Faith, Family, Friends, Fellowship, Food, and Fun

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Holy Fire

Holy Fire burn away
My desire for anything
That is not of You
And is of me
I want more of You
And less of me

That was our theme song at our ACTS retreat this past weekend. The actual theme was 'I must decrease, He must increase' John 3:30. It was an amazing retreat that changed me forever. 37 women met at our church Thursday night and received a spirit-filled send-off from our family as well as others who have been on ACTS retreats before. I became more and more excited as I watched other retreatants check in because only two of my friends told me they were going. It turned out that about 9 of my former co-workers were on the trereat and overall I knew about 20 of the 36 women.

We squeezed into vans like sardines and visited for the hour and forty minute drive. We were greeted at the doors of the van by what seemed like a very loud group of singers and guitarists. We were escorted to the dining hall where we were nourished physically and spiritually.

I was lucky to be paired up with Kimberly as my roomate, as I've never had time to really get to know her. We I fell asleep in conversation Saturday night, it was like being a teenager or college student again. I would like to tell you I got more sleep than I've gotten in a long time (because of my insomnia), but I really can't. We were always woken up before sunrise.

I can not mention any details because we all agreed that would be taking away from future retreatants' "aha" moments. I can say there was a lot of singing, praying, listening, sharing, cleansing, and bonding. Father Edwin spent the entire weekend with us and I learned so many things about this man. We are so very blessed to have him at our parish. He has experienced much, including visiting with Blessed Mother Teresa! Wow! He was a good sport. I mean to spend an entire weekend with 60 women!

The facilites were beautiful. There was a large pond with the tallest pine trees behind it and a path all around it. In addition to the spacious dining hall, there was a chapel, the lodge where we stayed which included a meeting area and 23 bedrooms, a pool, a covered picnic area, and then some cabins that were nestled in the woods. One of the cabins was oversized and used as another meeting area. It would have been a great place for a family reunion.

Sunday morning we had a quick breakfast and boarded the vans for our journey back to reality. We all celebrated Mass together for one last time. That included the 22 retreat leaders from San Antonio! And some of their families! At the end of Mass, we stood at the steps of the altar and sang our theme song. It was our last spirit-filled moment together. We had a luncheon together, took pictures, exchanged hugs, and promised to keep in touch. What a sad time to say goodbye to my 59 new Sisters In Christ.

I returned home with a fresh perspective on my family and my home. I am more forgiving and patient. I make more time to talk to God. I have vowed to keep the fire going.  It is our (retreatants) turn to plan the next retreat and we hope to have it in the fall. I hope more of my friends will be on that one with me, it will change their lives forever.

And for my ACTS Sisters In Christ, "HONK!"