Return to Rest Promo Video | Heart Stone Films

Hi Friends!  Ruthie here popping in real quick to share our brand new promo video!  I'm currently snuggled on the couch with a nice warm blanket and a hot cup of tea watching the snow fall outside (in March!). We're currently under a blizzard warning and expected to get 12-18" of snow today. Spring, where are you? So it only seemed fitting to share the RTR promo video while I'm getting snowed in! :) 

I'm SO excited to share it with you all! We were so blessed to have Heart Stone Films as one of our RTR sponsors! Huge thanks to Meredith from Heart Stone Films for traveling up to NH to not only capture the retreat but also take part in the retreat. Loved having you be apart of the retreat Meredith! Thank you for capturing the heart & vision of RTR in this video, it's so much more than I could have expected. Thank you, thank you! 

Scholarship Winner!

We have a winner friends!  First off though, I'd love to thank everyone that entered... tweeted, Instagramed, Facebooked, blogged and even sent in videos. It was so fun reading all the posts!  Thankfully we did it based on a points system and I didn't have to choose the winner because honestly, I would have had such a hard time deciding. There were so many heartfelt entries!  Thank you again to everyone that entered!

Now, onto the winner! :) Huge congrats to Isabel Shaw on winning the scholarship spot to January's retreat!  She had a total of 110 points via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and her blog. Thanks for all your entries Isabel... I'm excited to meet you in January! 

Scholarship Opportunity for RTR 2017

We are thrilled to be giving away a spot to RTR in January and can't wait for everyone to get entered! 

How it Works:
This giveaway is structured as a points system, meaning that you can do as much as your little heart desires to rack up points on your scoreboard. Our hope is that you spread the word with all your friends and followers about Return to Rest Retreat... why you would be excited to attend RTR, why you think you need to attend RTR or anything else you'd like to share. Whoever has the most points by November 6th will win the scholarship and receive free registration for the retreat!
How to Earn Points:
Below is a list of all the great ways you can earn points. Just share about the retreat in one (or all) of the following ways and as many times as you want. Make sure to include the hashtag and/or at reply so we can keep track of all that you are doing to share the word and earn points! Feel free to email us at the end of each day with all your entries for that day.

- Tweet it: 3 pts. // hashtag #returntorest2017
- Facebook it: 5 pts. // Link Return to Rest's FB page in your status update. (make sure your status' are public so that we can see your posts.)
- Instagram it: 5 pts. // @returntorest, tag @returntorest AND hashtag #returntorest2017 (make sure your profile is public during the giveaway so we can see your posts.)
- Blog it: 8 pts. // Email us a link to your blog post!
- Video it: 10 pts. // Email us a link to your video!
Other Info
- Suggestions on what to blog/video about... why you are excited to come to RTR, what you are looking forward to at RTR, or why you need to come, ect.
- Deadline to enter is November 6th, 2017 Midnight EST
- The winner will be announced on November 7th, 2017
- Please note that transportation to Boston is NOT included within this scholarship. Winner must pay for all travel expenses if coming from out of state. We do provide transportation to and from Boston Logan Airport.
- Scholarship must be claimed within 24 hours of announcing the winner or the runner-up will receive the scholarship.
Questions please email us at

Kristin S. RTR 2015

- One of my biggest takeaways was that resting is an act of worship...he is pleased when we decide to stop and acknowledge that He is the great sovereign of the universe and we are not. The Sabbath set apart Israel because they trusted God's provision and control, while other nations around them worked day in and day out trusting in their own strength. Also, another big takeaway is how rest also underlies how we view our acceptance before God. Are we resting in the finished work of Christ, or are we still trying to make ourselves acceptable by our performance?  "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

- RTR has simply helped me put more attention on the overall rest, or lack there of at times, in my life. Not only physically, but spiritually as well. I find that I'm more mindful of this than I ever was before attending the retreat. Also, RTR has connected me with some amazing women who I can call dear friends and sisters in the Lord, and having them in my life has been a great encouragement to my heart over these past few years. 

- The first tip that comes to mind is actually what Nancy Ray recommended (which is part of her routine). When you get up in the morning, make your coffee, and allow some time to simply write about whatever is on your heart and mind before diving into the word/prayer. Be still and put thought towards what's really taking place in that moment --- you are spending time with the Lord...not just your bible, not just your thoughts, but with HIM. We so often rush into that space, open up the word and start reading, spew a ton of words towards him in prayer, and wrap it up before even letting ourselves actually commune with Him. We are far too often focused on the accomplishment or productivity of our time, rather than the reality that we actually met with the Creator of the Universe. 

- I would encourage a potential attendee by saying that her soul is far too precious to let the burdens of this world, work, achievement, and approval weigh her down. (What profit is it if we gain the world but lose our souls in the process?) If she is feeling battered and beat up, then she should make it a priority to come to this retreat. There is such an intentionality behind RTR, and I've witnessed God heal and restore in the most remarkable ways. This retreat has served as a milestone in the lives of many women, including myself. It would do her soul well to attend! 

Kristin P: RTR 2014

- What was one of your biggest takeaways from the Return to Rest Retreat?
was so caught up in the busy-ness of my life that I forgot how to spend quality time with Jesus.  Such an elementary thing was so hard for me because I was so connected to technology and my clients, and I didn't even realize it.  To put every e-mail, text, and social media update aside-- to just be still and know that He is God-- was my biggest takeaway at Return to Rest.

- How has Return to Rest affected your home life / work life / marriage?
realized at Return to Rest that I needed to purposefully set aside time to be with Jesus.  For me, that meant picking up a 'real' Bible and setting down my cell phone Bible, because texts and alerts were causing distractions and pulling me away from precious time with God.  Now, I schedule a certain time every day to pray and read the Word; in a paperback Bible, away from my cell phone, and that started at Return to Rest.  This has become the foundation of my entire day, and sets the tone for my work ethic and the way I love my husband.

