Cleaver and Conundrums – Part 2 of 3

n      The last time I was “invited” to a women’s retreat (2006), I gingerly accepted against my better judgment.  Mistake!  The person who offered to pay my way and watch my kids for the weekend extended the invitation such that I felt trapped into her plans and agenda, bereft of a gracious way to decline without igniting some Hindenburgish fall-out.  

The Point: Whether I choose to attend a women’s retreat or not – for whatever reason – is my decision.  I don’t need to justify it to other women, nor do I need to defend my choice to those who insinuate — sometimes with the subtlety of a freight train – that if I was “as spiritual as they are,” I’d make retreat an annual event, too.  (My personal favorite was the woman who suggested I’d be “letting Satan rob you of a blessing” if I don’t attend the next retreat)  Now I just smile and say, “No thank you.”

n      The “women’s ministries/retreat” paradigm that never gets beyond telling me how I can better submit, pray for my husband and children, have a quiet time, or how you, too, can be a better Suzy Homemaker, Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart.  There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but do we have to grind that gear forever?  Can we move on?  These focuses represent only a small fraction of the incredibly intricate, mysterious, and glorious complexities of Christian womanhood that are rarely discussed, explored, or applied. 

n      I understand the need to make the best use of limited time, but I find the jam-packed, frenetic pace of many retreats to be overwhelming and exhausting.  As an introvert, I need time to decompress and process between sessions.  I also don’t see the point in departing a “retreat” feeling more fatigued and depleted than I did when I arrived!

n      Logistics.  Since my husband works weekends, I have to make special arrangements for child care in order to attend a weekend event.  This doesn’t always work out.  It’s nobody’s fault – just a fact of life. 


n      My husband isn’t invited.  This may sound oxy-moronish as in, “Hello?  It’s a women’s retreat.  No testosterone allowed.”  However, as I said, my husband works most weekends and on the rare occasions when he gets a Saturday off, I want to spend the day with him. 

 n      Sinking to “the lowest common denominator.”  I dislike retreats that revolve around themes such as Healing the Broken-Hearted, Restoring Your Wounded Soul, and so on.  I’m not alone in my opinion that these areas of one’s life are best kept private unless I choose otherwise, and balk at artificial attempts to put them on public parade. 


If you’re just joining us, please see the prior post for full context.  Stay tuned for more in Part 3.


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