Women in Community

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It has been 13 years since I have been to a ladies retreat. I did not have good camp experiences when I was a child (to say the least) which is one reason why ladies retreats make me itch. I am also not a super frilly, scrap booking, crying kind of girly girl. It has often seemed like ladies retreats have catered to one type of lady and for a girl who so often feels like a square peg in a world of round holes and church being a community that should breed inclusiveness but often doesn’t, I had sworn off ladies retreats.
My best friend lives in a different city than I do and another close, lifelong friend also lives in a different city than I do, but both of them are connected to Young Life. They invited me to the ladies retreat- Young Life style and I hesitated, I checked and rechecked my schedule and didn’t commit until the very last minute.
I did have a sense of panic and “what have I done” the morning I was to leave but I talked myself through it and drove on. I definitely highly recommend if you are going to a retreat, and especially if you have retreat issues like me, go with a friend. Bring someone with you. I was meeting my friends here so that was covered and I did make new friends but I needed some security. That being said I need to highlight that this was the most welcoming, friendly and inclusive retreat I have ever been to. There of course are relational challenges because we are human but I felt like this is a tiny glimpse of how life is supposed to be. Where we all feel like we belong- even if, no scratch that- especially if your different.
We were celebrated for who we are and not judged or meant to feel like we should be fitting this perfect church lady mould. I didn’t cry and that was ok. There was no guilt or manipulation to try and get the reaction they wanted. It was like this amazing opportunity to come together and do life togther and have fun. If you were struggling then there was support but also a chance to celebrate our victories. I have never felt this way before in a group of church women in this capacity.
There were no radically life altering moments, no major revelations and I didn’t come home with a 7 step plan to change anything. I had an incredible time with friends in a beautiful place. I appreciated God and others and I felt they appreciated me. I didn’t have to cook or clean and yes I will fully confess I did paint, but it was because I wanted to and not because I was forced into some horrific Martha Stewart craft time.
I feel refreshed and especially excited about the possibilities for how communities of women can be. I am hopeful we will continue to move in this direction as we celebrate each other, lay down our expectations and judgments and walk together.

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