I grew up in Texas, the land of big hair, big jewelry, and assertive makeup application. As anyone who knows me now might guess, I always felt a bit out of place among Texas women. I liked books, wore glasses, had perpetually crooked bangs, and didn’t have a single rhinestone-bedazzled vest to my name.
As a result, I always felt a little baffled by the whole concept of femininity. So the idea of a women’s retreat has always been a turnoff for me. Spend an entire weekend feeling weird, awkward, plain, and clumsy around sparkly women who have it all together? No thanks.
In a moment of uncharacteristic courage, I actually tried attending a women’s retreat about a decade ago in Texas. Over the course of the weekend, amidst a sea of vanilla-scented candles, I witnessed not one but two interpretive ribbon dances performed to sentimental love songs. While most women in the room were weeping, I was shuffling my feet and staring at the floor and thinking how once again, I just couldn’t get the hang of this “woman” thing. (To be fair, there was also a great speaker and I learned lots in between all the dancing and weeping.)
Thankfully, God has delivered me from my phobia of being trapped in a hotel with a large group of women. How? He brought me to Restoration. This church is packed with fascinating, brave, creative women. Some of them have great hair and flawless lipstick, and some of them wear sweaters with holes at the elbows to church (or maybe that’s just me). But regardless of outward appearances, without fail, I have found the women at Restoration to be incredibly honest and thoughtful and real about themselves. And for that reason, I didn’t run screaming when Restoration announced its first women’s retreat a few years ago. Someone called that first retreat “a women’s retreat for women who don’t like women’s retreats,” and I think that about sums it up. There wasn’t a scented candle or ribbon in sight, but there was wine and worship and art and prayer and great conversation with interesting women who were all trying figure out what it means to be a woman who follows Jesus in a broken world.
This year’s retreat is coming up soon (Feb 21-23), and there’s still room to sign up for what promises to be a refreshing weekend. Our own Connally Gilliam will be teaching. We’d love to have you, especially if you think women’s retreats are not your thing. Take a risk and allow God to surprise you. Sign up today!