The retreat center was out in the boonies, as somebody said, where we had no cell phone reception. The rustic buildings were set on a vast, wooded property.The retreat planners set up a room where people could sit to visit or relax. Aromatherapy candles and vases of flowers were placed on side tables and hot water was available for tea (check out the name of that tea: “Herbal Unwind”). People really used that space. Some chatted; others knitted. My room was just two doors down, and as I passed by, I often saw women sitting alone enjoying some quiet moments in prayer.The planners also provided chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I forgot to take a picture of that. I suppose I was too busy scooping up handfuls of M&Ms to snap a shot.On Saturday afternoon, I embarked on a long hike with two ladies, and we found a really big leaf….That’s not my hand, in case you’re wondering. I was snapping the picture.Then we lowered ourselves down a steep bank using a nylon rope attached for that purpose–we are so tough–and came to the edge of a beautiful lake.Interestingly, we’d actually talked briefly that morning of Psalm 23.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
I wasn’t expecting to experience that so literally.I’d love to share pictures of some of the ladies I got to know, but I forgot to ask their permission.Two nights was perfect. We were all so relaxed. One woman said that she did a lot of sighing over the weekend. She wasn’t bored; she was letting all of her stress melt away.Sighing…relaxing…releasing.She let the Shepherd lead her and restore her soul.Well, we all did. We asked Him to speak, for His servants are listening.
The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10)
And then we listened for the voice of our Shepherd.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27)
After sharing a powerful time of worship and prayer, after relaxing with games, after partaking of several delicious meals that none of us had to prepare, we’re now in re-entry mode; down from the mountaintop, back to our everyday lives and challenges.And that is, I suppose, what retreats are for–to replenish us, give us perspective, help us pull away to a quiet, solitary place in order to connect deeply with the Lord so that we are reminded how vital it is to connect deeply with Him every day.My weekend retreat is over, but heading into Holy Week almost extends it.Still, I must do the laundry.
Kristen M. says
Glad to hear you had a great retreat. Were you a speaker?
After reading your post, I got online to look for a retreat just for me. It always seems so hard to “get away” without the kids and husband, but reading about the solitude and spiritual peace you experienced, made me realize my need for that even more. I’ve always been a believer in the blessing of women standing by eachother, and what better place to be than surrounded by Godly girls who are all seeking the same Peace. Beautiful! Thank you for inspiring me to take a trip for my soul!
Stretch Mark Mama says
That’s my “Goodwill” coffee cup!!! (Maybe I *am* cool after all.)
Llama Momma says
Yes. It always comes back to the laundry, doesn’t it?
Sounds great! The retreat center and the property it was on look beautiful. How relaxing!
Sounds wonderful. I’m glad you had the opportunity to attend.
Kristen: Yes, actually, I was the speaker. It was very nice because it was my own church’s women’s retreat. Our family is new enough that we’re still getting to know people, so this was a great way to really connect in this small, intimate setting.
greenchickadee: Oh! I’m so happy to hear you say that. On the drive home, I was thinking that exact thing–that I need to be sure to build in more personal retreats. I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful, relaxing, Christ-centered, sigh-ing time away.
Stretch Mark Mama: No way! I’m going to go back and check out your collection again.
Llamamama: Yep. I’m on load number 2 already.
Hooked on Houses: It was simple and lovely, and the people running the place were so kind and easy to work with. We were impressed.
Alana: It was simple and focused on the things that really mattered. I, too, am glad I was able to go and also to be involved.
Ann @ Holy Experience says
And you took us on the retreat with us, in pictures and words. I feel revived.
Thank you, Ann… I only wish we could hear you speak. (A podcast? ~warm smile~)
Looks like a wonderful place for a retreat, we all need times like these on a yearly basis.
What a beautiful place to have a retreat! I’m going on a women’s retreat in April and I can’t wait!
dawn chetty says
I am a South African. For the past 10 years, I have organised week end retreats for women. This year our group is going away on the 24/10/2008 to the 26/10/2008. It is a time of refreshing where women relax, get to know each other and connect with the Lord. We come back full of fire and ready to take on whatever the Lord has in store for us. I believe every women needs that week end. Love Dawn Chetty