A couple of weekends ago I was blessed to be able to attend the ladies retreat, put on by our church. It was really the first time I had ever been presented with that type of opportunity. In high school I would participate in teen activities, in college I did a lot of church activities with friends but never such an intergenerational event as this.
My friend Jennifer and I drove up to Flat Rock after work on a Friday night, enjoying the mountain view as we went. Bonclarken Conference Center was our destination and after a couple of wrong turns and mistakenly walking in on a different ladies retreat (what are the odds?) we made it in time for dinner. The facility was beautiful and we were blessed with perfect enjoy-the-outdoors weather
Here are a couple of photos of the buildings.
This is one of the buildings near ours. We didn't use it, but I thought it was pretty.
This is the entry to the eating hall
Down these stairs and to the right was the conference area where we all met for lessons
This is the building where all of the rooms were. We were on the second floor.
The theme of the weekend was Cozy Mountain Lodge which was about encouraging us to be comfy and making an effort at relaxing while we were there. After dinner, we began our study on the book of Ruth. We discussed the foundation of the lives of both Ruth and Naomi, comparing and contrasting it to ours. Throughout the weekend we dove deeper into their personal struggles as well as the trials they had to overcome, both as a family, and individually. We were put into groups of four and I was blessed to get to know 3 sweet women I had never met at church. That was what I had been the most excited about before this retreat: although our church only has about 400 members, I have not even come close to meeting all of the women. I was excited about the opportunity to get to know more of my church family.
A friend of ours, Sarah Gray, was our third roommate, and after the first few lessons Friday night, we all made our way to our rooms.
Saturday morning was breakfast and then straight into the day's lessons. We changed groups that afternoon and I got to know 2 other ladies. There was an intentional focus on relationships, both old and new. The speakers were all ladies from church so that enabled us to all learn about even more women through the lessons they led. It was a lot of study in a short amount of time. The whole thing was over at 4:00 Saturday so there wasn't a lot of time to dilly dally. Luckily we did get some time after lunch to enjoy the outdoors.
About 1/4 mile away from the buildings there was a nice pond and a little boat shed area. Below are photos of the pond and the colorful kayaks I would have loved to have pulled out.
I was feeling really blessed to be able to attend this retreat and felt even more so afterward. The women I met and the already-established relationships that I grew that weekend were so uplifting and encouraging. This is an annual thing at Holland Park and I hope to be able to attend next year. Not for the amazing biblical insights gained or the spectacular location, but for the time to stop and focus solely on growing closer to sisters in Christ and loving one another on a level I often overlook in my day to day repetitiveness. I am thankful for the simplicity as well as the complexity of opportunities like these.