Although our church here in LA is small, we are committed to maintaining a regular rhythm of womens-only events that encourage both spiritual growth and fellowship amongst the ladies of our community.
When working long hours or getting caught up in the business of day-to-day life, I find myself often missing the company of my girl friends. Seeing my gal pals a couple times a week for missional community small group or for our discipleship night is AMAZING don't get me wrong.
But there is something very special about the company of a larger group of women.
Our church's women's ministry, SOMA LADIES, hosts quarterly events which provide time and space for women in our church (and friends outside the church) to enjoy each others company and have fun. Our fall quarterly event is a Women's Retreat held just outside the LA city limits and gives us a full 2 and half days away from work, business, and kids to hang out, grow up in Christ and have fun.
As I begin to plan this year's fall retreat, I wanted to share a look back at last year's weekend. All the female missional community leaders collaborated to plan last years event. It was so nice to have a diverse group of women contributing to the retreat, some planned music, some the meals, some the breakout sessions and others booked the houses in which we stayed. It eased the pressure to delegate the different roles out versus having 2-3 women in charge of planning and shopping for the entire weekend.
Last year's retreat brought about 20 women of all styles and backgrounds to a beautiful house in Rowland Heights. Rowland Heights is random, I know, but it was one of the only places where we found an affordable option that would keep us all together and give us enough space.
The city is located about an hour outside of LA, and the house was tucked away in a pretty neighborhood which allowed for plenty of parking and was in walking distance from a park and a Starbucks (essential).
The house was divided into a main house and an attached back house which boast a total of 7 BEAUTIFUL bedrooms. It honestly felt like we were staying at a boutique hotel. There was plenty of common areas as well as a large kitchen.
The theme of the weekend was "Identity and Image" and our breakout sessions, worship, teachings and devotional time all centered around the truth that we are Daughters of the King.
We spent the first night with wine and a meet and greet. It was so cool to see so many of the newer ladies connect with the older ones and see the women chatting and swapping stories with one another over a pile of delicious hors d'oeuvres. I was in charge of Hospitality (eek!) and made sure to fill the space with fresh florals, autumn accents, candles and extra toiletries in the bathrooms.
It's those small touches that help make a foreign space feel more homey and since so many of the women were new, I wanted to make sure everyone felt comfortable in the space we were to be sharing together.
A portion of the cost of the retreat (only 120$!) even covered some life application gifts for the ladies - hello Swag Bags! These were my FAVORITE to plan and put together. They featured custom linen totes from Simply Grace Design Co. as well as mini candles, notebooks, fair trade jewelry and verse cards to remind the women of the truths they would be hearing and reading over the weekend. The leaders wanted to make sure the women walked away refreshed and rejuvenated in the Spirit of God's word over our identity and image.
Saturday was spent singing worship, relaxing and working through some amazing group break out sessions. It is SO AMAZING to be real and raw with women while we dig into the word together. This weekend brought exactly those moments and I hope and pray it was as restorative to their souls as I know it was to mine.
We entered the evening with food, dancing, homemade lotion making and nail painting. The games and laughs went on until the very early hours of the morning. It is refreshing to get away from our lives at home for just a couple days to rest and HAVE FUN together. FUN being the operative word. If you are planning a retreat or women's event, I encourage you to make sure that it's part devotional and teachings but also part FUN.
The women in your community likely need to relax and have a good time as much as they need to absorb God's word and truths.
We prayed each woman would also walk away feeling loved and cared for by one another and by God.
We ended the retreat with a Picnic on Sunday at a near by park. We are lucky that here in Southern California our "fall" retreats feel more like a summer getaway.
Hope you enjoyed a little inspiration for your next retreat! Make sure you watch my vlog of the weekend here!
I have linked and noted where I found inspiration for last year's retreat. I hope they help you with your next ladies event.
- Bags from Sarah at Simply Grace Design Co. https://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplyGraceDesignCo
- Mini Autumn Candles and Watercolor journals from TJMaxx and Homegoods
- Handmade Earrings donated by Meghan at http://homebodysoul.com/
- Names of God Print from Heart of Life Design https://www.etsy.com/shop/HeartOfLifeDesign
- Madewell coupons donated by Hope Thal
- Handmade Scrunchies by Sydney at Sewing Squid
Check out my Hostess Pinterest Board:
Our Air BnB:
If you have any suggestions for activities, gifts or devotionals, leave them in the comments below!
Until next time!
~ A ~