Into The Woods
"But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray."
For the last two years I've been dreaming about painting more of what I loved most about my childhood. I spent most of my elementary years exploring behind our family homes, where heavy tree lines and bushes met. I'd often come inside with burrs on my clothes and a head full of adventures. My grandmother would often stop to pick bottles in the ditch and I'd pick wildflowers (and weeds of course). I was even enrolled in girl guides from sparks to pathfinders (any girl guide friends here?), and with all the field trips and outdoor training, it further shaped a deep love for fresh air. Looking back, I can see how God blessed my younger days with much needed retreat and refuge being so close to nature.
So why the sudden need for retreat?
It's become abundantly clear to me that it's time to get quiet before God and seek His wisdom, repent for listening to the world over Him, so I can renew my thoughts, be refreshed, and strengthened to better serve.
Painting forests reminded me there's something about getting outside and remote that can help us connect with God, in the quiet and face to face with His displayed power in creation. It must be an important thing to carve time out for because Jesus often took time away to pray in solitude, and just prior to His arrest, He was praying in a garden of olive trees. We might not be able to leave for a vacation, or even leave the room long if you are a stay at home like myself. Solitude can mean to intentionally fast by creating quiet in your life. I usually do this by turning away from screens, the ringing phone, news, entertainment, or any influences that do not honour God. Without this spiritual discipline, soon enough the voices of the world tell me what truth is, my worldview shifts and is controlled by what people think is right, and then I'm too afraid to step out of line to even hear God's wisdom. Isn't that a cleaver device to get us away from God?
I want my life to be marked by my commitment to God, and to some it will seem strange. Even if it keeps me small or even a target, I will continue to speak this one truth over my heart, like I tell my children, "God makes me brave."
So long story short, expect to see more forestry, wetlands, florals, and maybe some wildlife. I am really excited about the warm season and getting outside a whole lot more!