• Michelle

Jesus, A Coffee Shop, and A Dance Party

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

Hey friends!

I just got home from a get-away, little retreat weekend I planned for myself. It was so refreshing and spiritually renewing. I didn’t realize quite how badly I needed to escape and have some time alone with the Lord. I think it’s funny how Jesus is everywhere, yet I sometimes find it necessary to escape to find a place of solace with Him. I need to get away from the distractions, the expectations, and the responsibilities of home so that I can concentrate on Him. It was SO good. I truly believe the Lord blesses our efforts. He doesn’t want to stay hidden. He is waiting for us. We just have to call out.

Saturday was the day I had set aside to be a mini retreat. I was going to sleep in, go find a chapel and be alone with Jesus. I wanted to hash out a lot that I have been carrying around on my mind. I wanted to ask Him questions and talk to Him about what has been going on inside my heart. I wanted to just rest in His presence and breathe in the peace of the stillness.

Before I left, I had heard on the radio that we often pray for what God has already given us. This intrigued me so I turned up the volume and listened in closely. The speaker said, “We pray, ‘God, give me peace.’ But God has already given us peace. In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.” The gift of peace is ours. What we really should be praying is ‘God, help me walk in the peace that you have already given me. Please help me access the peace.’” I loved this. The realization that I already have peace. I want to live in the awareness of the peace I have already been given. I wanted to pray about this with Jesus.

The daily reading for Saturday morning was Jesus calming the storm. My sister sent me a reflection in the morning on this Gospel. Check it out:

The verse it was reflecting on was Mark 4:38-39.

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm.

Here are the key points I took away:

*And there was great calm! We face many trials and difficulties in our own lives. Storms that arise that scare us to our core, just as the apostles were frightened. Jesus wants to bring great calm to our lives too.

*Jesus sometimes allows chaos to occur so that we can learn that He is always waiting for us. He sleeps during the storm meaning, even amidst the great storms we go through in our lives, Jesus is calm.

* He always remains calm. He is waiting for us to reach out to Him in our chaos, to give up our control so He can take over and bring perfect calm.

Trust. Waking Jesus. Crying out to Jesus. It all requires trust. Do we trust Jesus to bring great calm to the storms we are walking through? Do we trust He is stronger and more powerful than our storms? Do we trust Him enough to let go control?

I felt this was such a perfect reflection for me and how my heart felt going into my retreat. I knew I needed to wake Jesus and give Him control. We needed to have some good heart to heart time and I was really looking forward to it.

Fast forward a few hours.

I arrived at the church that had the chapel in the neighboring town only to discover it locked. I found this strange and wondered if maybe the church was open instead. I walked over to the entrance….locked. WHAT!?! Jesus…really? I had this all planed out. We were supposed to have a date. I did a quick google search and found that the chapel was opened Sunday at 10AM to Friday at 12PM. Bummer. I felt a little frustrated that I drove to this city to be at the chapel that wasn’t even available to me. I resorted to a coffee shop in town instead.

As I sat down at the coffee shop and pulled out my journal, I was reminded of the Gospel reflection about the calming of the storm. My plan was a quiet date at the chapel with Jesus. Jesus had a different plan and as always, His plan is better. I began to write:

The chapel was closed. I was pretty disappointed and ended up in a coffee shop, not exactly the quiet I was looking for but I can’t help but feel like this is part of it. Jesus is trying to tell me to find Him in the chaos-not always the quiet stillness. He is trying to teach me that my life doesn’t have to be quiet, still, or perfectly calm for Him to be active, to be present, to be my guide. Today was the calming of the storm reading and I feel like that is what he wants me to understand. In the midst of my own storm-my own chaos, my own anxieties, can I find Him? Will I reach out and call out for Him to be the calm, to be the quiet-to still the raging waves of my mind? There is a lot of chaos in my mind right now that I wanted to talk to Jesus about so I’m still going to talk to Him about it in the midst of the chaos of this coffee shop, distractions and all. I’m going to pray because #thisisreallife. Jesus is here. He is my date. I always say I wish I could sit and have coffee with Jesus and ask Him all my questions SOOO, I’m going to do just that on this date.

My day was anything but expected. The mini retreat I had planned did not go according to my plan BUT the weekend get-away was everything I needed and more. Jesus used my effort, took over, planned the weekend, and blessed me with so many graces, especially a little access to the peace He has already given me. My little heart feels so renewed, so hopeful, so full of life. This little prayer flooded from my heart at the end of my date with Jesus:

Empty: to remove ALL the contents of. Lord, my prayer. Empty me- remove all the contents of my heart. All the fears, all the doubts, all the lies, the anxieties, the pressures and expectations I place on myself, the false ideas, the criticisms, the stress, the need for control, the questions, the hopes, the chains, the captivities, the sins, the vices, the insecurities, the weight, the desires, the heaviness, the opinions of others. Lord, empty me of it all. Remove all the gunk so I can have room to to grow, room to cultivate joy, room to hear you speak, room to grow, room to be reborn, renewed, re-bloomed. Empty me of myself and fill me with you. Fill me to the brim with trust, peace, joy, courage, hope, faith, freedom, pliability, acceptance. Lord, I’m such an infant spiritually. I’m stuck in the trust vs. mistrust and autonomy vs. shame and doubt stages of development. I’m only just learning to trust you, only just learning that autonomy doesn’t just mean I can do something on my own but it is knowing I can do things and make decisions yet I can CHOOSE and ask for help. Lord, help me to be a child. To trust in your love for me and to accept your help as you are always there by my side wanting to lift me up when I can’t stand. I love you.

Note to self: plan a monthly retreat day. One weekend, one day, one morning. It doesn’t matter. Whatever the month allows, whatever my soul is needing. Plan it. Stick to it. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Find Jesus in it.

The result: A soul that has tapped into the peace that has been given to it. A soul that is renewed and ready to tackle the month ahead of her. A soul that has rested in the love of a good, good Father.

P.S. Oh, and if your date happens to end in a bout full of giggles, a dance party with your best friend, and brownies and ice-cream….remember to thank Jesus for the gift of an evening filled with your favorite things and a heart bursting with joy.

<3 Michelle