A well-deserved break from work and responsibilities…a needed refreshing and inspiration…a path forward through some challenging circumstances…a making of vital connections with friends…a re-defining of life priorities and a re-commitment to what we already knew, but were having difficulty practicing—all these and so much more are what we received at the Happy, Healthy & Hopeful Women’s Retreat” in Junction City, Kansas on Oct. 7-9, 2022.

Our main presenter, Dr. Beverly Sedlacek, a highly sought after international speaker and clinical director of  a Christian counseling ministry called Into His Rest Ministries, shared many insights into why we do the things we do. For instance, if our parents met our need for comfort as a child, we received the ability to forgive, compassion and empathy, and to tell ourselves it’s ok to feel. If that need for comfort went unmet, we have difficulty with forgiveness, compassion, blocked feelings, and comprehending the cross of Jesus for ourselves.

Sedlacek shared the importance of addressing these issues in our lives, because if we ignore them or as she said “stuff them away in our trash bins” they will continue to resurface in our lives and “stink.” In order to heal these and other hurts we must live in community with others where we are “Seen, Safe, Secure and Soothed.” Living in this kind of setting, with God and others, healing is possible and probable. We were never meant to live in isolation!

One attendee said, “I absolutely loved the speaker, the singing and just being around so many Christian and God-fearing women. I learned how important community and healing is, that we are on a journey and that we should enjoy it all—to completely lean on Jesus no matter what we are facing. As a result of this retreat my life will be different because my relationship with Jesus will continue to grow as I continue seeking Him and the Holy Spirit. My heart is so full!”

While Dr. Sedlacek shared many tips and tools on how to have healthy emotions, relationships and right thinking, this retreat also provided practical information on how to be healthy physically through exercise, proper sleep, nutrition, healthy self-care, healthy connections with friends, and a healthy connection with God.

Our teens also enjoyed this weekend retreat by joining with the adults for Dr. Beverly’s presentations as well as having their own presentations by Salissa Tonkin, a young adult leader from the Lincoln College View Adventist Church, a specific presentation from Dr. Beverly Sedlacek, and meaningful chats about life with other young adult leaders: Jolina Console, Sophia Jaquez, Milka Mendoza Sanchez and Hannah Chin. The outdoor fire pit and s’mores added to the fun.

On Saturday night, ladies enjoyed making sunflower wreaths, a Walk Away the Pounds Step Class, and the saltwater swimming pool.

The weekend went by all too quickly, but many left saying they are eagerly awaiting our gathering next year.

All women are invited to join us Oct. 6-8, 2023, in Junction City, Kansas, for our next Kansas-Nebraska Conference women’s retreat. You’ll be glad you came!

Sue Carlson is director of women’s ministries for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.