Engaged in Mission: Breathing Room

Engaged in Mission: Breathing Room

The description on Colonial’s website of Seasonal Soul Refreshment is simple and brief, “Come, draw apart as Jesus did…Join us for 3 mornings of seasonal refreshment with other women who are actively parenting…Find respite so you can grow in faith, hope and love. Led by Anne Williamson, Sally Manhard and Tracy Mooty.” But speak to any of the dozens of women that have participated and they offer much more robust details of the gift of this ministry.

Seasonal Soul Refreshment is the second offspring of the original offering called, “Breathing Room.” The idea for Breathing Room was birthed by Tracy Mooty as she watched young mothers scurrying about to drop off and pick up children. She realized that one thing she would have appreciated during those exhausting parenting years was a time of retreat to gather oneself, connect with other women, and just simply rest. Tracy & Anne Williamson originally created Breathing Room as a time for women actively parenting to explore how God  was working in their lives through guided prayer and  reflections in addition to personal retreat time.

Breathing Room changed and adapted several times under the direction of Tracy, Anne, and Sally Manhard to include evening groups and groups offering deeper spiritual exploration. Now Tracy, Anne, and Sally facilitate Seasonal Soul Refreshment by offering three retreat & reflection times at the change of the seasons.

Longtime participant Angie Pederson reflects, “[Seasonal Soul Refreshment] is suitably named. It is a chance for women (moms) to breathe, slow down, feel cared for, feel accepted, and most importantly to grow closer to God in a loving environment. I cannot express what a gift this ministry has been and I can honestly say it has changed me in too many ways to count. This ministry and all three ladies involved in making it happen have given me the tools to find God in difficult experiences and to even be thankful for them. What a gift!

Another participant, Becky Bormann shares, “The Seasonal Soul Refreshment sessions have been an invaluable gift to me in a time when I needed to step back and reflect on the events of my life and find God. These three precious women have created a space and time for women to stop and breathe, to find God in all that is good and in life’s challenges. To have that type of support as a young Mom and in the midst of some of my life’s biggest challenges is a true gift from God. One thing that touched me deeply was the card I received in the mail Thanksgiving week from Tracy, Anne, and Sally letting me know that they were praying for me and that they were thankful for me. It was such a thoughtful gesture that gave me encouragement in a time when I really needed it.

Becky also notes, “Sally has a warmness about her that makes you feel like you are the only person in the room when she sees you and makes a point to connect with you, to engage you. She genuinely cares about your well-being, what is going on in your life and wants to know how she can be praying for you. Sally and her genuine, caring and loving heart is a role model of the type of woman I would be honored to grow into.

Angie Pederson further comments on Anne Williamson, “The first thing that comes to mind with Anne is her innate ability to love and accept and not to judge. She has been one of the continuous faces at Colonial, through Breathing Room and otherwise, that gives of herself openly in conversation and wisdom. She has walked in my shoes, done things similar to what I’m doing now and will always make a point to stop and connect with and encourage me. She has truly been a role model for the person I’d like to become. Aside from that, the ministry she’s involved in with Breathing Room/Seasonal Soul Refreshment offers opportunity for amazing growth in God. I can honestly say that Breathing Room has been an instrumental piece of my faith journey. It has been a real turning point in how I feel about myself and my relationship with God.

Angie also shared, “Tracy leads by example and she is a wonderful example to follow. [She taught me that] if mom is struggling, then she can’t do what she needs to for her children and family. Tracy showed me how to trust in God and value myself in what I’m doing for my family by not working outside the home. This lesson came at a time for me when I desperately needed it. Tracy’s guidance and the ministry of Breathing Room/Seasonal Soul Refreshment were a major stepping stone in my faith journey. It takes a village to raise a child and I’m so glad I’m part of this one!

Want to engage?  Contact Sally at sallymanhard@comcast.net.

Tracy, Anne and Sally’s story is another example of those who are engaged in mission both inside and outside the walls of Colonial. Their story has inspired others, who nominated them for the piece, which was prepared by Journalism Task Force member Jen Thomas. (Click here to learn more about our “Engaged in Mission” initiative or to nominate someone to have their story told.)

Comments are closed.