One thing we all have in common is that we have had, are having, or will have struggles in our lives.  My dear friend Beth,  who founded Strength for the Journey retreats in the midst of her cancer journey, referred to these times as Good Friday (the time of greatest suffering), Easter Saturday ( our times our waiting on the Lord to guide us through the struggles), and Easter Sunday ( the glorious time when we are filled with praise because we have seen His hand move powerfully through the storms).  I was first introduced to Strength for the Journey retreats on an Easter Saturday in my life, just one year after my second and last sibling had succumbed to the same disease that took her twin several years before, a time when I was still struggling with accepting not having her sweet physical presence on this earth and wondering what the future would look like without siblings.  I was unprepared for the warmth of the women who led the retreat, the soul searing music that both unleashed tears and calmed them, and the stories of other’s challenges that joined us as sisters of the heart.  Since them I have been to and helped lead similar retreats in Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Alabama….and now we are getting ready to birth a Strength for the Journey retreat right here in Florida over the weekend of October 11-13th at the Canterbury Retreat Center in Oviedo.

An excerpt from the retreat brochure invites you with the following thoughts: “If you or someone you love is facing a difficult time in life—with cancer, grief, caretaking of a loved one, divorce, parenting, chronic illness or just everyday life—you may want to join other women in “coming away” for a weekend of renewal and sharing of life stories.  The retreat leaders will come from several different states and have experience in leading retreats, teaching, counseling and facing their own life challenges with others beside them.  The Canterbury Retreat Center is located on 43 acres of secluded property with a lovely lake at its center.  There are walking trails and spots for quiet conversations or individual contemplation.  The retreat is created to help each person find strength and support for her particular life journey.  It is our hope that each person will become increasingly connected with our deeply loving God as well as with a community of other caring believers.”

We were not met to face the challenges of life alone…our Triune God attests to the necessity and blessing of being in community.  It is my prayer that all who are longing for strength and renewal will come and be part of this very special weekend.

If you are interested in more information or in joining us for the Strength for the Journey weekend, please contact Liz Borth or Julia Malenke.  Brochures are also available in Trinity’s school office.

In His joy,

Julia Malenke