Sometimes nurses need a break—a real break. A break from the hospital, or clinic, or nursing school. A break that refreshes the body and the soul. Where can a nurse get a break?
How about East Texas? Last year NCF nurses in the area formed a group to plan a 2018 retreat to give nurses, educators, and students an opportunity to get away from the busyness of life and experience deep spiritual refreshment in Christ.
Their plans bore fruit February 23-25, 2018, when 51 nurses and 27 students gathered together to explore the conference theme, “Come Away with Me to Rest, Reflect, and Refresh.” The topic was based on Jesus’ invitation to his disciples in Mark 6:31-33 to retreat and rest after a busy season of ministry. Sky Ranch in Van, Texas, provided the hospitality for casual conversations, plenary sessions, and group Bible discussions—plus zip lines and horseback rides during free times.
During the group Bible discussions, nurses saw how God cared for Elijah when he was exhausted and depressed—even after he demonstrated great spiritual courage and triumph in the face of stiff opposition. One nurse was especially encouraged to see the example of how God’s Word can sustain us as we follow his leading. The story of Elijah provided insights to other nurses feeling discouraged or intimidated for their faith.
A nurse commented on how much she enjoyed being with nursing students and hearing their stories. She saw how much they wanted to learn from experienced nurses. She came to the retreat thinking that she would pursue graduate preparation in leadership but, after talking and praying with others and seeking God’s direction, she believes that God is leading her to become a nursing educator to teach and equip future generations of nursing students.
Other nurses said they often felt alone and expressed how much they needed to be connected and networking with other Christian nurses. The retreat provided a caring community for them.
Jane Hall, former NCF national director, was one of the members of the planning team. “Texas is a big state, and this retreat is a partial fulfillment of the vision that a group of NCF nurses had in 1992 when they began planning the first NCF retreat near Austin,” Jane said. “The group wanted to see NCF events offered across the major regions of Texas so that more nurses and students will have the opportunity to grow deeper with God, be equipped to give spiritual care, and find encouragement and joy in nursing.”
The core message of the retreat still echoes in the hearts of those who attended: Come away. Rest in Jesus. Recover your joy.