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