But really, why should women go on a retreat together?
We need each other.
Women were designed for relationship. We were created with a special bond and a unique understanding of emotions, hormones, and sleep deprivation. There is a longing in every woman's soul (yes, I dared to say EVERY) that can only be met by female companionship.
It can be very difficult to really get to know someone over coffee with busy toddlers playing in the background (who repeatedly come into the foreground). It is next to impossible to build anything beyond a surface connection when you are in the workforce. And while Bible study and other women's groups are good and important, the focus for that hour is based on a pre-planned agenda.
But at a retreat, there are many hours of down time, hanging out time, meal times, and bedtimes (which tend to be much later than usual). Even with an agenda and a schedule, the time afforded to us to simply get to know one another is beyond anything we can experience in the regular world.
Let us not give up meeting together...but let us encourage one another...
We need to come away with God.
Church on Sunday mornings is important. Same with Bible studies and small groups. We grow spiritually and build community during these times. But sometimes a girl needs more than an hour to sort out the spiritual messes in her heart. Every now and then, we need to remove all distractions and put our entire focus on God.
A retreat gives us numerous opportunities for deep, spiritual experiences. With each session we worship God through songs of praise. We are taught and fed the Word of God repeatedly over the course of the weekend. And there are countless hours to be spent in the quiet of His presence.
Come away, my love!
~Song of Solomon 8:14a (NLT)
We need to take time to rest.
Regardless of your current role - boss, employee, student, mother, wife, volunteer - you will eventually begin to experience the dreaded "burnout." It's practically inevitable. In our society, rest is considered laziness, so people go hard, go fast, and don't go home unless they have to. Certainly, men have a major burden to carry, but we women compete with one another in subtle ways to see who can win the race to becoming the first ever Superwoman.
Don't believe me? Ask 10 women "How are you?" today. I bet more than half of them will reply, "Busy!" like it's a badge of honor. I know I do.
Taking time away to recharge not only keeps burnout at bay, but it reminds us of the importance of rest. Leaving behind our day-to-day responsibilities for one weekend can be enough to refill us spiritually for an entire year!
Be at rest once more, O my soul...
For the past few years, I have had the privilege of taking a couple weekends away per year. You might wonder why my husband (and my mom) would willingly take on the feeding and watering of five children and a dog so frequently. It's because they (in particular my man and kiddos) reap the benefits of my spiritual revival! Each time I attend a retreat or a conference - even if I'm one of the planners and worker bees - I take away a fresh Word from God, a renewed sense of purpose, restored energy, and an extra shot of peace and joy.
Don't get me wrong - I am not chalking these weekends up to a "feel good" emotional experience. I suppose that it could be merely that for some people, but I go in with the expectation that God is going to do a new work in me, that He will stretch me and shape me, and that I will not simply "feel good" but that I will be transformed. Granted, I walk in the doors of the church every Sunday morning expecting God to speak - He always does, and I usually hear Him. But within an hour I'm plunged back into meeting the needs of my family.
A women's retreat gives time to soak it all in.
Think about it - when was the time you were able to simply soak in the presence of God and other women without your daily "to do" list hovering over your shoulder? Sounds glorious, doesn't it?!
What about you? Do you retreat? Why or why not?