By Katherine Evans
For every other Quail Young Adults Retreat, my main concern has been “do I have everything we need?” Excitement would build as we'd stuff the car (with everything I could think we could possibly want), knowing that the next morning we would wake up, not staring at the urban streets of our everyday Stockton, and instead be overwhelmed by the beautiful and extraordinary sights of God's creation. Mountains with forests. Waves spilling lazily across the San Francisco beach. It was always glorious. This time, I was leaving behind my one year old son (our first full day and night away from him) in the capable hands of Grandma. I was expecting to be sad, missing his ever smiling baby cheeks, but when Sunday came around and we were once more loading Corey's car for the trip home I realized I had not crept away from the group once to scroll through pictures and shed silent tears. That's the wonderful things about retreats. You connect with the people there, rarely having the need to deeply miss the ones who are not.
On the retreat, we played games, went on walks, and made plans to buy a cow farm. And when the inevitable crazy things happened which make family trips so memorable (a swing breaking, a toilet handle busting, a surprise bull and calves), the young adults put their heads together to come up with a solution. Who knew the pop tops on soda cans could be so useful? The theme was taking alone time with God, which is something I still struggle to do well. We had a worship time and then were released with some questions to find a quiet place to talk to God, to read scripture, and to not rush on to the next activity.
Before the retreat, Corey and I had been praying over some big decisions, and I realized I needed perspective. I needed space and time to wrestle with God through these issues we were facing in our marriage and as new parents. In the busy hamster wheel of everyday life, knowing the full day that's ahead of you and rushing forward only to find yourself having to do it all again tomorrow, this is difficult to achieve. After the hour, we came back together, had our closing worship time, and talked over the questions. I knew God had answered the desire of my heart. He had given me the perspective I needed to come back and get to work with a renewed spirit and a new goal in mind. Marriage, family, and life in general is hard work, and I had become soul weary and impatient with what was asked of me. Now my perspective has changed. I am determined to not just do the right actions (that others can see), but have begun praying for God's work on my heart to soften it, mold and strengthen it to face the challenges I know are ahead. All this from an hour of quiet conversation. One thought, the final question on the page, has been passing through my thoughts even days after we've returned. I'd like to pose it to you, Dear Reader.
What would have to change in your life for you to have regular time alone with God?