Windows of the Soul
Several CLB churches this past year have developed local church women’s retreats, focused on fostering relationships, delving deeper into God’s Word together, or encouraging one another in their personal walk with the Lord. Some utilized their own church buildings, others met at off-site locations. Connie shares what her church did.
Living Word Lutheran Brethren Fellowship hosted a mini-retreat on Saturday, April 13, 2013. “Windows of the Soul/Encounters with God” saw forty-six women of three different churches in the Dickinson, North Dakota area come together to celebrate their unity as Christian women in a retreat which moved through three different “windows.” Adapted from the book Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire, these retreats use the rooms of a house as windows where God provides a glimpse of himself as we look past the surface to what he wants us to see.
Windows encountered at this retreat were the Office Window—encountering God through our time, schedule and priorities; the Family Room Window—encountering God through relationships; and the Broken Window—re-encountering God through our own devastation and finding our way back after turning away from him.
In the Office Window, women were treated to an imaginary trip in a flying car back to when they first became Christians, reviewing the paths their lives took, seeing where God took a front seat, then a back seat, and ultimately being left at the curb with all that life throws in the way. They created schedules of their busiest day, made magnets to remind them to take time for God, created revised schedules including time for God, compiled “Challenge Cards” to challenge them to return to the path God has for them to walk.
Next came the Family Room Window. Beach balls flew as women tossed them around, stopping to read funny sayings when they received the ball. They received information and Bible verses supporting the joy of family. Coffee filter peonies were made to demonstrate the flower’s example of a family structure—the bud receiving its nourishment from the stem just as Christ is the nourishment for the family, and through him the family blossoms and becomes a beautiful flower.
Following a wonderful lunch, participants encountered the Broken Window where one of the Windows Team gave her testimony which touched hearts to tears, and then gave them hope and the desire to create needed changes in their own lives. The craft designated for this window was broken glass mosaics, but it was cancelled when the plaster set up too fast! Every good retreat needs a little glitch, right?
Plans for this retreat began in October 2012 with the formation of the Windows Team. Preliminary work and information was given through weekly e-mails, along with a Bible study on Ruth—Be Committed by Warren Wiersbe. In January, weekly meetings began in earnest, with decisions on which windows would be presented, and preparation for them. Each window is completely written and developed by the Team with the idea that no two windows will ever be alike and all will be inspired by God’s Word.
It was interesting to see God’s handiwork in the selection of the windows. Our decision for the three windows we used was unanimous. As members of the Windows Team, we were also blessed with lessons whenever we struggled to bring this event to fruition. When God gives his approval to a project he is faithful to carry it through to its completion. And he can work much better when we trust him rather than try to do his work in our own strength and wisdom. We were truly blessed.
This was the second retreat in this series; the first one was in 2010, and it also met with great success. The windows covered during the first retreat were the Bathroom Window, because that is where we begin our day, followed by the Kitchen Window and the Dining Room Window.
Plans are already being made for the next retreat with a date yet to be determined, as the Lord wills. Anyone interested in learning more about the retreats can contact Women’s Ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.
Connie Christensen in a member of Living Word Fellowship in Dickinson, ND.