And to be honest, I didn't really care as long as my time included good conversation with Renee (and hopefully other friends attending) and sleep, glorious uninterrupted sleep.
But God, God was up to a lot more in my life than just sleep and good conversation that weekend, though both of those gifts were included in my time away. While Renee and I were sitting in our cabin, listening to the waves crash on the sandy shore just outside of our windows, we began talking about the challenges that come along with meaningful writing, and at one point one of us said to the other something like, "maybe we just need to stop and reflect on who God really is ..." We sat quietly for a bit, waves churning outside, and reflected on that before conversation resumed.
After we left the shores of Lake Michigan, I thought long and hard about the true character of God for weeks. Not long after the retreat, Renee wrote me and shared she had been writing day after day after day of a devotion about God's character, and the words just kept coming, they just kept flowing and would I edit this project?
I don't always know answers to these kinds of questions immediately, but I knew in my spirit it was a yes moment. I knew God was speaking to my own heart about His character, about knowing and also remembering who He actually is; remembering God's character actually gives us strength for each moment we face, peace for each new day and an anchoring love for times of hardship as well as celebration ... so as Renee finished writing, I began editing.
Most of the time when I edit a project, I distance myself from it so I can see what works, what doesn't and deliver honest questions and feedback along with in-depth proofing for mistakes. When I edit I like to do this all in a timely manner.
Try as I may to distance myself from each day of the devotional while editing, I just couldn't. All I could do was allow God to draw me deeper into knowing His character. It took me double the time to edit because while I was editing God was editing in my heart my understanding of Him, inviting me into a deeper relationship with Him.
Soon Renee will be releasing a 14-day study, illuminate: seeing God by the Light of His Word. I can't say enough about illuminate, and not just because I had a small part in working on it -- but rather because God used illuminate to work in my own heart, drawing me closer to His heart of love.
There is great power in knowing God and in remembering who God really is; it's life changing when we slow down long enough to soak in more of His heart of love because His love is the kind of love that truly changes the map of our hearts. I pray you're as blessed by these 14 days of journeying closer to the Father's heart as I have been.