It is not the first time, and hopefully not the last time either, that Sheridan Voysey wrote some wise words:
” I’ve found that a small retreat is often disproportionately more powerful for attendees.
I pray it’s a powerful retreat and that God meets every person in a unique and powerful way!”
This was in an email from a couple of months ago, and all I can say is we found it three times over to be true.
Here a selection of comments, art, and photos from those who came to the three small retreats. Enjoy and feel blessed with me for God’s goodness!
Comments from attendees:
- I loved gaining a new tool for journaling.
- It was a nurturing time.
- There was a nice atmosphere with no pressure and no stress.
- It was nice to have a variety of time alone and time together.
- I was greatly encouraged to write again.
- I love your way of doing things, your personality, creativity.
- I liked how we could share with each other.
- It was fancy!
- The accommodations were very inviting, very welcoming.
- I enjoyed the warm water well a lot, but I also felt like it broke the silence a little bit. I think you were sensitive to that and allowed us more silence the next day to make up for it.
Some art from attendees:
- Herman used part of his contemplative writing time for this pen art: a candle with long-lasting smoke, representative of an experience with a long-lasting impact.
Contemplative Bible Copying: The response that Lisa gave was, “I did not think it would be this powerful. I sometimes just had to stop because the words really touched me deeply.”
The combination of writing and silence that we used during the retreat, where Fanny Benitez was our guest, was really appreciated.
Fanny gave us some tools to write our own psalms. Here is what Linda, a mother and foster parent of three small children, came up with. She read it out loud for us, and we sensed that she had put her soul into it.
“I feel your love surrounding me as I walk through the desert,
the dry and parched land crying out for water.
Streams come forth out of the depths of the earth, and we are satisfied.
But, why must we wait so long to see it come, and be satisfied?
Our hearts ache for refreshment, and our souls are thirsty for more.
As we wait, we see the faithfulness and goodness of the Father,
providing what we need at the right time.
But, why must we wait so long?
Day in and day out, we call upon Him who can provide the answers,
refresh our weary souls.
Day in and day out—where are you, dear Father?
Then, suddenly, we see in the little things: He is faithful.
Suddenly, we feel that a trickle of faith is beginning to flow;
suddenly, we feel the refreshment in our souls,
only for a moment, washing over us,
our eyes open, and we see the wonders in your creation,
your great and mighty deeds.
We see how you are faithful day in and day out: you are here.
Great and mighty God, King of the Universe, Lord of all,
I lift my hands to you. I lift my voice to you in Praise,
and I will honor you and glorify your name forever more.
You are my God in whom I trust.
I will worship you always, for you are good.
You are good, my God in whom I trust—you are faithful, and you are good.”
Linda G. Germany
I often wondered why I have this amount of energy and love for organizing things, creating something new, making a home, and yet a desire for solitude and silence and writing. It is a bit of an odd, bipolar combination. In organizing these weekends, I started to understand the answer. A certain level of energy is no problem, being a mom of four and moving around as a family.
Never, so far, have I felt something as a better fit for me (except for motherhood in our -never a dull moment- family life). I love to give, to serve, to be hospitable. I am a team player, and I am the happiest when I am able to make people at home, see their needs, and try to fulfil them (yes, I am an enormous pleaser, and in this situation, it is a gift)
I love creativity, the simple life, local food, and beauty. And, it all has a place within the retreats. It is very satisfying to see people go home so thankful—as if the Creator is giving His stamp and blessing over it all as we do His will.
When I came home from our latest retreat, I felt overwhelmed with God’s goodness—how He has been unfolding this dream from long ago. Then, when I did the laundry again and checked my email, I found this one:
The weekend was the best weekend away that I have ever had, I think.
I want to do something like that yearly. I still feel very rested and peaceful.
Love and greetings,
I feel humbled by so much trust from everyone who came. May God continue to bless us all and keep finding rest in His heart. I pray that these retreats for all who attend may be of a long-lasting impact.
And yes, I am hosting another retreat this autumn. Let me know if you are interested.
The date is: 26- 29 October 2018
And the theme is: Be of good courage.
We bring writers into a quiet, contemplative setting. We also want to give people who are looking for a time of quiet, writing as a tool for contemplation.
When there are six people we will go. So, feel free to come with a friend or somebody you know might benefit from it. There is also room for couples.
The money we receive for these retreats goes straight into the school-fund for our three teenage girls. But, if the price is a struggle, let me know and we can see if there is some solution for that.
If you would like to get an update, visit Thirdplaceretreats.com and sign up here to be on the email list.
Warm greetings, Janneke Huisman.
P.s. Here is a link to Fanny’s blog and her reflection about this weekend. Yes, she blogs in Spanish, but you can easily translate it.