Retreat weekend away at Abbotswick

Yes I'm still pretty much a big kid- Tbh I was scared that I was somehow going to break the swing with my weight but after numerous reassurances of  the swings sturdiness I decided to give it a go. You're never too old to play!

One of the lovely sisters was kind enough to make us all the yummiest hot chocolate I have ever tasted (no exaggeration at all)

This weekend I went to a retreat centre called Abbotswick Prayer house- for those who live in Essex, this is located in Brentwood. The idea to share this in the blog came to me during my time there as I just felt so at peace and full of renewed joy and hope hence my eagerness to share this experience with others. This is actually the second retreat I've been to since I've been at Uni (the first was in a beautiful centre in the Isle of wight).

It was so nice to get away from the busy life of university and all the stress associated with it (especially during the final year) and to spend time with God. The retreat could not have come at a better time because as the weeks went by I found myself distancing away from God...I wasn't praying as much and even when I was praying or at church my mind wasn't there. This in turn made me quite unhappy and moody- basically when God isn't at the centre my life I'm an anxious mess and until I come back to him, I'm never truly at peace.

Well, that peace has returned in 100 fold even and I've come back to my hectic life feeling very hopeful once more. All of sudden its like everything I was struggling with and worried about has left my heart as I left all of them in God's hands during the weekend. I felt God's presence around me throughout my time at the prayer house which is where my peace originated from and I've been filled with an unexplainable joy ever since. To know and feel God's love is a wonderful thing!

In the midst of our crazy and busy lives, it is important that we focus our eyes on the one true source of joy! Life is too short to worry about petty things or to be so engrossed in worldly things. There was one verse that really spoke to me when we were reading the gospel- "Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for the future day will be anxious or itself" -Matthew 6:34. I had been asking God to speak to me and I felt with this verse he did just that.

This weekend was not only refreshing spiritually but physically as well as emotionally. It also gave me a chance to bond with other students that also attend mass at uni- they were from a variety of European countries such as France, Italy, Poland, Malta and Lithuania. I'm usually nervous about starting small talk or initiating conversation with people i'm meeting for the first time but somehow this time around it felt like I was chatting with old friends.

This weekend was absolutely wonderful! And it would not have been possible if not for our very lovely priest and university chaplain- honestly he is such a kind and sweet man! I know people might think "yeah duh! he has to be, he's a priest after all" but honestly its the little things he does that make a big difference. Just by lending a listening ear, making me feel very welcome at mass and other church events and making the effort to include me in church activities (I am even the treasurer of the catholic society!) he has transformed me from the lost soul I was when I started university to someone who loves God with all her heart and wishes to continue to grow in that love!

Now I'm back to my hectic university life but this time I'm at great peace and taking each day as it comes :)

So i'm going to leave you all with one simple sentence that sums up how I'm feeling after this weekend- Find great peace in the Lord and remember that you are loved by God almighty.

Until next time, stay blessed all and have a lovely and fruitful week ahead xx