10 March, 2012

Take heart

The retreat was great. But haven't I already said that? Let me see if I can figure out why it was so great.

1. The speaker was really good. I think her brilliance was in the simplicity of the message. The four sessions were based on one verse, John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

  • Session one: In Me you may have peace – remembering that Jesus promised to be with the disciples and us also, that he will never leave us alone.
  • Session two: You will have trouble - during which we reflected on our collective trouble of March 11 last year and the resulting events, but also the various individual troubles that each of us carries with us or encounters.
  • Session three: Take heart – remembering times in the Bible when all the odds seemed against the person/people concerned, yet God came through.
  • Session four: I have overcome the World – in which we were reminded of many promises and truths, reminding us that we can have freedom from judgement, defeat, discouragement and fear.
2. The programme was uncluttered. Allowing time to rest, to get to know people, to catch-up with others, and to pray, read our Bibles etc. One special hour was after breakfast on Thursday which was designated a "Quiet Hour" when we were to not talk with others, but spend time with the Lord. I loved using that to reflect on what we'd been already given during the first session and ponder where we might head with the retreat's key verse. 
View from my room, the chapel is on the left and the other
accommodation building on the right.

3. The location was centralised. Previously we've been in a location that had us scattered over rooms in on a steep mountainside. Not only did you feel like a mountain goat, it had the effect of making it hard to "accidentally" run into people and therefore potentially a lonely time, particularly during the "free time".

4. I had a great bunch of ladies in the car with me to and from retreat. We had so much fun. That alone extended the retreat about six hours!

Fun and fellowship around a fire, my boys would
be so jealous. Us non-Americans were also
introduced to the cultural phenomenon of
I tried to relax and just be me. You might find that a funny thing for Wendy to say. However fun this extrovert usually finds these retreats, I am a little shy and do struggle a bit with crowds of people who all seem to know everyone else. After a year of struggling with being comfortable in my skin and with who I am, I was able to relax and enjoy being me. I had many enjoyable encounters and many affirmations that I am okay just the way I am, without striving to fix this or that bit of me. Add to that the quiet whisper of Christ saying, 
Take Heart my beloved, you will have troubles, but I have overcome the world. And nothing can separate you from me, nothing is too big for me to handle. And, by the way, I am bigger than any mess-up you can possibly manage. 

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