Several years ago, I did something I had never done before...I planned a retreat for our local pastor’s wives in mid-October! We had some friends who graciously offered us the use of their beautiful lakefront home in a rural part of our area. The combination of this home, the chill in the autumn air, and the colored leaves of the season made the perfect setting for evening bonfires, refreshing walks, and moments of reflection while sitting in the sunshine on the dock on the lake! It was a small gathering of 9-12 women, which made it very easy to connect and get to know each over the three days that we were away!
This was a time specifically designed to bless and rejuvenate these ladies mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually! It was my joy to serve them by relieving them from any kitchen duties, meal preparation or clean-up! I was able to create a loose schedule that would make opportunities for them to engage in devotions and optional teaching in the mornings, and an encouraging praise and prayer time every afternoon. There was plenty of time for reading books, taking bubble baths, and an occasional nap! The evenings were reserved for movies, conversations, snacks and playing games if they liked!
I am reminded of each one that I invited and the ones who were able to come away with me! It was such a privilege to spend time with them and build new friendships. They shared the things that were weighing on them, lessons they had learned, and incredible stories from their lives that were painful, difficult, challenging, and uplifting!
After we returned home, some of them began to connect regularly for accountability. Some have developed deep and meaningful friendships that have enabled them to encourage and take care of each other in the hard things and losses they have gone through since then. But the memories that we made were absolutely precious!
The sweetest things that I have learned about that time still warms my heart!
*Sometimes we have to come apart before we literally come apart!
Each of these women had their own place of need in their hearts but hadn’t taken the time or the opportunity for themselves to be ministered to. We can be so busy doing that we forget how to be.
*We all need people in our lives that we can trust and do life with!
This retreat helped to build relationships that could be built on common and unique challenges that these women shared in their life roles. We have understanding and relatability towards each other and can pray for and encourage each other.
*Sometimes the greatest blessings come when we give of ourselves!
When I planned this retreat I had no idea how much it would mean to me and to them, both then and now. The friendships that have been built are a blessing to each of us!
So let’s make intentional investments in ourselves and others by:
Planning times to rest and refresh ourselves and those we love.
Developing and investing in healthy relationships that will be a mutual blessing.
Not being afraid to give of ourselves to be a blessing and an encouragement to someone who really needs it.
If you could plan a retreat what would you want to include?
If you have been on a meaningful retreat, please share some of your best take-aways with me!
Leave me a message:: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life is short - it can be hard and happy!
Take the time to invest in yourself! Make the time to invest in others!
Both will bring blessings and
YOU ARE SO WORTH IT!