We all need a retreat

Published 10:27 am Thursday, November 9, 2017

By Sue Staton

Last weekend I attended a retreat with some of the core group and leaders from the Community Bible Study group.

These ladies meet every Thursday to prepare for those who will be coming to the meetings on Friday.

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As I have mentioned before, a lot of dedication is put into these meetings.

Since my life had been so hectic these past few weeks, I had prepared to tell them I would not be attending this weekend. I felt I needed the extra time to accomplish other things.

However, God had other plans for me, and as I was sitting in on the opening song awaiting the appropriate time to say “no, to the retreat,” on Thursday morning, one of my favorite hymns was being sung.

“Trust and Obey” spoke to me and that was all it took to completely change my mind.

That song reminded me I just needed to do what it said, and oh, I am so glad I went on that retreat.

Actually, I think that retreat was needed for so many of us.

We stayed at the Laurel Lake Baptist Camp. Viewing God’s handiwork on the way down through the beautiful color of the leaves changing on the trees and enjoying one another’s company was a welcome change.

Once we arrived, unloaded and went to eat a delicious meal we did not have to prepare, we began to learn more about ourselves through our speaker, Anna Bryant.

Upon returning from the meal we saw an Anna, who looked totally different than when we left. One side of her face was her beautiful self but the other side appeared to be beaten, bruised and scarred.

She explained to us, how we all wore masks on our face. One side is the side the public sees and the other side — the distorted side — is the one we hold deep within us. We were all given a piece of paper with a face mask on it. We were told to draw on that face what was holding us down inside. It was shocking to learn how deep this was.

For awhile, all we could do was stare at the face but before long, little by little, we started digging deep and our hurts and problems appeared on the paper. We were told to let them go.

Her next part of the program was a new Anna with a different face. We were told to write our name on one side of a blank paper and lay it face down. Later, we were instructed to pass the paper to our left and the person next to us was to describe us in one word or one sentence and pass it on to the next person. We did this until the paper with our name on it was returned to us.

I think we all were shocked to see others were nicer to us than we were to ourselves.

Later she passed out masks that she had prayed over. We each received one. We were to put on this mask representing our new self. It was amazing how different these masks looked in comparison to the ones we had first drawn.

This time we used paint. Anna had a fire on the side of her face this time. We then went out side under a full moon and she gave us a piece of elastic. The mask had come without any way to put the mask on. I was wrong in assuming this piece of elastic was going to be given to us to attach to the mask.

The piece of elastic she handed to us was for us to hold in our hand and think about it and when we thought we were ready to bring that elastic and put it in a bucket with everyone else’s Anna lit a fire and we watched as they were all burned. We had burned our hurts along with that elastic.

The mask was ours to keep, and we were instructed that we were to put them somewhere so we could view them daily to remind ourselves our past hurts were now gone.

I have to say the retreat was wonderful and I needed it more than I had realized.

Not only did I get to learn about the other ladies in the group through their personal testimonies, but I came away feeling much closer to all of them.

Sometimes, we all need a retreat!

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers.