It's always beautiful to see how God offers me just what I need that weekend. He knows the baggage I'm bringing in, and he knows the circumstances of my life right then. Without fail, he enters in and works. And to see that happen, not just in my own life, but in the lives of other parishioners, is exciting! When I first started attending these retreats, I always went hoping that I wouldn't be disappointed. Now I go with the expectation that great things will happen. Without fail, they always do.
This year was especially meaningful for me. Mostly because of the baggage that I wasn't bringing along with me. Moving to a small town where everyone seems to know everyone is intimidating. Between that, being an introvert, my family living in the south-west part of the state, and my time being consumed with a young family, I was in a very lonely place. I felt isolated. And when one is lonely long enough, it can make you question your value and if you are worthy of friendship. My postpartum depression and anxiety made this even harder. It was a very difficult place. And as far as I thought, it was a struggle I'd always have.
I remember all of this surfacing on a previous retreat and bringing it to one of the prayer teams during Adoration. It was a very moving experience for me, and I came to understand that loneliness was not God’s plan for me. I was able to see that it was a lie that God wanted me to be alone. And I was able to renounce that lie.
Healing started there. It has been a process. But when I stepped back again this past retreat and evaluated life, I quickly realized what a different place I am in. I have been blessed with many close friendships. I was supported more than I could have asked for during my most recent pregnancy and after Francis was born. I have grown to love this parish and this community. I no longer struggle day to day with deep loneliness. This process has also helped me to rebuild a confidence in my worth and to be more open to receiving God’s love for me.
The retreat a couple weeks ago allowed me to be grateful for the healing that I have been experiencing in my life. I was able to enter into the weekend with greater freedom to simply receive whatever the Lord wanted to give me. On the retreat, I was excited to be on a prayer team for the first time. There God was able to use me in a small, but real way, to bring the healing He has given me to others.
My testimony is one of the many stories of how God has worked through these retreats in the life of the parish. I’m looking forward to the next one already and have full faith that God will continue to do great things.