Monday

4 Reasons Why We Need Womens Retreats AND an Invitation

This summer, what could be better than time away? How about time away to rest, reflect, learn, worship, and fellowship with other women at a women's retreat? Summer is the perfect time to gather with other women for spiritual refreshment, but there are also a hundred reasons not to go.

“I can’t be gone for a whole weekend. Who will take the kids to soccer?” 

“My husband hates it when I’m gone. It’s not worth the hassle.” 

“It’s out of my comfort zone and a little scary.” 

Some years the voices win out, and we stay home. Later, when we hear the glowing reports about how wonderful it was, we feel a pang of regret, but it doesn’t last long. “Oh well,” we say, “maybe next year.” Other times we make the extra effort, and we’re the ones sharing happy stories and telling how glad we are that we attended. 

I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years, and I’m a firm believer in women’s retreats. Here are a few reasons why, with accompanying reinforcement from Scripture. 

Why We Need Women’s Retreats: 

1. Because it’s hard to hear God’s voice above the noise of everyday life. When was the last time you sat before God without a To Do list hanging over you, a pile of laundry the size of Texas Stadium in the background, or family members pressing in on all sides? If you can’t remember, you need to attend a retreat. 

“To retreat” means leaving our normally occupied positions and going to a place of safety, quiet, and seclusion. By attending a retreat, we physically remove ourselves from life’s distractions, the call of chores, and the demands of people in order to make space for God.

If you think you’re less spiritual because you struggle to hear from God over the cacophony of your daily life, be encouraged. Even Jesus recognized the value and need to get away.  

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). 

Jesus retreated. 

2. Because we need each other. Faith is contagious. Just like a virulent virus, it passes from person to person through close contact. Today’s busy world allows little time for women to share faith stories, pray together, and hear biblical messages written with them in mind. As we consider and apply God’s Word together, we learn from each others' varied backgrounds, experiences, and insights. The better we understand God, the stronger our faith becomes. Then we can strengthen others. Hearing other women’s testimonies about God’s faithfulness helps me realize that God will also take care of me. Hebrews 10:25 spotlights the value of mutual encouragement and warns us not to neglect corporate worship: “ Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” 

 3. Because meeting together spurs us on to “love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). The Greek word for “spur on” is paroxusmus, which means to stir someone up. It has negative connotations, such as stirring up disagreement, but in this passage, it underscores the fact that meeting together as believers helps us love and serve God and each other better. 

4. Standing side by side with our sisters in Christ and worshiping, praying, and learning about our precious Savior makes us stronger. When I join a group of women singing praise songs to God, I experience a taste of what Heaven’s going to be like when we’re gathered around his throne. When I sit with my sisters and open God’s Word, the insights I gain as we study together add weight and credence to its truth. When I pray for others, and they pray for me, I know I’m not alone, no matter how heavy my burden is. Some years their faith strengthens me, and other years my faith strengthens them. Together we bear each others' burdens. 

For these and many other reasons, I place a high priority on women’s retreats. 

When my children were young, it took a great deal of planning and preparation to be leave my family. I’d prepare meals in advance, swap carpool duties, and cash in spend-the-night favors. Some years were financially challenging, and I had to find creative ways to finance my getaways. I’d save my birthday money, squirrel away coupon savings, or apply for scholarships. Other years I’ve struggled spiritually and had to push myself to go when I didn’t want to. I’d invite a friend to join me so I couldn’t back out or commit to carpool with friends. 

On every occasion, I returned refreshed, strengthened, inspired, and closer to the Lord and my sisters in Christ. I’ve never regretted attending a retreat, but I’ve often regretted not attending. 

One of my favorite parts of ministry is not just attending women's retreats, but leading them. This summer, I'll be leading a one day seminar at Good Shepherd UM Parish in northwestern Pennsylvania on Saturday, July 14, 2018. 

I'd love, love, LOVE for you to join us if you're anywhere nearby. Two years ago I met readers from Delaware, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in this same location -- how fun was that? We got to learn, worship, and pray together. It was a day-long glimpse of what heaven's going to be like when we're all together. If you're too far away, I'd love to work with your church's women's ministry to put together a one-day or weekend retreat or special women's event. Click on the Speaking Ministry tab to contact me.

Here are all the details about Today You Have Two Choices:

What: One-Day Ladies Seminar
Where:  Brookville, Pennsylvania
When: July 14, 2018
Cost: $35, which includes lunch and a prayer journal
Cost Saver deadline: June 15
How to Register: Contact Kathy Shaffer (814-328-2034)
klshaffer63@windstream.net
gsumc@windstream.net

Three Fantastic Sessions:

Session 1 - Today You Have Two Choices: 
Grumbling or Gratitude
In this hilarious session, Lori shares a story from her life that demonstrates how life can go from cruising to crashing in an instant. We'll examine the two options that usually accompany a crash and see what God's Word (and modern-day research) have to say about them.

Session 2 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Bitterness or Forgiveness
Bitterness, it's said, is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. We know it's destructive, yet we often struggle to overcome it. Sometimes we're not even sure we want to. In this powerful session, we'll study two women who made two very different choices, learn from their examples (good and bad), and discover what God can do when we surrender our bitterness to Him.

Session 3 - Today You Have Two Choices:
Fear or Faith
Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it's impossible to please God," yet it's often easier said than done. When the circumstances of life hit us hard, fear often becomes our default setting. How can we resist fear and choose faith instead? Practical and personal, this workshop will lift your eyes beyond your circumstances to see what God can do if you commit your life to wholly trusting Him. This session includes a simple yet profound method to make your Bible reading come alive.
Melissa Sylvis will lead us in worship. 

When you register, please let me know so I can look forward to meeting you!