Immediately after the retreat there was a flood of text messages, “How did it go???” I wanted so badly to say, “Perfect!” But there was something holding me back. We did not end on a lighthearted note, did we girls?? It was heavier than I anticipated but I knew I stayed with God the whole time so I have to, over and over, tell myself, it was what He wanted it to be. We strayed from my itinerary slightly but just enough to make me question myself and thats pretty much what I did all Sunday. It was a battle that I had opened myself up to willingly but naively. I thought I would feel differently at the end but instead I was carrying weight. That weight, I now understand was me picking up pieces, or trying to, for other women, to help carry their burden. I pray they felt lighter, as hard as it is, I am honored to be allowed close enough to help.
I didn’t think any of it went wrong. It WAS perfect but not my perfect. I am okay with that now and can think of only slight adjustments to make the next retreat even better. I am drained, sick even. It took everything out of me to get through the weekend. I sit here today, Monday, in my bathrobe at 10:21, exhausted. I have never felt that much resistance, like something was physically holding me back and taking my voice.
I mentioned earlier that I felt naive. I know this was Gods plan, if I had known all the hard that would come with all the good, I might have shied away from portions or maybe even the whole retreat. I might not have ever taken a step. So I am thankful for my inability to foresee the hardness. I am thankful for all the encouragement I received before the retreat, thinking back on all of it helps me realize that I was being completely obedient and there’s not many times in my life that I can say that.
I am proud of this retreat. I am proud of the women who bravely came and stayed and opened up and acknowledge their walls and their stones and the life they crave on the other side and I pray so hard that they feel encouraged enough to get through all the crap to the abundant life God has waiting for them. If you came, and you at any point feel discouraged, know this weekend was a seed planted and the fruit is coming. The triumph is yours through Gods promise and it is coming.
If you are thinking about coming to a retreat, this may not be the marketing tool you were looking for, huh? Our lives are riddled with pain, and hard things, and fear. You can’t go around it, you can’t avoid it, you have to go through it and then, all of the sudden gray becomes color, shadows become sources of light, and we are empowered to do something about it, to never let the WELL + PLENTY life go again.
The non-emotional side of the retreat: The food was amazing, I impressed myself, which is really hard to do. It was healthy but so tasty and you could eat as much as you wanted without feeling guilty, that is the WELL + PLENTY mentality towards food. It served its purpose well there. My house morphed into they most beautiful of retreat centers. It was warm and inviting, cozy and well laid out, not to brag on myself but on the home that GOD KNEW THIS IS WHAT IT WOULD BE USED FOR. He knew!! My mind is blown how perfect this house is for this use. The women loved being loved on and I was on cloud 9 to get to do that. I needed nothing in return. Yoga was relaxing and beautiful. So yes the retreat was perfect, and I believe everyone enjoyed their time. Ministry is hard, changing is hard, being an advocate for change is hard, but loving on people isn’t. I enjoyed all of it, I’m thankful for the hard parts, it makes me feel like something changed for the women, they are different now then when they came, there was a shift for each one and that is what I prayed for. I may never know the full impact but that is ok, it rests securely in God’s hands and that is the best place for it.
To the women who came: Thank you, thank you, thank you. You inspire me, to step out of my comfort zone and do something good, hard but good, I have the motivation I need to get to the second retreat and the third and so on. This path is not lined with rainbows and tulips but thats ok, I don’t want it to be. I would rather it be lined with the action of change.