Feelings of refreshment and freedom washed over Diane Herrick during this year’s Seeking Stillness Ministries spring retreat on April 7-9. With the theme “Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God,” 20 guests reflected on topics of humbleness, generosity and love at Our Lady of the Pines Retreat Center in Fremont, Ohio.
“What we were focusing on was very freeing,” Herrick said.
Seeking Stillness Retreats, led by Executive Director Debra Griest, encourage women to pull back from daily life and hear from the Lord in a nurturing and safe environment. The reflection guides, atmosphere and schedule helped Herrick have intentional time with the Lord throughout the weekend.
“While you are there, it’s always about finding the Lord in the moment where you are,” Herrick said. “You could go at any place in life. He just meets you there. He always meets you there.”
With diverse groups of retreat guests, Griest creates the material for women of all ages and backgrounds.
“I only hear positive feedback on how Deb reaches each person,” Herrick said. “I think that takes someone special.”
The retreat came at a time when Herrick began feeling better after a year of illness. She experienced numbness and paralysis on her right side after a surgery. When massages were offered during the retreat, she took the opportunity and the Lord met her powerfully.
“During my massage, I started to feel in my right arm,” Herrick said. “Throughout the weekend, I continually felt Him – that He is right there while I am healing. He was encouraging me that it is OK to depend on Him for healing.”
Herrick said it brought her immense comfort and validation to know, on a heart level, that God was by her side healing her.
“I could go away whole and whole in Him,” Herrick said. “Maybe not perfectly healed and maybe not exactly how I was, but to Him I was healing and I was whole and I was His.”
Herrick feels more whole and ready to continue healing, but still faces chronic pain and numbness. Yet, her faith is not tied to her health.
“This is all that I am. All that I am is in Him. I am His,” she said. “That’s all I need to be. I am not going to be the person I was before surgery.”
The spring retreat also helped her find contentment in being a different person spiritually post-surgery. She is on long-term disability and appreciates the support she receives.
“It’s about my soul,” Herrick said. “I have learned to receive because I wasn’t able to do everything on my own. I am going to walk away telling His story and being His child.”
Since Seeking Stillness formed in 2010, Herrick has attended almost every fall, spring and recently offered summer one-day retreats. She also actively prays for the ministry and Board of Directors.
Overall, she describes the retreats as peaceful and prayerful.
“I always come away feeling as though I am in a new place with the Lord, and that we have had valuable and intentional time together,” Herrick said.
She appreciates that Seeking Stillness Retreats have a loose schedule, but no pressure to attend every session.
“You are sent way with instructions, but you don’t have to go back,” Herrick said. “You can stay right where you are when you are in the presence of the Lord. It makes it really special.”
The design of Seeking Stillness Retreats makes them a true withdrawal from the busyness of daily life.
“So often women – when they go on retreats – they think of them as stressful, but they are not that at all. It’s a very peaceful time with the Lord.”
Herrick connects Seeking Stillness Retreats with her growth.
“I look forward to each retreat,” she said. “It always singles out something I need.”
The retreats have cultivated confidence in Herrick to share her testimony and knowledge. She attends Friends Church Willoughby Hills, and will share about her journey of healing at the upcoming women’s retreat.
“So often people leave what they learned there,” she said. “I came away in a confident place with Him. I am ready to go and speak in front of others. I hope that they take away something from what I have to say.”