Commune {an online retreat hosted by our friends at Velvet Ashes}

by Editor on March 7, 2016

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Danielle Wheeler, founder and editor of Velvet Ashes, has a special invitation for A Life Overseas ladies today.

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“Our job is not to heal our souls, but to make space for them so that healing can come.”
– John Ortberg in Soul Keeping.

When was the last time you made space for your soul?

When was the last time you intentionally made yourself unavailable… to your ministry, to your friends, to your family even?

When did you last set aside a large chunk of time to let your soul breathe, to be quiet long enough to listen?

There’s a long list of reasons why committed mature believers rarely, if ever, make time for a personal spiritual retreat.

  • We feel guilty for taking time away from our work and family. (How twisted is that to feel guilty for doing the very thing that would help our souls, our ministry and our family thrive? I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to feel guilty for something Jesus did.)
  • We’re not good at saying “no” or asking for help. (Something required, especially of young parents, to get time away.)
  • It’s easier to stay busy and distracted. We’re addicted to doing.
  • We’re really good at soul soothing instead. Netflix and Magnum ice cream bars, anyone?

Here’s a reason that might be hardest to admit: We don’t actually know what to do during a personal spiritual retreat.

Right?

Even for introverts, the thought of being alone for a large chunk of time to connect with God can sound kind of scary and weird.

My brain can only really stay focused in prayer for about 5 minutes. Maybe. What would I do with a whole day?

We take all these reasons (excuses), and we never get around to giving our souls the time and space we desperately need…

to process our transitions,

to grieve our losses,

to wrestle our fears,

to slow down …

and rest.

I think when we get to heaven there will be many jaw-dropping surprises in store for us. I wonder if God will say, “I wanted to share this connection, this joy and abundance and security while you were on earth…but you were busy.”

But this is not a guilt trip. This is an invitation. 

An invitation to set aside a day to retreat with God.

It’s an offer for a hand to walk you through that time of solitude, to provide you with a guide and rich resources to make it a time of deep communion.

Velvet Ashes is hosting an online retreat for you, right where you are. We’re inviting women around the world to take a day or half day for a personal spiritual retreat.

A Life Overseas’ very own Elizabeth Trotter is one of the women sharing her story. We have women of all ages and stages sharing their experiences from around the world with a vulnerability that will awe you. See how God has met them in their stories.  This year features a TCK perspective and also stories of reentry.  So if you’ve returned from life overseas, this is for you too!

Gather a group of women to experience the retreat with. Have a time of solitude and a time for connection and sharing. Our Host Guide will help you plan a gathering that works for you – an overnight retreat, a full day, a half day, or a two-hour gathering.

Part of the vision for the retreat is to provide and equip you with tools that you can use both during the retreat and beyond. You’ll get to download and keep:

  • Music written especially for this retreat, perfect to pray and journal to.
  • A Holy (Christian) Yoga video – renew your mind and soul with Scripture meditation and prayer while you renew your body with exercise.
  • Coloring pages to print out, because art quiets the soul.
  • Recipes for easy, homemade spa treatments, because the soul wears skin, and we could use a little TLC.
  • A Retreat Guide full of Scripture meditation, journaling and prayer exercises, and resources to take you deeper.

Because our hope is that this retreat will springboard you into taking your own retreats again throughout the year.  Because once you’ve experienced what this does for your soul, we think you’ll be ready for more.

We understand the logistics of living overseas. That’s why we’re making the videos downloadable and opening the retreat early enough to give you time to download it all, if your internet isn’t fast enough for streaming. We’re also making everything available in audio files.

It’ll all be right there for you, wherever you are.

That’s Velvet Ashes’ invitation to you.  We’re helping you respond to his invitation to get away with him.

Register here and help us extend this invitation, so others can know.

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  • Beth

    I am disappointed by the inclusion of “holy yoga” in what could otherwise be a great event. Yoga is inextricably tied to Hindu philosophy and worldview. I serve in South Asia, primarily among Hindus, and if I told my Hindu friends that I was practicing “holy yoga”, they would likely say, “I told you that our religions are the same!” Please reconsider how you are advertising and advising in this retreat.

    • Hi Beth, I understand that this is a complex issue, especially in your context. And if it would at all be a stumbling point (Romans 14), please know that it is simply an optional element of the retreat. But I would also encourage people to explore what holy yoga really is, to see the powerful way in which God has used it in the lives of many to bring restoration and connection to Him. And because we know that so many women on the field are hungry for restoration and connection, we’re offering this as one avenue (of many) for this to happen.

      Just as Christmas and Easter were originally pagan festivals, we believe in the power of Him who is able to redeem and make all things pure and for His glory. We certainly want to claim movement and breath and meditation for the One who created all of that in us. Know that our intent is to offer an exercise experience that centers around Bible meditation and prayer. I think if your Hindu friends were ever exposed to this form of yoga (This is NOT the intended audience for the retreat) they would find it to be a surprisingly different experience. But again, we understand if there are people in contexts that feel they should not practice holy yoga, and we respect that.

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