Our CC community’s inaugural retreat — oh-so-creatively christened “Moms’ Retreat” — came to fruition in February 2019. The weekend was the culmination of my visit to a major homeschooling convention the year before, coupled with a desire to build more community within our community, and an insistent prompting from the Holy Spirit. The February doldrums of homeschooling are real and relentless, so it seemed logical to schedule our retreat at a time when many of us struggled the most.
We homeschool moms tend to be planners, and we like to know what to expect, and who’s in charge — especially if it’s not us! “Come with me to spend a weekend in a hotel, relaxing and having fun,” sounded appealing, but understandably a little nebulous. In other words, it took a bit of persuasion to get a dozen friends and acquaintances to follow me out of town with nothing more than my plans to rely on. To be honest, I didn’t have much to rely on either, other than a nudge from the Lord, and a faint sense that homeschool moms don’t practice self-care without a little encouragement.
About a dozen moms agreed to retreat with me, so I set up a group rate at a hotel, and made some basic plans for restaurant meals, and a few fun activities. Not everything went according to plan, of course! The hotel was hosting multiple teams of high school athletes, who descended on the breakfast buffet every morning like a cloud of boisterous locusts, and left puddles of pool water in every hallway until the whole building reeked of chlorine. Many of us — especially me — were late to every scheduled event on the itinerary, leaving punctual moms frantically messaging the tardy ones.
Frankly, it took us a hot minute for each of us to realize we could just relax and rest in our own way. But once each mom felt empowered to direct and adapt her own weekend as she saw fit, it was magical. Whether solo or in groups, every one of us curated her own schedule for rest and renewal. Long walks, extra sleep, late breakfast, coffee detours, shopping, museums, whatever suited best. By dinner, we all circled up again, ready to savor a good meal and better conversations together. By night, we found ourselves crammed into someone’s hotel room, sharing snacks and adult beverages, talking into the wee hours.
Women shared their stories, and their struggles. Whatever the topic — homeschooling, child-rearing, marriage, faith, bad movies, embarrassing moments — there was empathy and encouragement. Tears were shed. Laughter abounded. Community happened in abundance.
I drove home with a big stupid grin on my face. It was a soul-feeding, pressure-releasing, mom-bonding celebration of God’s goodness to women who love and seek Him for themselves and their families. I couldn’t wait to plan Year Two!