When time stands still ....

What's it like to go on retreat?


"I've not been on a retreat before," she confided quietly as she arrived. "I'm not sure I'll survive three whole days! I'm not very good at being alone for hours on end......"

I led her past the sitting room, the library, motioned towards the chairs in the garden, pointed out the chapel and  showed her to her room.  

Gasps of delight. "I've not slept in a fourposter bed before, either!" 

She's been glimpsed at meals; and she's told me a little of what's been going on. Long luxurious hours asleep; a reading through the whole of Philippians in one sitting; browsing in the library; praying in the chapel - not with words but through gazing at the old misshapen cross on the wall and thinking through the implications of Calvary; an amble across the fields; talking with others also on retreat here; joining in Compline each evening; appreciating a midday guided Lectio Divina; playing with the dog in the orchard...

"There's really not enough time to think and pray through everything that I need to bring to the Lord," she said at last. "I'll need to come again. But I've really known His Presence while I've been on retreat. It seems easier here than it does at home, somehow."

Yesterday - A typical Saturday at Mays Farm?

Glorious day! There are retreatants in deck chairs around the garden, dozing, reading, praying ... one is in the sitting room with a caffetiere of coffee and browsing through "Country Life" .... another is still asleep ... someone's playing the piano in the chapel ....
What a privilege to be creating the space and place for people to 
#re:fresh re:new re:treat

FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T BEEN ON RETREAT BEFORE  and are not sure where to start:


part of the national retreat events for the weekend of June 13 - 15 2014

A time to step away from normal routines and try some space and sanctuary.

Ideal for those who have not experienced a retreat before.

A guided retreat but with plenty of down time.

And breakfast in bed.

Walks, rhythm of prayers in Chapel, good food, comfy beds ....

Book now for this retreat special!

arrive Friday June 13th late afternoon, depart Sunday June 15th after lunch.

48 hours of time to BE (with help on that if you need it!)


the library clock

the library clock

On a short fuse

Stress. Renovating projects and moving house and changing jobs are all rated highly on the stress indicator tables. Add to that the PTSS and depression of the previous two years, and I can excuse my instant explosions.

That angry tongue.

Those hateful words.

The impatient temper which explodes just when I'm not expecting it.

I even - yes, I confess to this too - I even hit the dog. Not hard, but still. I hit her, because she was leaping up at a visitor: trained already by our lovely workmen (they truly are, always cheerful and hardworking even in the recent freezingly cold weather) to leap as they tease her with their sandwiches. I've only recently discovered this and they do't do it anymore. But old habits die hard, especially in Labradors eager for any tidbit. Exasperated by her disobedience and desire to jump, I scolded and then lashed out, impatient, angry, on a short fuse.

And in front of a wonderful young Christian who had come on Saturday to help us work on the house.

So that's where I was last week.

On a short fuse.

It kept hitting me too, that short fuse.  Exploded externally, nagged internally.

But Sunday. And the sweetness of the Lord came pouring in as the tears poured out.

"This is the air I breathe ... and I, I, I - I'm lost without You, I'm desperate for You."

Worship at The Bath and Avon Vineyard. The Spirit convicting. 

Lord, change me.  I'm desperate for You to change me. I can't seem to get rid of this short fuse.

* * * *

He sent me Words. Words I have known for years but had forgotten. From Amy Carmichael's small but profound book IF  - 

If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.

I need Calvary Love. HIS love, pouring into me, loving others through me, filling me to the brim with His sweetness and patience and grace.

So I kneel at the foot of His Cross, conscious once again of that all powerful Love. LOVE that died for me and my short fuse.  LOVE that can flood me. LOVE - the first of the fruit of the Spirit.

Cross in chapel

The Cross we found (in the floor joists!) is now in the Chapel

close up of cross

I welcome His love in and drink deeply. Oh, LOVE, that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee ...

I'm still on a short fuse.  But I've handed the fuse to Him.

* * * *

SATURDAY  was another work day. The final wall came down, to create the kitchen. And the ceiling came down in one of the attic bedrooms.  That's the end of demolishing; now we start putting it all together. YAY!

last wall comes down

kitchen space!

ceiling comes down