Monday, April 03, 2006

My Retreat

I highly recommend a spiritual retreat to anyone needing some direction in their life. I had such an amazing experience.
I got up at 7:30am and headed out the door. I prayed before I left that I would know where to go. I didn't really get a feeling about which direction to head out, so I chose to go North on I-17, I just said, "okay Heavenly Father, this is the way I am going, please let me know if there is another place you want me to go. I felt good about it, so off I went.
It was amazing to just drive and not have a destination in mind. I didn't feel the rush of needing to get some place. As cars were passing me, and hurrying on their way. I was just driving, and soaking in my surroundings. Once I got out of the city, the mountains were just beautiful. They are a lot different than the Utah mountains that I am use to, but they have their own beauty. They are so majestic, I was wishing I had thought to bring my camera. It is still new and fun to see all of the different cactus. And to see the vegetation that survives the heat, and little rain.

I took with me the CD my Mom sent me for my birthday. It is by the tabernacle choir, titled: Love is spoken here. It was so beautiful, and as I was thinking and pondering and praying. It just seemed that each song spoke to me....

"I see my Mother kneeling" Do my children see me kneeling, am I praying as often and as fervently as I should be? "Blessed by the strength of Priesthood power" How often to I take for granted that power? Do I realize how blessed we are to have the Priesthood in our home?

"For the beauty of the earth" My heart was full as I experienced the beauties all around me, all of this was created for us. It was almost overwhelming to think about the creation, and the wonders of the beautiful earth.

"I feel my Saviors love, in all the world around me. His spirit warms my soul through everything I see" I felt this, as I heard those words. My soul was touched as I kept driving and took it all in.

"Our Saviors love, shines like the sun with perfect light, as from above it breaks through clouds of strife." "Loud may the sound of Hope ring till all doubt departs". At that moment I was filled with hope again. I knew that everything was going to be alright. The questions I have, and answers I am seeking would come. No matter what happens I am going to be alright.

"I often go walking" this song made me miss my Mom, I have been blessed with such a wonderful Mom. Her example of faith is truly incredible. I am so blessed to have been born of goodly parents.

Each and every song that is on the CD spoke to my heart in one way or another. I don't think I have ever been so touched by these songs, as I was that day. Most of these songs I have heard over and over, but at that moment if almost felt like I was hearing them for the first time. One song touched me more than anything. The simple primary song,
I'm trying to be like Jesus.

lives most tender moments come from showing love to others, making time to serve a friend, offering kindness and patience to a stranger--from trying to be like Jesus

I'm trying to be like Jesus,
I'm following in his ways.
I'm trying to love as he did,
In all that I do and say.

At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,

"Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught."

I'm trying to love my neighbor,
I'm learning to serve my friends.
I watch for the day of gladness
When Jesus will come again.

I try to remember the lessons he taught
then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts,

"Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
for these are the things Jesus taught."

It's really just that simple If I try to be like Jesus then everything else will be okay. I think if I only discovered this one thing on my retreat, then it was all worth it.

One last song that I really enjoyed was
May the good Lord bless and keep you

May the good Lord bless and keep you,
Whether near or far away.
May you find that long awaited
golden day today.

May your troubles all be small ones,
and your fortune ten times ten.
May the good Lord bless and keep you till
we meet again.

May you walk with sunlight shining
and a bluebird in every tree.
May there be a silver lining back of
every cloud you see.

Fill your dreams with sweet tomorrows,
Never mind what might have been.
May the good Lord bless and keep
till we meet again.

