I remain passionate about the value of retreats. Give thanks for the ministry of Lesley & Neil and for a very restorative retreat.
And so to an apology. Many of you will know that I have had to temporarily step aside from various projects and to postpone some planned retreats. Frustrating though this has been, I think sometimes God calls us aside from what may be a fruitful ministry in order to incarnate something equally good, but different. And this seems to be His call to me at the moment. So, for now, I shall follow His leading to devote the next few months to the needs of my seriously ill father. After that, as he settles into the care of others, I hope to be resuming my current ministry. In the meantime, I would very much value your prayers.
Thank you for your continuing support in so many ways.
May moments of stillness weave themselves into your days and draw you deeper into God.
And if you might benefit from an experience of a first-class guided retreat, check out Stillpoints @ Elterwater - I guarantee you won't be disappointed!