Last month, Mission Leaders Jaclyn and Becca and Women's Supervisor Andrea Prisby put together a new women's retreat from scratch entitled "Allure." This title comes from Hosea 2:16, which says, "so I shall allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart," which came to Jaclyn in prayer when discerning what the Lord's plan for this retreat might be.
Using the story illustrated in Hosea 2, this theme was broken into three parts: the allure of the world and how we pursue it, the allure of the Lord and how He pursues us, and how we can respond to them with either reception or resistance.
The retreat began on a Friday evening and lasted until Saturday night, and took place at the White House Retreat Center in Flagstaff, AZ. Five participants came in addition to the three staff. This resulted in an environment that felt safe and intimate.
The Allure of the World
After dinner together Friday night, Jaclyn started things off with her talk on the allure of the world.
The world is full of good things, all fighting for our attention, she explained. As Matt Maher sings in his song Sing Over Your Children, we tend to "flirt with the world," which steals our love for God. While these things that allure us are not bad in themselves, we can only go so far in our pursuit of them before we do so at the Lord's expense.
Listen to Jaclyn's Talk here:
This talk was followed immediately with the opportunity for personal prayer, to open a door for the Lord to speak to the hearts of the women about how the subject material pertained to their individual lives.
After prayer time, the girls got together and painted their nails, bonding in a way women only can in the secure company of other women. They continued to discuss the allure of the world and process the fruits of their prayer time, and closed the night by chanting night prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours.
The Allure of the Lord
The next morning the girls had the opportunity to go to Mass and confession. It was the perfect way for them to start the day. When they returned, chocolate chip pumpkin pancakes awaited them! With hearts and stomachs full, they gathered for the second talk: the allure of the Lord.
This talk was given by Becca, and spoke about the heart of women and the particular way in which the Lord wishes to quench its desires. All things of the world are a gift from God, but if they do not point back to Him, they will not satisfy. Therefore He will stop at nothing until He wins His beloved over, even if that means allowing her to suffer the loss of her worldly loves so that she can accept His love.
Listen to Becca's talk here:
Immediately following this talk, the women partook in an hour of grand silence, in which they prayed. At noon they came back together for lunch and then had a few hours of free time. This allowed them to feel rested, not rushed by scheduled activities. Without any direction, most of the women chose to spend the bulk of their free time in upbuilding conversation with one another.
Responding to the Allure
Andrea gave the third and final talk on how to discern when an allure is from the world or the Lord, and the decision we must make to either receive or resist it. Choosing to receive Him requires a purification of our desires, and the Lord is constantly leading us humbly and patiently through that process of breaking down the walls we've built around our hearts.
Listen to Andrea's talk here:
With this in mind, they took more time to pray, after which Jaclyn led them in praise and worship. Then they celebrated the opening of the Lord's Day with dinner, where they shared their experiences. God had done a lot in them that weekend. After a group picture, they returned to campus, refreshed and renewed.