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The dish on the Silent Retreat

Read an interview with Mollie Walker, one of those in attendance at the Silent Retreat.

This past Tuesday we had our first BFR Local Silent Retreat and it was absolutely wonderful. The weather could not have been more beautiful and the time was so rejuvenating for all of us. I feel like when I first started tip toeing into contemplative practice and was heading to my first silent retreat so many things were running through my head and so many unknowns. I find some comfort in knowing what to expect, and what better way to know what to expect than to ask a first timer.

Mollie is a dynamic woman that juggles being a wife, mom, follower of Jesus, Vice President Manager of Business Development at Simmons Bank, Co-Founder of Tennessee Fertility Advocates and an avid goal achiever and trail blazer. If you have ever met her, you know. She lights up a room and is a connector by nature. She is not only a natural leader, but an eager learner with a humble heart. I knew that Mollie entering into the silence was going to be a beautiful time of growth for her, not only to step away from her busy schedule, but also to just "be" with God with no agenda or goal, just intimacy with our Lord. She did a wonderful job if that even fits the bill. She left her technology in the car and came ready to lean into what God had for her. She posted up outside in the rocking chairs by the pool and let The Lord pour life into her soul.

One of my favorite things from the time together sharing was when she read this poem aloud for us all:

The Knapsack

I am not good at grieving my losses

and moving on.

I carry them in a knapsack

hanging heavy on my chest.

Doesn’t everyone see me stoop beneath the weight?

Don’t you ever get to put it down? someone asks.

No, I reply, it is with me always,

more present on most days than God himself.

Grief gets added every day,

or so it seems.

Oh, it’s o.k., I say.

It’s just one more grief to tuck into my knapsack.

I’ve learned how to walk

with heaviness around my neck.

I know how to enter rooms

back straight

smile bright

as though nothing was hanging there.

But today I am tired.

The weight of accumulated grief

is more than I can carry.

Where does one go to unpack grief?

To take out each loss

and hold it in your hand

To wonder where it goes

and then put it in its place?

I don’t cry about my grief anymore,

although there are always tears

behind my eyes.

The tears are stuck inside now—

Like stones in a graveyard

they have settled heavy

into the landscape of my life

I’ve heard that depression is the refusal to mourn.

I don’t know how to mourn in a way that helps.

I don’t know how.

God, if you would show me—I would do it. If you would take me to a place

where I could truly mourn,

I would walk in—I think.

I would walk into that graveyard

And lay myself down on the grave

of each and every dead thing

and let my tears fall into the earth.

And then I would get up

And walk out into my life

Ruth Haley Barton 2008

Invitation to Retreat

Below are a few things from her perspective.

How did you feel leading up to the retreat?

Leading up to the retreat I was pretty anxious about taking off the time for work. However I knew this needed to be a priority and I was actually so excited the days leading up because I know how bad I just needed that time away.

If you could explain the retreat to someone else what would you say?

For me, the retreat was honestly just a time of intimacy with the Lord. A purposeful, intentional time set aside without any distractions to just speak and be in the presence of our Creator.

What was one thing that you enjoyed or that you gained from going?

I enjoyed so many things from it but if I had to pick one thing it would be the intentional time with the Lord surrounded by others who needed that same thing and knowing we were in a SAFE space to just be, letting down all barriers or expectations.

Any advice to someone on the fence about coming?

I would say if you were on the fence about coming to the Silent Retreat start by really praying about it then take a leap of faith and try some thing that might be out of your comfort zone. It might seem uncomfortable, but it could actually be one of the greatest blessings and I truly believe that God showed me things during that time at the retreat that I have been too busy to see in any other situation.

I would also say that all of the women that attended were there with the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord and being silent and just being still with no expectations or agendas. We live in such a busy world that we often get distracted and caught up in the busyness and sometimes it takes stepping out of our comfort zone to do something like this to slow down and see what God is trying to show us.

Was there anything that surprised you about the experience?

Honestly I was really surprised that I did not feel the need to constantly check my phone and how fast time went. I remember thinking "Man I wish this was longer". It was such sweet time in the Word, journaling and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit more than I have felt in a very long time and I really didn’t want it to end. Then to have community with the women in discussion afterwards as well as the lunch- it was just a perfect perfect day. I woke up today feeling extremely refreshed and like a huge weight has been lifted off me.

If you are interested in joining us for the next Silent Retreat click here to sign up. Space is limited.

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