Coming Apart BEFORE You Come Apart!

How to plan a retreat that rejuvenates!



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Take a moment to close your eyes and picture this in your mind:


A beautiful home on a quiet lakefront property, taking and making time for personal reflection while sitting on a private dock. The warmth of the sun wraps around you and makes the lake shine like diamonds. The gentle ripples of the water softly roll the direction that the cool breeze takes them until they lazily lap up against the shore.



OR


Maybe you would rather take a long walk with no other place to be or have any other demands for your time. Listen to the crisp leaves crunch under your footsteps on a cool autumn day with the sun highlighting a variety of seasonally colored leaves painted by the cooler temperatures and the morning frost.


OR


The time to enjoy being wrapped in a blanket while the end of the day is painted with the warm and gentle hues of a sunset in Fall. Imagine the smell of the firewood and the warmth of the dancing flames of a bonfire that softens everything around you, including hushed tones of conversation and the gentle laughter of new friends. The sound of the crickets singing to you as you sip your marshmallow topped hot cocoa, roast hot dogs and make smores.


Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?


Moments like these can cause us to take a deep breath with a sigh of longing that reminds us of the fast-paced lives we live. There doesn’t seem to be any time for the simple pleasures that would and could rejuvenate us. Many of our days are so jam-packed with things we have to do and the things we need to do that there is little or no time to do anything but to collapse at the end of the day. Tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that, we will start the whole cycle over until we are so spent, so defeated, or so overwhelmed that we are empty, having nothing good left to give and have lost ourselves. Brokenness and tears become the emotional release to express our desperate condition and frustration.


Sometimes, we have to COME APART or we will COME APART! But we have to be intentional about it because it won’t “just happen”.


So here is both the problem AND the solution! Finding the right opportunity and making the commitment to schedule and protect that commitment. Whether I am COMING APART by myself or with a group, these things will help me to make the most of it. This plan is for a group specifically designed to bless and rejuvenate ladies mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually!

  • Schedule the Plan:

Obviously, I cannot match up everyone’s schedules, so I make a plan and create invitations to get information to them far enough in advance so that they can set that time apart and make necessary arrangements at home!


A three to five day retreat is what I like to do with up to 20 women. A small group makes it easier to connect and get to know each other!

  • Know the Plan:

I like to anticipate the questions that I would want answered up front. This serves to eliminate overwhelm for them and help them to decide, plan, and prepare to COME APART. For example:


*Where is the retreat and how do I get there?

*What are the dates/times of departure/return?

*Will we carpool?

*How much does it cost and what does that cost include?

*How many people will be there?

*What do I need to bring?


  • Work the Plan


*Providing a map with the address of the retreat, my phone number, directions, estimated travel time, and estimated time of arrival and return. I also include other information if we are meeting to carpool.


*Meal Planning is essential and I like to know exactly what will be served and for how many for each meal so that I can accurately roll the food costs into the retreat cost. It is my joy to prepare as much as possible to serve them by relieving them from any kitchen duties, meal preparation or clean-up! However, I don’t refuse if anyone offers to help because sometimes the best conversations happen when we work together in the kitchen!


*Creating a loose schedule is very important so that it doesn’t fill their time so much that it isn’t much of a retreat and they leave more tired than when they came. I do not ask any of them to teach or speak, just to participate.


MORNINGS - I like to make opportunities for them to engage in devotions and optional teachings.


AFTERNOONS - is the only requirement I make of them for a corporate and encouraging praise and prayer time. There is still plenty of free time built in for reading books, taking bubble baths, or taking an occasional nap!


EVENINGS are free time reserved for fellowship, movies, conversations, snacks, bonfires, playing games, or whatever they would like to do!


I am reminded of one particular retreat that I had planned and praying for each one that I invited and the ones who were able to COME APART with me! When I planned this retreat I had no idea how much it would mean to me and to them, both then and now.

It was such a privilege to spend time with them and build new and deeper friendships! They shared the things that were weighing on them, lessons they had learned, and incredible stories from their lives that were painful, difficult, challenging, and uplifting! This time to COME APART BEFORE COMING APART helped to build new relationships on common and unique challenges that these women shared in their life roles. We shared an understanding and relatability towards each other and could pray for and encourage each other.

After we returned home, some of these ladies began to connect regularly for both fellowship and accountability. Some of them have developed deep and meaningful friendships that have enabled them to encourage and take care of each other in the hard things and losses they have gone through since then. But the memories that we made at that retreat were absolutely precious!

The sweetest things that I have learned about that time still warms my heart! Each of these women had their own place of need in their hearts but had denied themselves the time or the opportunity to be ministered to, and be refreshed and rejuvenated! Sometimes the greatest blessings come when we give to ourselves!


Take the time to Come Apart BEFORE You Come Apart!


You have 2 options to be proactive:

1) If you have been on a meaningful retreat, please feel free to share some of your best take-aways with me! Leave me a message: brenda@livingalovesong.com


OR


2) If you would be interested in joining the Lovesong Family for a retreat in the fall of 2022, please email me: brenda@livingalovesong.com




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