In July, the Recovery ladies had an opportunity to go on an overnight retreat to Lake Hope in Vinton County. What a treat it was to get out of the city and explore the natural beauty of southeastern Ohio!
For most of them, it was an opportunity to try kayaking and paddle boarding for the first time. While laughing and playing games and making s’mores around the evening campfire was fun, laying in the lush green grass and looking up at the clear country night sky with all of the twinkling stars was quite the experience for the city ladies!
During the morning reflection time, one of the participants led an activity where each woman was given an index card with the instruction to write a “positive affirmation” and then to hand it to the person on their right. One of the cards perfectly summarized the retreat time.
“Take time to breathe in the gifts around you. The birds chirping. The sun shining. Wind blowing; water flowing. Stars twinkling and grass growing. You are growing. You are worthy of all these precious gifts. Remember to acknowledge them.”
Lake Hope started as a dam built by beavers over 100 years ago. There are mysterious abandoned mines and ancient Indian mounds. A very rare orchid called the “yellow lady’s slipper bloom” can be found in secluded hollows around the lake. Around a hundred years ago, “Hope’s Furnace” was built to process the iron ore extracted from sandstone bedrock. This process is what was used to make ammunition and cannons for the Union Army during the Civil War. Large crews of men were hired and assembled to cut timber so it could be used to keep the Hope Furnace hot. This resulted in the forest being stripped almost bare. The forest area seen today is the second set of trees to grow in the area.
The retreat to Lake Hope actually gave me a lot of hope because just like rare orchids that grow there, God has shown me that I was created unique. Even though the land was once almost completely destroyed, God made sure it flourishes today, even better than before. I know in my heart that God created this area to show that our futures can always have hope.
~ Jackie R.