Spiritual Retreats

Posted in Newsletters at 6:47 am

Some of you know that I recently (last month) accompanied a lady from our church down south to a Christian counseling center. The only Christian counseling center, really, since I know of no other here in Italy. She became a Christian in November at the age of 37, and has some extra baggage that is really weighing her down. She would love to be completely and totally free in Christ (which ultimately she is), but there are many things from her former life that she must overcome. She is single, and so there is no one at home with which she can share some of these burdens.

This brings me to the Counseling Center. What a beautiful place. After six hours of train travel plus an hour layover, we were tired, but in good spirits. We were glad to be there. From the moment Caranita (the counselor and, along with her husband, proprietor of the Counseling Center) met us at the tiny station, I was hooked. I knew that this had to be a place ordained by the Lord for the growth of His people. This was actually my friend’s second visit. She went the first time with another young lady from our church community, and I could tell that her intense counseling sessions were having an impact on her life. Caranita requires that no one comes to the center alone, and so I offered to come along on this adventure.

I must say that from my point of view, I was nervous. Not for her, but for me. What was I going to do for four days? I would be out in the country, completely “unplugged” from the world. I don’t remember ever doing that, really. No internet, no computer, no TV, nothing. But, from the moment we arrived, I felt at ease. She showed us where we would be staying, various things around the kitchen, and the outside grounds where I could take a walk. Cristina would be “working” from 9-12:30, with a short coffee break, then from 3-7. So, for most of the day, I was on my own. Those two days went by so fast. I spent time reading the Bible, studying, praying, listening to sermons, and just being outside among nature. Oh, how I recommend it. I know it’s not exactly practical for a mom to leave town and have a spiritual retreat, but you will never regret it. What about an hour drive to the lake? Or a train ride out of the city? Or an afternoon spent at a nearby park? Even a half a day away from it all is enough to give your walk with the Lord a real boost. Even if you’re scared that you won’t be able to fill the time, make the decision and just go. The time will be filled, trust me. And you’ll be better for it in the end.