Joyce Strong Ministries

Women's Retreats

Why Bother?


It takes effort and planning for us to leave home and spend a weekend together.  So what is the payoff? 

New friends.  Time to decompress and reflect.  Fun.  Undistracted time with God.  Healing.  Renewal.  Inspiration.  Sweet surprises...


A Word from Joyce:

I'll never forget one of the first retreats at which I ever spoke.  It was in the early 1990's, in the mountains of Northern Virginia.  After being lost for half the drive from Chesapeake, VA, I finally found Rose River Retreat painted on a mailbox by the road.  I missed it the first time and had to double back. 

After driving down a lane, and finding a gravel parking lot, I spotted a weathered log lodge on the side of a hill in the distance.  I assumed it was the retreat.  But between the retreat and me was a small river...and no bridge.  I never saw the note attached to an old bell on a post that must have advised me to ring for someone to come and get me.

Instead, loaded down with my suitcase, briefcase and slide projector, I followed the river to a place where there were boards stretched across a narrow expanse and teetered successfully across them.  From there, I readjusted my gear and climbed the field of weeds, grass and wildflowers all the way to the lodge.  When I reached the back entrance that faced the river, bees swarmed all over it. 

I managed to get through that door without a single sting.  But honestly, I was telling God that I just wanted to go home.

Cheerful hollers welcomed me from the floor above (I had entered the basement).  Then laughter erupted as they came down and saw me, damp and burr speckled from the long haul up the pathless, dew-covered hillside.  Then pity. 

"Why didn't you ring the bell?"  I had no answer.

That's how it began.  But it's not how it ended.  Jesus "showed up" and healed the broken hearted and set the captives free.  It was one of the most wonderful retreats I've ever led.

At the end, instead of going home when everyone else did that Saturday night, I decided to sleep there and leave in the morning. 

I was totally alone.  The doors were shut tight and locked--not so much against human intruders but against the bears.  I lay in my bunk bed, bundled in quilts, and searched the sky outside the window next to where I lay.  Stars cut sharply through the inky black sky, and the presence of God filled the room... 

He didn't just change the women who had been there, He also changed me.


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