A mom retreat

June-30During Father’s Day weekend, I had a really great opportunity to go away for a mother’s retreat. I know it’s a bit ironic that I did this during Father’s Day weekend, but I really do think that having a good mental space is a gift to my husband. I also didn’t feel so bad since Josh absolutely loves 1-on-1 time with Joseph 🙂

Myself and seven other women traveled to the Antigonish, NS to spend the weekend at the Sisters of Saint Martha convent. A very large residential building, at one time at the height of religious vocations in the 60’s was home to over 400 sisters! Times have changed, and their numbers have dwindled to less than 80 sisters. However, this has given them an opportunity to open up a wing of their convent for people to make personal or group retreats.

My hope for the retreat was to:

  1. Learn how to find rest in the Lord
  2. Become acquainted with a new, paternal side of God
  3. Leave with a clearer idea of how to manage my anxiety to be the best mother and wife I could be

We watched a few talks online, had some discussions, had mass and prayer time, and also had some time to just relax. I think one of the best things about the weekend was being able to breathe. Guilt free. Not rushed. Not scheduled. Not interrupted. It was beautiful to have just a couple of days to take things more slowly and let the anxieties and worries that seeped into my bones just fade away.

In being able to find space to breathe, I was able to find rest in the Lord for the first time in a while. When I was removed from my cares and worries, I could more clearly see God. And especially surrounded by such beauty and peace, it was so easy to be near to him.

In terms of being able to manage my anxiety, one of the talks we watched had some really great advice that I’ve kept with me over these last 2 weeks.

“When situations pop up, don’t worry. Just take the next good step. Action is the killer of anxiety. Done is better than perfect.” Video here.

Just take the next good step. I love that line. Sometimes i get crippled in my thoughts, and a situation can be snowballed in my mind until the problem is too big and overwhelming. Since coming home, I focus on doing the next best thing that I can do, and I feel like I have been more at ease, more relaxed.

In finding an answer to how to relate to the parental side of God, I think it was quite fitting that we were with the Sisters of Saint Martha. Their apostolate is that of service. Most of them worked in hospitals, social work, or in education. The sisters  take their namesake from Martha in the New Testament.  You know, the Martha who was serving, as her sister Mary was at the feet of Jesus. Although she is seen as the “bad guy” in that story, she was also the one to welcome Jesus into her home in the first place. When Jesus told her, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” I don’t think that he was upset with her that she was serving, but rather that she did it begrudgingly.

Often i do a lot of my mothering begrudgingly. And yet, it is precisely through my service that I might have an opportunity to invite Christ into my home. Who gets to hold Christ in my arms when Joseph is sick, sad, hurt, hungry, cranky, etc.

Now there is food for thought.

All in all, things have been quite positive since I got back. I’m not sure if it is because the weather is so nice, I have a fresh perspective, or both. But I am definitely welcoming this change. I’ve been off antidepressants for almost 2 months, and I am so pleased that I am feeling great. Sleep is coming along. I still have occasional bad nights, but I’ve mostly been able to get to sleep and stay asleep.

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