By Mary Ellen Collins
It is a few weeks after the scheduled Journey Retreat. Most years I would be writing about all of the wonderful things that happened.
How God showed up.
The group of wonderful women who claimed a piece of my heart.
This year was different. None of that happened. Yet.
We made the difficult decision to postpone the retreat as the world is being threatened and devoured by an invisible enemy. Postponing was the right thing to do. Safety for everyone is the priority. So why did I feel so bad? I felt as if I was letting everyone down. I had to process my feelings. Guilt? Disappointment? Fear? Is this what goes along with being a leader?
Planning begins immediately after the retreat each year. It is a BIG deal. We organize to the point that it seems effortless to the outsider. This allows us to focus on the women God sends to us. This fuels my passion. My passion for helping hurting women was not going to take place at this event.
Fortunately, we were able to plan another date. Contacting all of the facilitators, all of the volunteers and all of the participants was the next step. What are they willing to do?
Hearing the participants’ disappointment was particularly painful. Once a woman makes the decision to work on her mother loss, she is ready. It takes courage. They were sad that the retreat was being postponed. They were grateful we were concerned for their safety. They were grateful we offered them choices. The new retreat time, December, was better for them!
The volunteers were excited about being part of the retreat. For many this was their first time being “behind the curtain.” They were excited to give as they had received. These are amazing passionate women have a servant’s heart. They were ready. For them, it was like waiting for Christmas to happen and then being told it was postponed.
When asked if they would be a part of the rescheduled retreat, the response was an overwhelming yes. What a blessing!
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We asked how we could support the participants and the volunteers between now and the December Retreat. The feedback was powerful. When I reflect on the March 2020 Journey Retreat that didn’t happen so much good has come.
- We have started a Prayer Meeting for the ministry to help us all keep connected and supported.
- We are having a video conference “Meet and Greet” for Journey Retreat facilitators, volunteers, and participants.
- We are starting new online support groups to keep these women connected.
- We are finding new opportunities for volunteers to be connected to the women on their healing journey.
- For me, I have grown a little more as a leader.
And we are safe.