By Crystal Brandon, Christian House Baptist Chapel, Aliquippa, Pa.
The purpose of a retreat is for women to step away from the normal everyday hustle and bustle of life. It offers them a time of relaxation, fellowship, and most importantly, intimate time with the Lord. At Christian House, our ladies retreat annually in autumn. We are blessed to have a beautiful venue, Prayer Mountain, less than an hour from home, and we return there every year. It is situated in the midst of a scenic vista of rolling hills and colorful trees—you can feel God’s glory in His creation and His peace!
We assemble on Friday evening and depart on Sunday after worship. We begin our retreat with the evening meal, fellowship (giggles and hugs), and an outreach project. Every year we choose a different project. This is important because our role as Christians is to show others Christ’s love and grace, and to help those in need. This year we made “blessing bags” for the homeless in our area. We will keep the bags in our cars to hand out when we meet someone in need. The remainder of the retreat is filled with Bible study and breakout sessions, praise and worship, and lots of free time when the women are encouraged to have solitary time with God, to be still and feel His presence and listen to His voice. We also spend time bonding with one another. This year, for the first time, we invited women another congregation to join us. Needless to say, a lifelong sisterhood was forged, and we will be building on it in the future.
All of the attendees have a role: some prepare menu items, some teach, some serve on kitchen teams, some create pretty embellishments to add to the festive, feminine tone of the weekend. Everyone receives a “goodie bag” with an assortment of items, but everyone’s favorite is the custom-made hoodies that reflect the current retreat theme. I love designing them with the Spirit’s leading, from choosing the colors, graphics, and scripture passage! Before the weekend is over we capture a group picture with everyone wearing them. We have so much fun!
We all need time for rest and rejuvenation. It is so important to do this! I encourage you to plan a retreat for your ladies.
You can do it anytime of the year, and at different venues or at the same place–whatever works best for your group.