Last weekend I spent the weekend in the beautiful Solace tent at Bestival on the Isle of Wight. I was there with one purpose, to serve free tea and home-made cake to the masses alongside some amazing people from the various Churches on the "island". It was a fantastic weekend and even though I came away tired, I was also refreshed...Solace truly was refreshment for the soul. After reminiscing about the whole experience, I really felt God was talking to me about two different things...
Firstly, about the rhythm of life and how we miss out on 'solace' when our lives become crowded and busy. During the weekend we were rotered on to different areas of the whole Solace operation; hosting, serving, praying and resting. We were giving but also receiving. How many of our lives have that balance? Where we serve and host and then retreat to spend time in prayer and rest with the Father? We know this is a good model because Jesus did it! My life tends to get out of kilter, life is mainly BUSY. Don't get me wrong, life is fun in the business. I love my job and I love getting involved at church. I work best when I am busy and have a purpose. But I wonder how my busy life overshadows my quiet times, those important times to recharge, to spend time with God. If I am honest there is more hosting and serving and then collapsing out of exhaustion rather than praying. It made me realise how important it is to retreat. I have been challenged recently to re evaluate my rhythm of life, scheduling in a bit of solitude and prayer time with God and those people who breathe life into me.
The second thing that I felt God was chatting to me about was how we receive things. Our friendly faces and free refreshments were received with mixed responses. Some where unnerved, some were thankful, some were expectant and some tried to pay. I couldn't count the amount of times I heard, "...but nothing is free in this world!" and it made me think about how we receive the free gift of grace! My husband, Will, said to one girl who kept wanting to pay, "Don't you think you're worth a cup of tea?" I know I fall in to the camp that would prefer to earn a gift rather than receive it freely. I rarely feel worthy of such a treat. And it is true, nothing is free in this world. Grace and love costs. It cost Jesus his life. But he paid the price so we don't have to. Yet, even though I know that, I will happily try to earn it, I will work hard and try and do good things so I can be deserving!
With both these things, God is showing me that He would rather have me sit at His feet rather than run around like a headless chicken. In this season, He wants me to be a Mary as well as a Martha (Luke 10 v38 - 42) and find a little solace for the soul amidst a busy life.