Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
My home is my sanctuary, my retreat from the world. We live in a large yellow house that looks like the Amish just built it. Inside my house is a barn, literally. It was dismantled in rural Ohio and reconstructed to form the wooden beam skeleton to my living room, kitchen and entry way. We live on five acres away from everything. No trip is quick and no one just drops in. We have dogs that rest on the huge front porch next to the rocking chairs. Our ducks are friendly and will greet you as you drive down the driveway from the gravel road. The wild flowers along my walk, which my dad calls ‘weeds’, provide resting places for brilliant yellow birds and stunningly beautiful butterflies. Deer meander through the backyard and give you that ‘you are bothering me’ look, if we invade their grazing. I love where I live. It is a true blessing from God.
In this blessing however, I have learned a lesson about life.
You see, for some reason, which has yet been revealed to me, I find myself encountering the most difficult people that have been placed in my corner of the world. Not just once in awhile, but on a frequent basis, my people skills are tested and tried beyond reason. My heart gets broken, my feelings get hurt, my patience gets tested and my ability to forgive is a daily occurrence.
When the heat gets turned up and I think I have experienced all the frustration, irritation and aggravation that people can provide, my natural tendency is to run and hide. So many times after a brutal encounter with another ‘people’ problem, I would turn off the ringer on the phone, I avoided daily email interaction, I threw the mail on the counter and refused to climb in the car unless it was for toilet paper or tea bags (you know the necessities of life).
I would hide from the woes of the world. I did more than rest in my retreat, I retreated from the places that God wanted for me to go and avoid people that God would desire for me encounter. After all, God had given me the perfect surroundings to become a hermit, why shouldn’t I oblige? With closed doors, no phone calls and no interaction, my heart was safe.
Do you realize that wounded people wound others, because they do not know any different? In my attempt to heal my own hurts and comfort my own soul, I disobeyed God and avoided the call He had placed on my life to assist those who were broken and wounded. I pretended to be a two year old. Maybe if I hid my head under a blanket, they wouldn’t see me anymore and leave me alone.
I bowed my head one day and said, “Dear Lord, forgive me. Thank you for the people you place in my path. Let me see them, as You see them and help me to realize that they have hurting souls. Help me find a way to minister to them and reassure me that You can protect my heart in the process.”
God has been faithful. I am sharing iced tea on my front porch with several of my difficult encounters from the past. God is like that.
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