Our prayer is that “On Retreat” will help you break from habituated patterns of mind and frantic activity, make more space for God, and step into a new way of seeing, believing, and abiding. Each retreat will focus on a healthy body, a serene mind, and a powerful spirit. Your devoted guide will be modern day Christian mystic, Betty Skinner.
Affirming the Hope Hidden Within You,
~Cathy and Kitty
Giving and Receiving
A Healthy Body
Do a few simple stretching exercises to energize your body, then silently integrate the inner peace of your practice for a few minutes.
A Serene Mind
Begin this portion of your time with God by sitting with a warm cup of coffee, tea, or water with lemon in a comfortable chair in a quiet place with your Bible close. Light a candle as a symbol of God’s presence with you.
Let Betty’s lovely Centering Prayer quiet and refocus your mind. Read it on page 53 of The Hidden Life Awakened, or listen to Betty read it (click here to listen). Listen for His voice in silence for ten minutes.
A young father sat by his daughter’s bed most nights to talk with her a little about her day. As he got up to leave, he would always ask if he could bless her. He put his hand gently on her head and repeated the blessing God instructed Moses to teach the priests to say over the Israelites. You may have heard it.
“And now, the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6: 22-26.
There are other versions that say, “The Lord turn His face towards you”, but countenance evokes a far more beautiful image. It implies a facial emotion and expression of approval. Over and over this young father had looked on his child with loving approval as he blessed her.
When she was just seventeen, she found him crumpled on the floor in agony. Instinctively, she knelt by him and asked if she could bless him. She placed her hand gently on his head and spoke the blessing he had prayed over her for so many years. She didn’t know why he was in agony, she didn’t know he had just heard his brother had suddenly died. The love-blessing she had received into her deepest heart for so many years burst unbidden into her consciousness as she absorbed the grief of her father. This is the giving and receiving of love.
A Reflection from Betty
It was in my garden that I began to get a sense of the flow of the giving and receiving of love, because every morning it offered me so much beauty in return for my care.
Such giving and receiving, opened my heart more and more to God’s voice, reminding me that in Him there is nothing but love, and that I was created out of His first love for me. It is this First Love that I had to keep returning to in prayer. The returning is difficult—it is a great struggle—but if we are faithful, we will taste peace somewhere deeply hidden within our hearts, far beyond feelings and emotions.
Now at ninety, I can still sit, talking, touching another life and feel the love flowing between us. Our spirituality is all about dying to our ego in order to enter into this giving and receiving of love. I see a picture in my heart all the time of the sweet, sweet relationship between the Father and the Son. The Father, so willing to pour Himself out for the Son and the Son so willing to receive it and give it all back—no strings, no conditions, no counting the cost. This is the relationship I was drawn into and long to bring others into. The Hidden Life Awakened
A Powerful Spirit
Spend a little time now, letting the Living Word speak to your heart.
Psalm 116 The Passion Translation
Rest Quietly with God
Use your imagination to visualize Jesus sitting there with you or in any other setting that brings you peace. What is He giving you? What will you offer Him?
For a few minutes journal every thought that arises without filtering or censoring as a child would. This is the indwelling Spirit speaking truth to you. Trust this for now.