Please Come In: A Retreat Story

Last month we got to enjoy the backstory of how Kathleen and her group got connected. Today we are thrilled to hear a bit more as she shares her group’s experience of recently going through the Temple: My Heart. God’s Home Retreat.

We had so many plans. For example, we wanted everyone from our last year’s Velvet Ashes Retreat to finally meet in person. I have this idea of taking turns to meet in each other’s homes, getting to know each other’s field. This year the retreat location was Moira’s house, in North Africa.

For some of us the airfare would be cheaper than the cost of the train to get to the airport. For all of us, there was a longing to gather in person as we had grown deeper in our friendships during this past year of Zoom-coffees.

But then the war broke out.

For Heather (once again not her name, not even matching the last blogpost), this meant she was going nowhere. Instead, a rather large group of Ukrainian refugees would come to her house to sleep, eat and recover for what had been a thirty-hour hike over the border into Hungary. Heather and her husband and their children have had a wonderful time hosting these refugees, who after sleeping awhile would be up and helping to clean, helping to cook and even bought a birthday cake for Heather’s husband. The war also meant that Heather would not be flying in for our group gathering. Instead, she would find the one available space, with Wi-Fi, to join us online. Heather would zoom in from a closet.

The war also meant that Beth would be helping her husband deliver medical supplies to the Polish border, instead of flying in to meet for the Retreat. So, our little Velvet Ashes Retreat 2022 became a hybrid group. Some of us in North Africa in person, and some of us praying our tech worked remotely.

Still, there are few things funnier than face masks and spa moments over Zoom, and this year’s Retreat theme, the teaching on Solomon’s Temple, taught us the importance of connecting, laughing, sharing news with each other in the Outer Court, going deeper in Scripture and understanding the purpose of cleansing and preparation to meet with our Lord in the Inner Court.   

For me, one of the highlights of the Retreat teaching was the video that told of how the cherubim stood at the entrance of the garden to keep Adam and Eve out. I had never seen the connection with the Temple layout. The cherubim guarded the garden.

The video went on to explain that the ancient Temple we were studying had cherubim at its entrance, but through following the story told by the Temple the cherubim were now ushering us in. The idea that what once kept us out now stood at the entrance of the court of the temple; we were more than welcome. It was during this video I felt a “Please come in” moment. Please come and explore this Temple story.

Through the Retreat videos we learned about the inner chamber of the Temple. We took a breath and shared our longings before our Lord, before each other. It surprised us at just how deep we could go in our friendship and sisterhood in Jesus, our Savior. Could we really share at this level?

Yes we could, but it was only the start. We learned the importance of preparing our hearts and minds in these outer courts before deep diving into the Holy of Holies. Now we were quiet before our Lord.

Many of us have considered that these retreats are for rest and restoration from the trials and traumas of our lives overseas, or what’s happening in our world, but in this retreat we found that there is more. It is in these retreats that transformation happens. This was the field, the sacred space, in which battles in our mind are won.

We decided not to rush this part. We have given ourselves a few days to ponder, watch the last video, read the closing remarks. This coming Saturday I’m putting on the last of my North African coffee and baking my favorite American blueberry muffins. We’re all back in our primary locations, and we’re zooming in for our closing part of the retreat.

Next year?

Well, we have this little idea of all of us heading in to Hungary.

But you just never know.

If you have done the 2022 Online Retreat, what stuck out to you? What invitations did you sense?

It’s not too late to experience this lifegiving Retreat! Everything is ready for you, downloadable or printable to fit your needs. Gather some friends or find a quiet corner (or even a closet) to spend some time with God. Learn more HERE.

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