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Lockdown Stories: Stories from our first Online Women’s Retreat

Vineyard Churches

Saturday 13th June was a special day for women from across the Vineyard movement, who attended the very first VCUKI Online Women’s Retreat. We wanted to make extended space to meet with God in the midst of what has been such a strange season for us all and so we invited Spiritual Director and author of ‘Sensible Shoes’, Sharon Garlough Brown to lead us for an afternoon. 453 women joined us from 59 UK/Ireland Vineyard churches and from as far afield as Canada, the US, Peru, Scandinavia, South Africa and even Taiwan!! 

Sharon led us through an afternoon of rich practical teaching and exploring spiritual disciplines, invited us to stop and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, and reminded us again how to receive the love of God, then rest in and respond to that love, by pouring out our hearts to Him.  

It was a deeply refreshing and very inspiring time.  Many ladies reported meeting God in beautiful and tender ways and experienced healing and freedom. We would love to look at putting on another retreat later in the year.

These are a selection of the stories from women who joined us for the day!

“I did the retreat virtually with a friend (I’m in Scotland, she’s in England) and then afterwards we did virtual dinner together and spent over an hour talking about, sharing and reflecting on our afternoon. It was really sweet being able to share this with a friend when that has been so limited in lockdown.”

“I received healing from painful childhood memories and a fresh revelation of my identity and worth as a child of God.”

“I was amazed at how I was able to connect with God – in front of a computer, sitting in my bedroom, hearing my two children fighting over some Lego characters in the other room! It was also a huge blessing to have set up a WhatsApp group with the women from our church who attended the retreat day. The support and bonding was amazing.”

“I was able to express my sadness over my son and daughter in law’s loss of a baby. They could not have a hug and we could not go to them because of lockdown. They told us that they were heartbroken but knew God was Sovereign. I wept hard at their ability to say that.”

“The knowledge of God’s love for me has moved from my head to my heart in a much deeper, richer way. There was something freeing in hearing myself say: ‘I am the one Jesus loves’ . Whilst this was difficult and felt uncomfortable at first, in hearing that truth spoken several times, I am believing it more and more. Later, I was able to write a psalm of lament, being really honest about what I have found difficult during this lockdown season. The words just flowed and flowed and I found this an extremely healing experience. Again, it is freeing to know that I can be real about ALL my emotions during this time, even the horrible ones. Actually, ESPECIALLY those!”

“I was an unplanned baby, the eldest of four born in a hospital bathroom. Sharon reminded us that Jesus was born in an inhospitable place, and that I am a beloved child of God. Precious.”

If you have a story about what God has made available during this season, we would love to hear from you – [email protected]

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