Friday, August 22, 2014

The Gift of Solitude

The Gift of Solitude

A week ago, I had a gift of solitude for the better part of a day…

Summer break is over, so last week four of my children started their public school year. The only one doing home school this year is my youngest daughter, who is 9.  It’s a lot quieter around the house during the day!  One of my adult daughters offered to take her little sister to Disney World as a belated birthday present. (As an employee, she can take her in for free.)

Wow! A day to myself with no kids around the house! I know how quickly those can get squandered so I tried to plan out my day ahead of time. Maybe I would spend half the day cleaning house and half the day reading and writing. Or, better yet, maybe I could go away for a little silent retreat to a quiet place with no Internet or clutter or people to distract me? Unfortunately, I didn’t know of a place I could do that. That is, until another adult daughter called and asked if I could babysit her three month old son for several hours. Ah, that was it! She has a lovely apartment, and I would be there by myself with a napping baby. So there we have it.

I arrived around 9:30 AM after running some errands, including buying myself some goodies for snacks and lunch.  My grandson didn’t really wake up until the afternoon, and even then he was a pretty chill kid and ready to cuddle. 

I had about four hours to read my Bible, write in my journal, pray, and call a mentor. Before I started, I texted a handful of friends and asked them to pray for me that my time would be fruitful. They were all delighted to participate.

I marveled at how things worked out just right, and I thanked God for the gift of solitude to this tired mom who still wants to grow.

At the top of a journal page, I wrote, “Clarity and Wisdom Retreat.” That was my goal – to hear from God and get guidance for the coming days and years. As it turned out, I spent most of my time reading and reflecting on Psalms 50-63 about being responsive and reverent to God.

“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honor me… He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:15, 23

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.” Psalm 51:10,12

“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God. I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.” Psalm 52:8-9

“Cast your cares upon the Lord, and he will sustain you…”  Psalm 55:22a

“For you have delivered my soul from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” Psalm 56:13

“For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” Psalm 57:10

“Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.” Psalm 58:4-5

“For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught in their pride… But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:12, 18

“For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.” Psalm 61:5

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Psalm 63:1-3

Did my whole life become clear for me? Not hardly. But I feel like I have enough light for the path right in front of me, and enough faith to keep following Jesus. That's enough for me.

More on solitude and reflection? Read these...

Virginia Knowles


  1. There is nothing better than what I call a "Jesus date". Just like time with a spouse alone is so important in a marriage, we need time alone with Jesus to develop that heart intimacy we so desperately need. I'm so glad you had a wonderful Jesus date! (your grandson is adorable by the way!)

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! The little guy is really cute, and I've got another grandson about to be born today!