May 11

I recently attended our church’s annual women’s retreat at the Bishop Claggett Center outside of Frederick, MD. The setting was very serene and quiet,  and above is a picture I took on the Sunday morning of the retreat. The women’s retreat has become important to my faith journey. This year’s theme was “Soul Tending”. Our scripture verse for the weekend was Matthew 22:37 - You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 
We all need to tend our souls from time to time to renew ourselves. We were introduced to many different types of spiritual practices: meditation, silence, various types of prayer, caretaking, daily devotionals and several others. These practices were presented as an introduction to help each one of us figure out what works for us. Everyone’s faith journey is different and even though we are all on the same path, we get there in various ways, what works for you, may not work for me at all. This became very evident in my “small group”. During the retreat, you meet in your small group, which consists of a dozen women randomly placed in that group. You meet four times over the weekend and it is a place to share your experiences and faith. It becomes a safe place to talk and really be heard. Each of the women in my small group were on very different places in their faith journey, but the really cool thing was that everyone was listened to and respected no matter where they were on their path. It seems like you don’t run into that in many groups anymore and I truly treasured the experience. It is a practice I would like to continue in other areas of my life such as work, family and friends. It is hard not to compare ourselves to others, but the weekend of the retreat was a gentle reminder that we all have our individual spiritual path that we are on, no one’s is better or worse, it is just our own. 

Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else. (Galatians 6:4 )

Loving Father, help us not to compare ourselves to others. We know in our hearts that You created us all as unique individuals. Help us to follow You and make our own contribution to Your creation. Amen