Tuesday, July 11, 2017

WEEKEND|REFRESH WORDS


It's now been a month and a half since our glorious Weekend Refresh Retreat.  I've wanted to write about it so many times, but I haven't quite known what to say.  I think I needed some time and the perspective that comes with that, but still am just having a hard to even put into words the experience of the weekend.

We laughed, we cried, we ate, we drank, we learned, we reflected, we stand-up paddle boarded, we shared beds and bathrooms and space and life.  It felt kind of sacred.

I think as I started planning the retreat, I realized how much of a need there is for women in this season of life to have some space carved out for them.  We are weary and usually taking care of everyone except ourselves.  A traditional conference, though away from kids and life, doesn't really allow the space for decompression and reflection and rest.  I wanted to create that space for these women, and allow them to simply show up and receive.  I wanted them to be surrounded by beauty, support, and encouragement.  

I could literally feel people exhale over the weekend.  Looking back over the photos, eyes got brighter, smiles got bigger, people sat closer together.  A sense of aliveness and clarity just swept through everyone.

While I still struggle with putting my own words to the retreat, I thought maybe the women's words would be a truer description.  These are from an anonymous survey I sent out post-retreat, and quite frankly blew me away.


I loved connecting with so many different women.  I loved the smaller size of it, how we were able to meld together so wonderfully and deepen relationships.  I loved how honest and open all the women were - what an amazing group of strong women that gathered! 

I loved the workshop + time to reflect.  It really really really helped me understand myself in a way that gave me strength and courage I so desperately needed right now.  And I feel like the quiet time and strength has lasted...I'm still able to come to a place of knowing that I can and will succeed through my daily challenges.
 

This was exactly what I wanted...a retreat with Christian women that was more intimate, more vulnerable, easier to make solid new relationships and build on the old ones, more fun and less scheduled, but still left me with my bucket and my toolbox filled.  
 

Just an overwhelming feeling of gratitude!  You wouldn't believe me if I told you how many people I have raved about this to or how many conversations have continued about core values, taking time to rest, etc.  It was truly life-giving and felt like a true gift.


When I asked the women to describe the retreat in one word, here's what they said:
Valuable 
Amazing 
Centering 
Refreshing 
Life-Giving


If, at the beginning of all the planning, I had written out my hopes for the retreat, these would have been my words.  Verbatim.  What started as a tiny little thought, grew into this amazing thing that impacted these women for the better.  I am so humbled and thankful every time I think about it.  It was so worth it.  



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