Between Christmas and New Year’s, our family again set aside time this year for a retreat. We took three days and two nights at a beautiful, out-of-the-way vacation cabin. The family togetherness, touch football, and home-cooked spaghetti were great. But even greater were the sweet times of worship and the heartfelt sharing of each family member. We call it our Family Vision Retreat, and it was again a smashing success.

It’s become an annual tradition that I really look forward to. We lay aside the everyday hustle and bustle, and check in on the inner thoughts of each of our brood. From oldest to youngest there are always a few surprises!

So, I have been asked, what do you do at a Family Vision Retreat?

I must give my husband Doug all the credit for inventing our annual meeting. The first year we wondered what would happen if we put all our kids in one room and began to ask them questions about their life dreams and visions. Would they mutiny and refuse to talk? Would the little ones be so bored, that we would all be tortured? Would the atmosphere be so threatening that no one would dare answer?

Boy, were we surprised when Doug’s simple, open-ended questions yielded hours of incredibly insightful discussion! Not only did they talk, we couldn’t hardly get them to stop! It was so simple and yet so profound.

Doug and I have a most cherished memory that I’d like to share with you. One year, we each went around the room talking about what we appreciated about each of our family members. I could not believe the insightful, touching responses! Tears flowed freely as God birthed a new level of love and acceptance for one another. I truly saw it as a turning point in several of those troubling sibling relationships.

I think the highlight of this year’s meeting was a rather simple question we were asked. “What were some of your greatest struggles in 2010?” Doesn’t sound very uplifting, does it? As we circled the room reliving some of the traumas of 2010, our common pains and unique struggles fell heavy in our midst. Seizure illnesses. Lost relationships. Business disappointments. Relatives’ deaths. Tough medical diagnoses.

Seemed kind of depressing until…something supernatural happened. As we honestly poured out our hearts in grief and sorrow, you could literally feel God’s presence enter in on our scene. Collectively we turned to Him as He buried our past in His sea of mercy. Forgetting those things which were behind, we arose from our ashes with a new energy to press on toward those things of the upward calling that lie ahead. Thank you God!

I heard my kids’ hearts with fresh ears this year. Being entrusted with their dreams is sacred and precious. We never allow ourselves to scoff at them, or rebuke them for their ideas. But how often I have failed to truly listen. I realized that I had never really heard a couple of them before, and this year, I think I “got it.” I heard their passions to serve Jesus and make a difference in the world, and I left so encouraged for the future!

I don’t think Doug would mind if I shared with you the list of questions he asked us to ponder for our meetings. Click here and look for it at the end of the page. Perhaps you will want to have your own type of “Vision Retreat,” and this will help you get some ideas. Maybe you will have some suggestions for the Cherry family’s 2012 event. Please comment on this post, and let’s share what God is doing in our homes.


Linking up to Thank God It’s {Family Fun}  Friday


About frontlinemama

I am a mom who is passionate about equipping moms and parents to help their children through the challenging times we live in today.

8 responses »

  1. james says:

    Well Doug and Lisa…tomorrow Karen and I embark on our first ever Family Vision Retreat!! Thanks for the inspiration you give regularly by living for JESUS so passionately. We love you guys and look forward to establishing a new favorite family tradition. This first one will be kept a surprise until we arrive.
    James and Karen Price
    Danae, Olivia, Grant, Jared, Sophia, Jillian, Valerie

  2. Kira Braun says:

    As a mom just exiting my own “dark night of a mother’s soul” in my life (well, maybe not completely out, but healing), I sometimes fail to remember that others are still in the middle of theirs. One precious thing i think the dark night did for me, however, was to truly understand how tremendous suffering can be, and how deep it can go, how lonely, fearful, heartbreaking, etc., which has made me understand more when i hear of others going through it and to never take that lightly. i wipe away tears as i write that my heart and prayers go out to all of you and your in-laws as you come out of this remarkable past year. One day we will all be together in perfect relationships and perfect bodies.

  3. Lisa, this is exactly what I needed! I have been feeling as though we need to gain a more clear God focus as a family, to open up the lines of communication and discuss what kind of family we want ours to be. I absolutely LOVE the idea of going on a retreat as a family to do it. I will be linking to your post today, rather than posting something of my own.

  4. Doug Cherry says:

    Really nice!!

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