Hearing God's call
The first year (2009) I did week of guided prayer I really didn’t understand why everyone found it such an amazing experience, I found it incredibly tough and at the end of the week felt like I didn’t fit in and hadn’t done the experience ‘right’. I decided that I wouldn’t do it again as it wasn’t worth the tears and heartache.
As is often the case with God he allowed me this time of metaphorically stamping my feet but when the following year came, I felt a strong calling to give it another go. Every condition that I put in place was met, therefore I had to see what God’s wish was. I went into the week holding back, deciding that if ‘I had to do it’ then I really wasn’t going to fully do it. However, as the week progressed, and I met with my spiritual director, I felt the barriers slipping and God doing his work (I can’t say that at times this didn’t seem really scary). Until, on the last day, I was on a real high, people even wondered if I was intoxicated as I was so overcome with peace and love. For someone who went into the week deciding it was just going to be something that happened, it was a real shock to be the loudest person in the week saying what an amazing experience it was.
I did this week a following two years at Keele; 2011 and 2013, which taught me and challenged me in different ways. I would honestly say that the direction and support in spending time with God in this retreat is one of the biggest things I am going to miss from my university days especially in the unique experience of finding times in our busy lives for a retreat rather than taking time out for one. I highly recommend anyone to give it a try, and remember you have no idea how Gods going to use it. Both the highs and the lows of the retreat has taught me so much about God and myself.