God gave me amazing courage last weekend. At precisely this time last week I set out in a retreat knowing only one person there mainly through Facebook! I’m not a confident driver or prolific motorway driver especially but I was filled with a deep urgency to get to my destination, to meet these people I’d been invited to share time with and ultimately to meet with my Father God. And God gave me courage…….using my clapped out SATNav and a huge amount of nervous excitement and prayers, I waved goodbye to my lovely family and set out into the unknown. You know what? God brought me safely to my destination without a wrong turn or any incident. It was a stunning sunny morning and despite my hands shaking on the steering wheel (I was nervous!) I got there. Me and God together. 

During the weekend I met some amazing people, learnt more about God and his father heart for the vulnerable in our country and beyond and felt connected. Every conversation was packed with wisdom from some incredible mothers; all foster carers or adoptive parents. It seemed like every word was steeped in wisdom and deep deep love for the children in their care and for each other on this retreat. 

The worship and word given on Sunday morning was truly amazing. Singing together in that room was tingling and spirit filled. God was there with us; blessing us and loving us. That will stay with me for a very long time. 

Sue brought the word Psalm 18:19 which was so appropriate as I felt that was exactly what God has done with me at Malshanger House. How appropriate, how affectionate of God to bring me to a beautiful place like this. 

During the weekend we enjoyed good food together, cooked by an incredible lady (thank you!) and served up in a homely, relaxed, chilled out manner that befitted everything else about this Spirit filled place. 

We went walking and talking. God’s presence felt very close in every part of this beautiful place and I found myself listening to some incredible stories of mums parenting their fostered and adopted children. 

We spent lots of time in our Bibles and even got given new Bibles – thank you Hodder and Stoughton! 

We also laughed a lot! We played games, laughed big deep laughs and cried too. Tears of joy, tears of pain and sadness. There was connection there and a vulnerability to let our emotions out as we were in a safe place. I found the laughter and tears incredibly helpful and so important to have both. God is a gracious, loving God. He knows the pain our children have been through and what we have been through to in our journeys to parent them. 

This was a pilot retreat birthed from the heart of one lovely lady from Home for Good who wanted to encourage and bless mums. There is a hope of rolling this out more locally across the country for adoptive and foster mums to have a break, some time to themselves and with God. I’d say it was a complete success for me- a rich time of blessing, prayer, word and love for each other and most importantly of our God who loves us so much and loves every child and wants every child to find their home. 

I hope whatever you’re doing this weekend you find time with God to rest, retreat and relax ready to go forward with Him again!

Lots of love, 

Ruth X