by Carol Brown

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 9/18/14

Spending two days at St. Simon’s Island with a group of 25 women is bound to be a fun-filled experience, but when it’s the HHBC Women’s Retreat, it is so much more than that! It’s true that we enjoyed fabulous seafood, laughed until tears ran down our faces, and basked in the sense of renewal that only an island retreat can provide, but the weekend was more than just a break from our everyday routines. At the Women’s Retreat last weekend, our group of women, who represented a variety of ages and stages of life, found a sisterhood in our shared struggles and faith.
The retreat sessions were formed around the book, Help, Thanks, Wow: Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott. As we explored this short but profound book, we shared with each other our journeys through the ups and downs of our prayer lives. Anne Lamott describes prayer in this way: “Prayer is taking a chance that against all odds and past history, we are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up.”
Our spiritual “wow” moments may have happened during our Bible study sessions, through times of creative spirituality (artsy-craftsy stuff), or during private times of prayers and reflections. But for me, I often found myself saying “wow” and “thanks” to God in unexpected moments, like the beautiful sunset that graced our meeting room’s large picture window when we gathered for our first session on Friday evening. I also found myself feeling profoundly grateful when we shared communion with one another on Sunday morning in our closing session. In a beautiful way, I felt God’s presence in the room and saw God’s goodness on the faces of my sisters in Christ. Wow!
Along the journey of your life, I hope that you will recognize the “wow” moments that God gives you. And if prayer sometimes seems too difficult or lofty to attain, keep in mind the three essential prayers that can get us through: help, thanks, and wow.