Refine Retreat, writing

On Door Holding And A Writers Retreat

On Door Holding And A Writers Retreat

Some months ago, in the midst of planning one retreat, I felt the subtle shift in the soil of my soul, as a seed for a different take on Refine was planted. Since no sane person plans two retreats at once, I let that dream lie still while I worked my way towards the thing I was already very much in the middle of.

But it’s spring now, and that seed for a writer’s retreat has begun at last to sprout.

I spent the last 8 months trying my hardest to encourage a handful of young writers to keep going–to keep working at improving their writing, to never stop trying to hone their skills, to refine their craft. Meeting with them once a week was most often the highlight of my Thursdays. Nearly nothing brings me pleasure and joy I experience as I watch people wrestle down the words, transforming them into something rich, meaningful and creative. I get a particular thrill from watching people do their art. It brings me no end of delight, to hold the door open, to make space for people to do what they are called to do. This is the hospitality I feel most called to.

When we delve into our creativity, we are responding to something that’s bigger than us. It may call to us from a personal place and in specific language, but that is the individual soul chiming in with the larger spiritual calling. (Vinita Hampton Wright, The Soul Tells A Story)


A couple of years ago, in preparation for teaching a writing class, and as I was wrestling through my own creative projects, I purchased the book, A Soul Tells A Story. I don’t even remember how I found it except that I think it popped up as a recommended read associated with the other books I was adding to my online shopping cart, and I loved the title. After the book arrived I’d flipped through it multiple times, reading bits and pieces marking favored passages, dog-earing the corners of places I wanted to return to easily, but it wasn’t until a few months ago, that I picked the book up and began to read it in earnest.

By the time I was halfway through the book I no longer felt as if I had stumbled onto the book; I had been led to it.

God’s Timing

When you are attentive to the spiritual dynamics of your life you don’t do something just because you can. You don’t create a work of art simply to create a sensation. You do it because the time is right. You do it because your own growth requires it. You do it because you have discovered a new way to see something that might help others see it too. You do it because the community of which you are a part needs for you to do it. (Vinita Hampton Wright, The Soul Tells A Story)

As I have spent the last several years working on various writing projects, I have found myself longing for an opportunity to meet with other writers to explore writing as a calling, and how my Christian faith intersects with that calling. Because I believe that human creativity is a gift from God, part of our soul’s DNA, on account of being made in the image of the Creator, I believe that our creativity, our calling and our desire to live it out intersect, and it’s in this place of intersection that we can experience a richness in our relationship with the One who made us.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he reminds them (and us), that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10) We have been called to do the work that God has prepared for us ahead of time.

I want to know, for those of us who feel called to write, what does this look like, and how can we honor God with the very gifts he has placed in us? How do we practically and faithfully embrace and obey this call, in a world driven by marketing, advertising, and sales ranking. What does it look like to practice faithfulness in your calling as a ministry, and as a vocation? What does it look like to tell the truth in story, in poem, in song, knowing that creativity has a cost? How does the journey into this space of creativity and work affect our souls, and the souls of those who will read what we send out? How do we balance our calling and our everyday demands–and is there such a thing as balance in all of this?

Creative work is soul work; it happens in that interior place where spiritual life forms the rest of life. (Vinita Hampton Wright, The Soul Tells A Story)

writer's retreat_flowers

I’m not the only one who wrestles with these questions. I’m not alone in wanting to refine my gifts, and uncover what it is I feel God is truly calling me to do with them.

Over the years, as I have had numerous conversations with other authors and creatives, we have often shared our ache for time to process through our work, time to pray for God’s direction, for fresh vision, and for revelation. We have shared our common hunger for opportunities to grow and be stretched and taught by other writers who know so well, the very wrestling practicing this kind of creative calling takes.

It’s this hunger, this longing and a willingness to hold the door that is opening again, for another Refine {the retreat}.


A Writers Retreat

In March 2018, a very small group of women will have the opportunity to gather with 7 incredible guest host’s for a special Refine {the retreat} FOR WRITERS. The theme for the weekend is The Soul Tells A Story, borrowed (with permission) from guest host, author and editor, Vinita Hampton Wright.

Retreat attendees will have the opportunity to participate in 3 days of intensive writing workshops, one-on-one critique or mentoring sessions, countless conversations and spiritual exercises designed to help inspire creativity, refine their vision and hear from God. While providing generous opportunity for writing instruction and workshop, Refine FOR WRITERS maintains the heart of Refine {the retreat}, providing ample opportunity for reflective time, rest and prayer. Based on the feedback attendees fill out at the time of ticket purchase, the entire weekend is specifically tailored to meet the needs and desires of those in attendance, while maintaining the vision for the event.

Wherever you are in your writing journey, this weekend is for YOU. I’m holding the door open, friend.

Tickets are on sale now. Meet the 7 hosts for the weekend, and start planning your trip. There are just 25 spots available.




  1. I have heard Venita speak twice. And just finished one of her books. Love her novels. And have dipped in and out of her book on our Souls Telling A Story. You have encouraged me to get back into that book. I have been looking and for some reason can’t see the exact dates. The last couple of weeks is our vacation and is reserved/planned over a year ahead. This is the kind of retreat I know I would enjoy. I’ll keep it in mind in the coming years.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *