What constitutes a time of refreshment for you?
For me, this past Thursday-Sunday provided me with my personal definition of a time of refreshment.
–Time at a peaceful, beautiful holy place on a lake
–A peaceful, scenic drive soaking in God’s wondrous creation
–Walking outside to see the lake and the sun
–A simple room with just a bed & small desk/chair/sink
–No other place to go
–No other commitments or activities to do
–No other outside people vying for my attention
–Quiet time alone
–Serving others in Christ
–Loving others as God does
I am so thankful that I have been afforded this opportunity usually twice a year for the last two years as there is a need for dining room help for the semi-annual retreats at a retreat center.
Do you have a group of people you consider “family” though you do not share the same DNA?
For me, I also experienced that special “family” bonding while at the retreat center this past week. Some people I worked with prior times and I was afforded the blessing of meeting some new people as well. For the first time working alongside a gal from my own church, who is a special friend of mine, added to the family atmosphere.
I recall thinking a year ago, which was the last time I was able to help out there, as I was leaving, that the people had become “family.” Hugs and love were shared with one another as I left that time. God really softened my heart and helped me love like He does that time.
Each time I serve at this retreat place it seems like some special thought or experience presents itself. This time was no different. So let me take a few moments to share my experience and ways my soul and spirit was refreshed.
Being beside the lake and the beautiful hills always refreshes my soul and spirit especially with soaking in God’s beautiful creation in the summer. It’s not quite as picturesque in the fall, especially this time with a blanket of snow the few days that occurred this past weekend. The cold and windy conditions for two of the days made just a quick walk outside all that could be tolerated.
I am always in my element on these extended weekends because I am there to help set the dining room for meals and prepare snacks throughout the day. Yes, I feel empowered when I am able to help others, see a need and fill it. Paying attention to detail, jumping in when you hear of someone needing something and reviewing of things are always a challenge I am ready to tackle.
It doesn’t sound like there would be much to do with prepping a dining room for only three meals a day and a few snacks especially when there is a separate staff to prepare the food, but let me assure you it still consumes much of a day! Much to my surprise, your feet do end up sore by the end of the day from running around so much. The one lady said she had walked 11 miles in 2 days!
Much planning goes into making sure things work together smoothly to get as perfect of an outcome as can be achieved. Actually, I will say we spent much time perfecting the “science” of each meal by having a big chart/checklist for each meal where everything is laid out….what goes on each table, refilled each meal, what dishes are needed so that anyone can look at the list, fill the need, and then mark it off.
With the food items, they need to be on the table before the retreat members arrive into the room as the helpers are not to be seen to provide a more relaxed, inviting atmosphere. We strive to get every item on the table in the exact spot on each of the tables.
Ways I felt refreshed:
–Taking time to care for coworkers who were having a rough day–ask about the situation, say a quick prayer with them, make sure there was a good resolution
–Saving a plate of food for a coworker who was sleeping in that you noticed wasn’t there
–Feeling respected by fellow workers when asked for my opinion on the operation of things
–Feeling valued for looking for the needs to be filled
–Seeing that others were exhausted, stepping into the role of writing and planning (outside of my comfort zone) the remaining chart of meals
–Taking time to be friendly and laugh with the different helpers
–Saying “yes” to doing a Bible reading only to find out there were several names that were difficult to know the pronunciation of but just doing the best I could and letting it go
–Trying to receive words of affirmation with grace and humbleness
–Being prayed over by a member who appreciated my quiet presence providing for the items she needed throughout the days
–Verbal affirmation of being so appreciated and loved
–Hugs throughout the day to let me know I was appreciated
–Receiving a special card letting me know how much I was appreciated
–Being able to joke around with the kitchen staff and others to create more happiness and joy
–Being told a lady looked at me when she felt anxious because of my calming spirit
–Working together as a team to accomplish a goal
Just a few of the dining room “family”
Throughout the three days, we all bonded, shared many laughs, shared ups and downs of issues people are experiencing and worked together planning and executing the meals seamlessly!
It was a wonderful time of blessing others, growth within myself in different areas, great teamwork and fun. My life has been enriched with meeting more beautiful people while filling a simple need. It goes to prove you never know how God will use your simple “yes” to something to bless others and refresh yourself at the same time!
So, I ask you again, what constitutes a time of refreshment for you? What special “family” are you a part of? Would you be kind enough to leave a comment in the section below? I would love to hear!
And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. –Philemon 1:6-7 (NLT)