Why Go On A Women's Retreat?
I’ve told my friends, I don’t really go to retreats to get sleep - although some manage to. Mostly, it’s a much needed break from the usual routine, a time to gain a sense of renewal - renewing old friendships, finding new ones, and recharging our intimacy with the Lord.
A while ago, I did something I had never done before: I hired professional housekeepers for a half-day of deep cleaning. It was expensive, it took them longer than they expected (a little embarrassing) and I could only afford to pay them to do the bathrooms and kitchen!
My house sparkled, believe me, and even though Mark couldn’t quite figure out why I was willing to work sixteen hours to pay them for five hours, it was totally worth it! And the neat thing was that, with the deep cleaning accomplished, I was motivated to keep at it... at least until the check cleared. And it was easier to maintain the shine because it had been cleaned to the bone.
Maybe a women’s retreat is like that one time deep cleaning: It’s expensive. You have to leave the house. There’s a commitment made to let someone else do some heavy-duty scrubbing. You have to make yourself vulnerable. But once it’s done, you sit back and relax and enjoy the new spotless surfaces and dusted corners.
When we go home from a retreat, shiny and rested and dusted - renewed in mind and spirit, closer to one another and to God, we can more easily maintain the deep clean; we’re motivated to keep short accounts, we notice more quickly that we’ve sinned – we want to wipe up that spill quickly (because we will spill) before it creates layers of grime and guilt.
I know I don’t see the dirt after it’s been there a while. It takes a visit from my sister-in-law to help me see it - she always scrubs the outside of my white cupboards whenever she comes and I’m always taken by surprise: “Wow, there she goes again, I hadn’t noticed!”
A retreat is for deep cleaning. It can help us see the grime and grease that needs removing. And we are supported by sisters to help us do that deep scrubbing. And when we go home, it’ll be easier to maintain that pure relationship with God and others.
Why go on a women’s retreat? To grow closer to God alongside a sister who needs some deep cleaning, too.