Overcoming addiction and abuse can be emotionally and mentally draining for the women in our yearlong New Life Ministries Recovery Program.
One way to encourage our women and children and offer space for further healing is to pack everyone up and take them on a retreat! Thanks to the hospitality of 5Rock Ranch, 41 women and children from Shepherd’s Door spent a refreshing week interacting with nature, experiencing God’s love, and healing from the past.
While the Shepherd’s Door facility underwent renovation, the women and children enjoyed important moments of drawing closer to God and each other. Filled with rain and laughter, hikes and art-projects, prayer and heart-deep conversation, the rustic retreat provided a welcome change of pace, place and perspective.
The discussions during the week were “concentrated around their identity in Christ,” said Director of Women and Children’s Ministries Christine Ourada. “The women are having breakthroughs.”
Many of them are continuing to encounter the love God has for them. One of the women, Kim, said she sensed God asking her to let go of everything she is holding on to. She said He told her, “Trust me, just trust me,” and “let me love you.”
Kim continues, “It took me coming out to a place where I am surrounded by His glory – His creation – to where I could hear His voice plainly. There are no distractions. There is no doubt it’s Him.”
After worship in the morning and evening, the kids also were led in discussions, nature walks, conversations about God in creation and identity. The children were especially receptive to the art projects: painting rocks and frames.
Finally, on the last day of retreat, each woman was presented with a heart pendant engraved with the words, “Beloved” and each woman’s favorite Bible verse was spoken over her. In describing the week, Christine said, “It’s so much bigger than what words can accomplish. All I know is they are leaning in and listening.”
Continue to pray for the women and children: that they encounter the love of God and that the truth of who they are in Christ sinks deeply into their lives and changes how they live.