It just seemed that every single song had a message for me. I kept driving and listening to the words and my fears, and anxieties began to just melt away. All of the questions I have been having were getting answered. As I drove along, I would get to an exit, and ask "should I get off here"? Each time I would feel that I needed to keep going, until I got to Camp Verde, and then I knew this was where I was suppose to exit. It was a cute little town. I drove around the town a little, and saw a sign pointing to Pine and Strawberry. I knew that was the way I needed to go. I stopped at a gas station and bought a map...Yeah I was that dumb to head out without one. I noticed that after I went through Pine, I would get to Payson. I had been there before, and knew my way back home from there. I really wanted to find a place where I could pull over and get out and read my scriptures and pray and think about everything that has been on my mind. I finally found a place, there was a sign for trailhead/camping. I followed the road down until it ended. There was a minivan in the parking area, but no one was in it. They must of been off hiking. And then there was an old full sized van that has curtains in the windows, and I could see a man standing by it, looking for something inside his van. I sat in my car for a few minutes waiting to see what the man was doing. I was hoping that he was leaving. I felt a little uneasy all of a sudden. No one knew where I was, and I felt vulnerable. I did not have service on my cell phone either. I sat in my car, feeling silly for not getting out and for being worried. Yet I couldn't make myself get out either. I then heard a voice very clearly say to me. "Jane, you need to leave now". I was startled, and said what? I heard it again. "Jane you need to leave now". I started my car back up, and left. I was surprised, yet so grateful for the warning. Just a few miles down the road there was a sign to Tonto natural bridge state park. I felt that a state park would be a safer place for me to be, so I headed down the road.
The road was very curvy and to my right was a 500 foot drop off. As I made my way down, I was so amazed at how beautiful it was. I paid my fee and set off to explore the area a little bit, and to see the natural bridge. I was amazed!! It was so BEAUTIFUL. The bridge was created naturally by water and travertine rock. There was a waterfall, and trails you could hike down and cross under the bridge. You could see caves that had been formed. There was a crystal clear lake at the bottom.
I could not believe I was led to such beauty. I felt guilty for being there, alone. I wanted my family to be here with me. I went back to the car to call Jim to see if he'd want to bring the kids and meet me here. I was just so excited for them to see this. He was a good sport, packed up the kids and a picnic lunch and headed out. I knew he had an hour and an half drive, so that gave me the time I desired to read my scriptures and ponder life.

I was so excited to see my family when they arrived. We hiked down one side and crossed under the bridge, and back up the other side. It was so great to work together as a family to make it down the steep hill. And to have to rely on each other to make it across the slippery rocks. There was one part that was scary to cross, and little Alyson was so scared she started to cry. But once we were all to safety she threw her arms around her daddy's neck and said thank you, she felt safe again.

My spiritual retreat was everything I was hoping it would be, and even more. I found answers, I felt like my batteries have been re-charged. Life is good. No matter what happens I know that my heavenly Father is walking beside me.


Lei said...

I LOVE long drives on Sundays! Dh and I take the kids out with all our favorite church CDs. It is so peaceful. I am glad you got a chance to go and spend some alone time as well as family time enjoying that!

emlouisa said...

Wow, what a great day! I so need one of those right now. Glad you were able to share it with your family too. Funny how sometimes we do all we can to "get away" and then when we are alone we miss them. Such is life!

PS...if I come to Phoenix I'm DEFINITELY going to try to visit all ya'll.

PSS...We miss you.

Taffi said...

Jane, I feel so calm and peaceful after reading that! Thank you for sharing.

Praying for your Prodigal said...

WOW! Great post! You have inspired me...given me the extra strength I will need in one hour. My oldest son is relocating 1600 miles away to Orlando, Florida. He is stopping by here this a.m. before he drives further. It has been on my heart to lay my hands on his car and his shoulder and PRAY for his journey--but was feeling a little shy about it. After reading your post...I"M DOING IT!!!


ubercyl said...

I enjoyed reading that so much, Jane. Thank you for sharing your journey. My favorite part was when your good husband brought all your kids out to join you. What a great family you two have made!

Rachelle said...

What a great beautiful post. I love it! What an awesome experience! Thank you for sharing with us!

Lee said...

Jane what a terrific post. I really enjoyed reading it. That had to be such an amazing experience. It is so important to take time to feel our Savior's love and to feel grounded. I am glad you got the answers and peace you were looking for.

The Constant Gardener said...

What an awesome experience. Thank you so much for sharing it. I think we all need that recharge once in awhile. The Lord loves us and wants to show us how much, we just have to be willing and open to hear and feel it. You're awesome, Jane!

Amber said...

Just reading that made me warm and fuzzy! Love you!

Char said...

Thanks for sharing, Janer!


ShelahBooksIt said...

I loved that, Jane. Such a great reminder that I need to be more in tune and the spirit will guide me more than I often let it do now.

Stephanie said...

Oh Jane. I am so glad you listened to the spirit. I am glad you are safe and I am SOOOO happy for what you felt and discovered about yourself. I am so thankful you shared such a deeply spiritual experience. It really touched me. Thank you!