Joy writes ....
Years and years ago (2000-01) when I heard God say "open a place for women to go to just be" I will admit to you a couple things:
1) hearing God speak was new to me, it took me by surprise and filled me with fear and excitement at the same time.
2) I had no clue what this place should look like, and I researched as best as I could "retreat" centres. I found some pretty wacky stuff (to put it mildly) and I knew THAT was not what He was calling me to. (its funny when you know what something IS NOT but still don't know what it IS ..)
I did know what it meant to "just be" and I knew that well. I had come through a long deep depression, and then I lost my mom in 96 and my dad in 97. I had taken several retreat days at St. Ben's just outside of Winnipeg. I knew what I experienced there in the setting. I knew that was not what God wanted me to do - as it felt more "institutional" (likely because it was an institution). I was and still am very thankful for those spiritual retreat days that I took - sometimes just for the day - and often for a couple nights.
My walk with depression changed me. It also gave me a window into why it was good, and very necessary to "step out" of the hustle and bustle of life, and retreat. Or withdraw. I think this is why I love the Scripture passages where it is recorded that Jesus withdrew to a solitary place.
Check Luke 5:16; Matthew 14:13; Mark 1:35 for starters.
Jesus withdrew. He "stepped out of the traffic" as Eugene Petersen wrote in The Message, Psalm 46:10 and he went to a quiet, a solitary place ALONE to be with His Father.
Almost at our 2nd year anniversary with the ministry, it has been very interesting to see which ages are coming to retreat. My interaction with people my age (mid 50's) has been a mixed bag really - I find that with my age, people don't generally think of retreating anywhere, let alone going away and paying for a room for a night/day. Now that is a general statement only from my experience with people when talking about the ministry, as well as hosting. NOW THAT BEING SAID ... I have had some my age AND older. The oldest was 78. The day she came she said first thing, "I never thought I would ever be doing something like this" and there she was! One person told me that they thought it was not a good thing - to give young women the idea that they can forget about their life for a while. I said, "oh no, that's not it at all. It is about stepping out, about retreating for a short time, to allow God to renew, refresh and refuel!!" I am not sure if she bought it.
I have felt God place a very very tender spot in my heart for women my daughters ages - young women - young moms - single women - working women - not sure why exactly, perhaps it was because when I pastored for 7 and a half years, I interacted with younger women a lot, and realized how full their lives were - and how they ran, ran, ran SLEPT and then repeated it again.
I have to say that this is the predominant age that truly "gets" the importance of spiritual retreat, AND it is always a blessing when (if they are married) I have had some husbands calling and booking for their wives. THAT blesses me - I can only imagine how it blesses their wives, and their marriage.
I think that, like it is for anything new - doing it for the first time is a little scary, a little apprehensive, a little anxious. My thoughts go back to 2004 when our care group decided to book into St. Ben's for a day retreat. We went, had a devotional together and then each of us went to our own rooms - everyone split up and went singly to a room. Going into this day, I remember distinctly 4 people (3 men including my husband, and one woman) who were very very nervous. What would they do? What would God do with them and the time? Would it be weird? However at the end of the day - we all came to a consensus that the time of withdrawing to a solitary place to be with the LORD was such an amazing day!! We planned to do it again. Sad to say, it did not happen again. But it was in our thoughts.
Think of it. JESUS - the Son of God - needed to withdraw ALONE to a SOLITARY PLACE to be with His Father. WHY THEN do we not see the value for ourselves? Like I used to find, I hear the same comments here "The time went by too quickly - I wish I was staying for another day."
Whether it be an old monastery, or a new place such as ours - I don't think the place is the big thing - I think the BIG THING is the fact that you are intentionally choosing to step out of the hustle and into a quiet place to LISTEN, to REST, to PRAY, to JOURNAL, and come away RENEWED, REFUELED and REFRESHED.
Jesus needed to do it.
How much MORE do we!!
We are here - give us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or "LIKE" our Facebook Page WOMEN REFRESHED AT THE WELL
or pick up the phone and do it the old fashioned way with a phone call - 204-416-3531.
We are here - check us out - but more than that - make time to retreat!! You will not regret it!