I wanted to give you a glimpse into Racheal’s Rest’s week-long recovery retreats. The information provided below is “just a taste” of what we do at Racheal’s Rest’s restorative retreats. If you, or someone you know, has been the victim of sexual abuse, sex trafficking and/or domestic violence issues, contact us today to get more information about Racheal’s Rest programs to begin your journey to emotional health.
The Value of Human Touch
We all need human touch, whether that is a high-five, a pat on the back, a handshake or a hug.
Yet, many survivors are triggered by physical touch so we refrain from hugging, etc. until we know a person is comfortable with that. At our very first retreat, a middle aged lady was so resistant to touch that she shared she had never held her children or grandchildren.
As everyone was leaving and exchanging contact information, they were also hugging and promising to keep in touch. Someone asked if they could give her a quick hug and she complied. Then she cried as she continued to stay in the embrace. Wiping tears away, she said, “That felt so good. I think I can hug my grandchildren now.” The cycle of isolation was broken. Now, years later, we see pictures of her on Facebook snuggling her grandchildren and our heart is warmed by the progress she has made.
We use the example of the caterpillar changing into a butterfly to explain our journey of recovery along life’s path. The metamorphosis involves being in a chrysalis for a period of time. In this tightly wrapped cocoon, it is dark, cramped, sticky, lonely, smelly, and uncomfortable. Yet it is necessary for growth, for change to happen. If we feel sorry for the butterfly and try to help the process along, the butterfly dies. So it is with the process of recovery. We can support, wait with, and encourage during the growth process, but we cannot short circuit recovery or we will go back where we were.
We almost always encounter a butterfly during our retreats. Since this is a symbol of new life and part of our logo, we are always excited to discover butterflies on our outings. This one came to say hello on the trail at Amicalola Falls.
God Sees Us
Many survivors have God issues: from not believing He exists to clinging to Him as a crutch. Many are angry and see him as a co-perpetrator. Others feel He is the only one who has ever been there for them. Some are totally confused by him and all the many denominations of religion out there.
Our role is not to preach but to help sort out spiritual confusion and point them to a loving, personal God who sees their pain and their progress. In one particular retreat, we had 3 or 4 deeply wounded ladies who scoffed at that idea all week. During the balloon release, the sky was covered in while fluffy clouds with one small blue circular spot high above. One of the ladies sarcastically said, “That must be where God lives.” I replied that wherever he lives, he sees us”. We watched as one by one, every single balloon disappeared into that tiny blue patch. They were in awe as they couldn’t explain or believe that although they were released at separate times, the wind currents carried every balloon to the same place. Then as if by design, a flock of yellow butterflies surrounded us and flew on by. One lady said, “Ok. Maybe He does exist.
Please consider donating to our scholarship fund. Your generosity will help bring hope and healing to abuse victims though retreats, individual and group counseling. It is only through the support of people like you that we can provide the care our clients need and deserve.