Women’s Retreat Reflections 2017

Every year, we are pleasantly surprised with the way God moves in the hearts of the ladies at the Women’s Retreat. Here are a few reflections from the weekend by a few ladies:

Life is busy. As a mum of little ones, I’ve never been so busy in my life. There’s never enough time, and always too much to do. That’s why I went to the women’s retreat. It’s a way to make space for God in my life, and connect with my community. 

“I didn’t have big expectations for the weekend. In fact, my entire thoughts could be summed up as “Time without kids!!!” This year’s theme was “Come as you are”, and that sounded pretty awesome to me, especially without much mental space to prepare myself for time with God. I’m very thankful for the team who did the planning and preparation for me! 

“But the thing about God is that if you give Him an inch, sometimes He waltzes in and grabs a mile. That’s what happened to me. In His infinitely gentle and patient way, God took the time and space we all created at the retreat, and broke some of the walls I created between myself and my pain. It started with another’s loss, and a hug from a friend, and moved into ugly messy tears. The awkward, noisy kind. (And I don’t like making any sort of a scene!) But when I looked up, I was surprised and humbled to see a circle of friends surrounding me, in love and prayer – and Kleenex. I’ve never felt so enfolded in compassion. As I calmed somewhat, these dear women prayed for and over me, and then tendered God’s invitation for me: “you have to feel it”. I had more to grieve. And so, surrounded, supported, and held up, in the midst of my circle, I was safe enough to let God excavate pockets of hurt in my life that I hadn’t been able to expose and remove before. 

“For those of you who surrounded me, thank you. 

“For those who quietly prayed outside the circle, thank you. 

“For those who talked to me after, and told me I was noticed, thank you. 

“For those who simply sat near and made space for me, for the awkward, uncomfortable, ugly crying, thank you. 

“I was asked that night where Jesus was in this, and I didn’t know. I couldn’t see him. But I see him there now. He was in each of the women present, over and above us all, orchestrating healing and grace. I came as I was, but I didn’t leave the same as I came. Thanks be to God!

~ Sara Epp

I would like to share with you a few images I took of the weekend. Photography is such a healing thing for me. When I have no words, I seem to be able to express my thoughts or the awe of God through capturing images. I call it the ministry of photography.

This weekend I was really blown away with God’s beauty in His creation. Not meaning only nature, but His daughters and His precious ones in whom He delights as well. 

Thank you to the Rademakers for making available the platform with which I was able to see and experience God.

~ Vanessa Lewis

Women’s Retreat Survey & Reflections

While the weekend at Clearwater Bay is still fresh on your memories, please share with us any exciting stories, or God moments, or any reflections you may have had from the Women’s Retreat. Whether it be a sweet moment during a session, any revelation from our Father, even a goofy moment with friends.

We’d love to hear your stories!

Women’s Retreat Reflection

The Women’s Retreat impacted so many. Here’s a reflection from the weekend by Janelle Hacault:

“The women’s retreat was a catalyst in bringing me back to where God is calling me. I feel that it came at the perfect time when I was open to God’s voice and He met me there. I LOVED connecting with the incredible women of our church. Wow, I was so encouraged by their vulnerability in sharing their stories, their bravery in reaching out to others, and their courage in trying new things.

I’m still blessed by the goodie bag that greeted me the day I arrived! As a tea-granny-at-heart, the china tea cup, chai tea and the personal note of love really set the tone for me.

The prayer tent was fantastic and reminded me how powerful prayer is and how much I love intercessory prayer. Having so much free time was a huge huge huge thing for me. Our lives are so overstimulated, bombarded, and busy that having the time and space to just be still in such a beautiful environment made all the difference.

The worship and everyone’s openness really blessed me. I can’t put into words how pivotal and precious the retreat was for me. I cannot believe it’s taken me 13 years to finally come! Oh my!

I just love our church!”

~ Janelle ~

Healing in the Waves – a story from the Women’s retreat

This is a submission from Janet Blatz:

I love the water. I love sitting on the beach watching the waves form with such great gusto and roll in to meet the sand and then disappear like a whisper. Watching the waves come and then go over and over makes my soul very happy and at peace. However leading up to the Ladies retreat my soul felt like it wasn’t watching the waves from the shoreline but instead it was being crashed by the endless waves in the middle of the ocean; waves of stress, waves of worries and waves of grief and Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 2.49.36 PMI felt like I was drowning. Just like waves in an ocean, these waves of thoughts and emotions at times had more power than other times but the impact of them still can tire a person over time.

It was for this reason I was looking forward to the retreat – I thought maybe a change of setting and schedule could bring relief and rest to a tired soul. The soothing of the soul didn’t come from resting in nature like I thought.  It came in when I found myself painting during a session; it came when I was prayed for during the Saturday prayer time; it came while swimming in the lake late one night.

Has my soul been totally healed?  No.  I was reminded over the weekend that my circumstances may not ever change, however, if I change my focus from trying survive the waves (or even question why I am facing those waves) to the Creator of the waves, healing will happen. Letting go of old ways of dealing with stress, of worrying, of grieving is hard but trying to continue to embrace for the impact of those waves again and again is harder.  When I choose to seek the Creator, instead of embracing for the next wave, a little part of my soul finds itself on the shoreline, sitting and watching the waves that once caused so much pain and anguish, slowly roll in and disappears without disturbing the peace.

~ Janet

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Women’s Retreat 2016 (+ new note from Amanda)

By all accounts, it was a great time!

Here’s a note from Amanda Leighton:

Hi Women Retreaters,

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 5.32.24 PMI just wanted to take a few minutes to acknowledge some things I noticed this weekend…..

First of all.  Those gift bags were such a blessing.  That someone handpicked the teacups and wrote out individual notes was such a gift to us.  I personally saw the significance in the things in my bag, including the colouring page!  So thank you for giving the time and thought to each woman, and that, upon arrival, we would already being receiving the richness of our community’s love.  

I am also just over the top grateful for the use of the physical space and I think it’s safe to say that we all were blessed by John, Violet, Lillian, Darryl and Robin.  I know we wrote them notes so they can just read those for further gratefulness and loving!  

I also have really reflected on those of you who took special care of Lindsey.  Thank you to those of you who were willing to just sit and be present to her.  The love of this community is really something.  

Another thing that I loved was that there were youth among us.  That just brought such a wonderful dynamic that, until now, we’ve been missing at these retreats.  So thank you for coming and thank you to the parents who encouraged and brought their kids.  It will be hard to forget seeing the circle of dancers that included both the youngest and the eldest doing that hip arm dance combo.  Such a beautiful (and hilarious) picture.  

The laughter this weekend was equally unforgettable.  and the tears.

It is just really wonderful to be a part of this amazing community of women. So rich.    

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  

Love, Amanda

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Missing: Melody Schellenberg & Ang Falk

Do you have a story you’d like to share about something from the retreat?  Let us know or use the comment section below!

(Click on the pics to enlarge them)