Lent, Refine Retreat, Surrender

It’s Time, Announcing: Refine {The Retreat}

Two years ago, 24 women bravely followed God into the woods of Ohio for a weekend called Refine {the retreat}. We showed up at the Lodge on that Friday afternoon, expectant. We came with a hefty mound of baggage between us–all of us eager for a drop of Living Water. These years later, what we agree on collectively, is that God’s presence was palpable in that conference room, and deeply personal. What we can manage to say about the weekend is that we left changed.

For 2 days, The Holy Spirit ministered to us exactly where we were in that moment, and sent us home transformed by the overflow of God’s goodness and mercy that He had poured out over us.

Refine 2014

In the weeks and months after Refine, the chatter among the group of attendees, came always with the question, “Will there be another Refine?”

For a long time, I couldn’t say. What God had made abundantly clear to me, during the preparation and planning for the first Refine, was that the entire event had been His, from seed to sprout. It was only by His hands, that every detail came together. Refine had been God’s weekend, we all knew it. And so I couldn’t say initially, if there would be another one. Refine was never intended to become a thing–the decision to host another Refine, as far as I have been concerned, has always been God’s call. I refused to step into that space without His prompting.

This year, as the 2nd anniversary for Refine passed, the question surfaced again, “will there be another Refine?” I offered my usual response,

“I don’t know, pray about it?…”

Despite the outrageous surrender it took to host it the first time, and the fear I battled in the months leading up to it, I’ve always been willing to host Refine again. God’s help and blessing was so abundant, I know I can trust Him wit this. But up until recently, I didn’t know if God was opening the door again or not. I needed something to go on, some kind of clear nudge. But over a period of 3 weeks, the question came repeatedly from different voices. The topic of Refine cropped up in multiple, unrelated, unprompted conversations.

One afternoon, while listening to a message from a friend, asking about Refine, it occurred to me that perhaps I ought to pay better attention to this. (God often gets my attention through repetition.) I had to seriously, prayerfully consider it.

I did, and God answered.

It’s time.

A week ago, early one soggy morning, a friend and I got in the car and made our way to check out a nearby retreat center in person. As soon as we pulled up to the gate, I felt a flutter in my chest. It felt like hope.

gates

As we slipped out of the rain and into the building, I knew immediately, this was the answer we’d been praying about for the last 2 years. I felt God’s answer in my spirit–it’s time. As we continued to tour the house, every carefully thought out detail about the space, every room we walked into, felt like a crashing confirmation to the long-unanswered question.

One of the considerations for the retreat has been the location–if we did do it again, would we go back to the same place as before? I knew as I passed through the chapel and down the long corridors of this house, that we would not go back to the lodge.

There will be another Refine {the retreat}, with a fresh vision.

God is doing a new thing.

Within 2 days of seeing the space, I signed a contract to host the 2nd Refine on March 24th-26th, 2017.

main bldg

Little details

This space where the women of Refine will gather is a space that I had wanted to use 2 years ago, for the first Refine. But at the time, when I had called, they were booked 2 years in advance, and so there was no availability for the time frame I had open in 2014. But this year, smack in the middle of Lent, the retreat center’s busiest season, they happened to have a weekend open.

Of course they did.

bedroom2

In numerous little ways, God has been answering the question, “will there be another Refine” for weeks, I just hadn’t seen it until now. And in His faithful way, He has already been orchestrating the beautiful details without my help or effort. He is doing it.

As I have prayed about Refine, the passage of scripture that comes repeatedly to mind is Psalm 66:12b

we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

labrynth2

What will Refine be like?–the vision continues to unfold. The plan continues to evolve as God reveals the pieces of the bigger picture. What is already clear, is that this is not a repeat of the last retreat. While some of the original attendees may return, there is room this year for new faces. I know without a doubt, God is making space for some of you to attend. Refine is not a conference. There is no long, pro speaker line-up, or agenda book for the weekend. The heart behind Refine has been, and continues to be a weekend “designed to encourage women to seek the Lord more intentionally, that they might better live out His unique call on their lives”. Refine is about making space for God to renew us, refine us, restore us and rejuvenate us to live the lives He has called us to. This is a weekend for restoration, that we might experience the abundance of God.

Joining me as guest hosts at Refine, are artist and Spiritual Director in-training, Christine Hiester and author and poet, Laura Boggess (Playdates With God, Having a Childlike Faith in a Grown-up World). These two women bring tremendous gifting and generosity with them wherever they go, and I have no doubt attendees at Refine will be inspired and encouraged by what they have to share.

 

What do you need from God? Is He calling you away to meet with Him?

Are you in?

Read more about Refine {the retreat} here, and grab your ticket.
There are just 38 spots open. 

Eventbrite - Refine {the retreat}

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