Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing about my experience at the Carry Camp Retreat, a retreat for women dealing with infertility. So today is part 1, which is day 1 of the retreat.
It started on a Friday evening, and since it was outside Nashville, TN, I was able to drive there. It was only a four hour drive, which wasn’t bad at all. And the drive was just beautiful, just a sweet reminder of the majesty of God’s creation, all the mountains, hills, water, just everything.
I totally forgot that there was an hour time difference so I got there like an hour early, which for an introvert like me who was already incredibly nervous, showing up early was like the worst thing that could happen for me.
Thankfully, there was already a couple of women who got there early, as well. They were all hanging out on the porch in the rocking chairs, waiting for the leaders to get back from running some errands in town.
Shortly after they returned, we helped one of the leaders put together the name tags. They were super creative. Since I was the last person to register, my name tag wasn’t created yet, so they had to quickly create it. After we were finished with that task, we were finally able to enter the cabin.
This cabin had four huge rooms with multiple beds in each room. Four of the women were on the left side of the cabin upstairs, and we were the only ones in this area, and were told that it was the nicest room of all, and boy were they right. Here’s some pictures of it.
Myself and several of the women made our way to one of the living room areas while we awaited dinner. We decided to go around the room and start sharing our infertility journeys, our family and where we were from. When it came to my turn, I shared my entire journey (pelvic condition, endometriosis and PCOS) and after I shared one of my roommates said, “Wow, you’re so brave.”
Those words really threw me off. Because it was the second time in like a month, that I had heard that. About a month earlier, one of the women at my support group heard that after she heard about my pelvic condition and what I was going to have to do to work through that. Both times, I was thinking, “wait a second, you must be thinking of someone else. I’m not brave. In fact, I feel weak. I hide, I’m timid, I’m an introvert. Surely that can’t be me.” But then I’m hearing this again, and I know this can’t be a coincidence.
Shortly after that we transition to the kitchen/dining area for dinner. Here’s some pictures of what this beautiful area looked like.
Beautiful right? Those decorations were done by hand by one of the leaders. She’s super talented So these two leaders got up and did a short introduction and then prayer over our event and dinner. I don’t remember most of what was said in that sweet prayer, but I do know I heard the word “brave” again. And I’m thinking, seriously? Brave again? Lord, what are you doing?
After they were done praying, they talked about how they (the three leaders) randomly picked up various mugs, and we each got to pick one and take it home. So I got up and went to the table where all the mugs were held. The second mug was the one you see here (ignore the broken piece on the back of the mug, that’s a story for another day). Yes, that’s right “brave” again. I knew this cup was meant for me.
Are you sensing a theme here? I sure was. Brave was in my face, and the weekend had just barely begun. What was He up to?
We ate dinner, and I was able to sit with a few of the attendees and a few of the leaders. I enjoyed the conversation, and the food was amazing! They told us that we had a slip of paper under our plate that we needed to bring with us after dinner when we moved into the next room. Mine said, “Who’s your favorite Bible character and why?”. That was an easy one for me. It was Joseph. His story of what the enemy meant for evil, God turned around for good. A story of hope, visions, dreams and God’s faithfulness after all he went through.
Anyways, we move into the main living room and we went around the room sharing a short version of our infertility story, plus answering the question on our paper from dinner. It was both encouraging and heart wrenching. Heart wrenching to hear all the women and their stories, their heartbreak and everything they’ve gone through. After all, you don’t want anyone to have to go through this journey. But it was also so encouraging, I wasn’t alone, and so many women completely understand what I’ve been going through.
After this we go outside and are around a camp fire. We start this time with prayer and confessing how we have been feeling and repenting for any things we needed to. Wow. Such an impactful moment. Then one of the women who was there for the weekend to lead us in worship, let us in several worship songs around the campfire. What a neat way to worship, out in the midst of God’s creation. It truly was an amazing experience. For those of us that wanted to we could hang out and chat, so I did that for about 30 minutes before heading up to bed.
Stay tuned for day 2 of the retreat.