Stacy Chandler comes to the women's retreat from Houston, Texas. She initially expressed some hesitation, but after making a commitment to attend, her feelings changed. Each person comes away with her own experience, but for Stacy, the women's retreat offered a deeper connection to her family and her faith.
This is her experience, in her own words:
"The boys and I are reading our scriptures, saying prayers, spending time together, visiting, and learning more about each other. I've been gone for so long that I was a stranger to them. This summer has been a wonderful time for me, thanks to Women's Retreat. I can share with them now. I can talk with them now, instead of talk at them. I think they've noticed the change and feel more comfortable sharing with me because I'm no longer a closed shell.
"I've also been working on relationships with people in my community. I actually feel human instead of fake or robotic. Now my smiles are genuine, instead of automatic, for the public. I wish you could fully understand the darkness I came from and know the light I feel now.
"When I try to describe retreat to someone who has never been, the same three words are always spoken first: 'OH....MY....GOSH!!!!!!!' Rhonda has been inviting me for years and I had never gone, although almost every year I said that I would. I always thought retreat was a time for women to get together to talk and be "touchy feely." I wasn't interested in confiding in a group of women I had never met before, not to mention, "touchy feely" isn't my thing. But I discovered for myself that retreat provides an environment to explore the inner self, to discover where you are, to see where you want to go, and to develop a plan to get there. When retreat is over, you're left with a dynamic group of friends who will always be there should you need them or want to reach for them. For myself, I left retreat feeling new; I am a better, stronger person, I and can't wait to go again."