We had a great retreat and I think it may even have been one of the best ones we have done. I’ll definitely be using the theme of trees again in the future with another group of people as the sessions seem to be very powerful for people and the metaphors of roots, trunk, branches and fruit were helpful for allowing people to rediscover where they were with God, and allow God to rediscover them.
The feelings were mixed as this will be my last retreat with YFC people. Those of you who pop in here … thanks loads for the way you co-operated over the last few days as without that the retreat could have crashed and burned in so many ways.
Out of all the sessions, for me one of the most enjoyable was the communion on the last morning put together by Phil to consider our fruits of the Spirit and shown in the photo. On either side of the bread and wine we set up nine fruits to symbolise the fruits of the spirit. The idea was that people took and ate the fruits that they specifically wanted God to develop more of in them as well as offer fruits to others along similar lines based on prayer times and conversations had during the retreat. This was a unique mix of a powerful time with a lot of humour and laughter.
Personally I was struck by two comments made by particular people on the retreat. One was ‘I know God loves me … but how does God know that I love him?’ That was an amazing question and one that I really thought on for the rest of the day. As I considered my life I came to the conclusion that there was not a lot to show that love I have, and quite a lot, actually, that could give the impression that my love was minimal.
I could argue it shows through the job and tasks that I do, but actually I get paid for them – so where are my gifts to God, those extra things I do, or say or think that show my God that I love him?
Another comment came form another great person on the retreat who was relfecting on her journey. The comment went something like ‘how did i get where I am today – the last time I looked i was 14 … now I’m 24 and directing a YFC centre!’
As soon as those words appeared I could relate 100%. As I look back, it does actually quite shock me to see where I am, where I have come from and where I seem to be being called to. I look back and I see nothing but sheer privilege there has been to srve God and others. As I looked back God seemed to be reminding me of how he had supported me in the past through seemingly impossible circumstances. Through that God seemed to be saying ‘remain faithful, I will be supporting you on this next stage even if it does seem pretty hairy!’
The retreat ws a great time away. It enabled me to regain a little bit of perspective and every conversation I had I felt privilege to be a part of.
You can see the other retreat photos on my Flickr here.