- Are there any practical rest or Sabbath tips you’d like to share since attending RTR?
learned at Return to Rest that my distractions are sneaky and powerful.  At Return to Rest we were encouraged to read paperback books and Bibles, and in doing so, I felt withdrawal from my cell phone and laptop.  One of the important things I learned at Return to Rest is that I have to completely eliminate my distractions from my time with the Lord.  Sometimes that means traveling to a cabin on a lake, with new faces, far from home; and it's so worth it!

- What encouragement would you give to someone who is considering registering for our January retreat?
f you feel a tug in your heart like maybe you're supposed to do this; you probably should.  It's okay if you don't know anyone.  It's okay if you have to travel halfway across the country to get there.  And believe me, it's okay to be away from your computer and your clients for a few days (and if that thought gives you anxiety, you might need this retreat more than you think!). 

4 Reasons why 2017 is going to be our best retreat yet

Hey, friends! Nancy Ray here. If you don’t know much about me, you can click here to find out more. I experienced my first RTR retreat in January of 2015 as a speaker, and my heart caught hold of something new and fresh that is so needed in today’s culture, in today’s Christianity, in MY life, today:


I walked out of that simple weekend of fellowship, of ministry, of being OKAY watching Anne of Green Gables and not doing emails, of praying through scripture - and I left changed. I contacted Ruthie and told her - I’m in. I would love, LOVE to be part of this again.

And so we began brainstorming, talking, face timing about how we can offer this retreat again to women who crave it. So without further ado, Return to Rest is coming back better than ever! If you’re considering coming, I wanted to share 4 reasons why 2017 is going to be our best retreat yet!

1. The People: Y’all, I’m just going to take a second and brag on my sweet friend Ruthie. Her heart is for ministry, for women, for rest, is incredible. She is the founder of this retreat, and she puts the love on every woman that enters the precious home on Merrymeeting Lake where we host it. Our worship leader is an incredibly gifted lady who loves Jesus… a lot. And don’t even get my started on the food! The chef, who happens to be Ruthie’s sister, made the most delicious, home-made food I’ve ever had. (Not even kidding - we were all begging for her menu and recipes when we left.) And we honestly believe that every person who registers for this retreat, who craves soul rest and community, is MEANT to be there. We already have a group of women ready to sign up, and we believe every person who is coming is meant to be there.

2. The Content: This feels a bit weird to say since I’m the speaker, but goodness there is some really good content and truth that will be poured into each attendee.  God has been working on my heart for some time now (honestly about 2 years) about this theme of rest. He ALREADY is giving me words of truth, Biblical lessons, sermons, books, and straight life lessons that are meant for this retreat! And I cannot wait to share what he’s given. 

3. The Intimacy: There are limited spots available - for a reason! Only 8 ladies are able to come, because that’s literally the amount of beds we have to offer! It creates an environment of intimacy, where we all leave friends. And that is truly the point.

4. The Setting: The cozy cabin on Merrymeeting Lake (that is typically frozen solid in February) is like a safe haven where time just seems to stop. It’s intimate, nestled into a neighborhood in New Hampshire, and makes you feel completely off the grid. It’s quiet, small, and beautiful. We all fit around one big table which is my favorite part, and life change happens because we share rooms and share space and get calm before the Lord. It’s the perfect setting for Return to Rest.

So that’s it! Pray about joining us if you need some soul inspiring rest. We would love to have you.

Anna: RTR 2015

- What was one of your biggest takeaways from the Return to Rest Retreat? I constantly think about the fact that God rested on the 7th day of creation. My desire to keep working through the sabbath and resistance to rest is actually a reflection of pride in my heart.

- How has Return to Rest affected your home life / work life / marriage? Its more clear to me what constructive rest is. Rather than plopping down and watching tv for hours, spending time with the Lord, reading, quality time with my husband, etc. has proven to be much more restful, rejuvenating and inspiring.

- Are there any practical rest or Sabbath tips you’d like to share since attending RTR? My life looks a lot different now that I have a baby, but I'm intentional about carving out time to spend with the Lord in "sabbath sessions" during nap time. Those moments of solitude are vital for my emotional and spiritual health!

- What encouragement would you give to someone who is considering registering for our January retreat? I was most blown away by the simple beauty of fellowship & worship with other women who are committed to loving and serving the Lord. I feel like that is hard to find in Boston. It is amazing and refreshing to be AWAY and disconnected from the insanity of day-to-day to truly rest and hear the Lord. It is so worth the time and money. It was just what my soul needed and a weekend I will never forget!!

Return to Rest 2014

Sunday evening had come, and the retreat was over. Each girl had returned back to where she came from, including me. I laid my head down gently on my pillow and stared up at the ceiling. As the thoughts of our weekend in New Hampshire rolled through my head, thankfulness welled up inside.

Flash back to October 2013. An idea was birthed in Ruthie to host a weekend of rest, particularly for women of faith who were in the wedding industry. One thing led to another, and flash forward to end of January 2014: 13 women in that little cabin on the lake, partaking in a retreat that was only a dream a few months before. Had we known prior how the weekend would turn out, we wouldn't have relied so much on the Lord to do with it what He desired, to do what only He could do -- change hearts.

A dream, when put in the hands of the Father, is made into something beyond what you and I could ever ask or imagine. Four leaders and seven attendees came together from all parts of the U.S. to spend three days in the Word of God and intentionally rest from our everyday work. A loving mother also came to cook us food for the weekend, and a dear friend came to speak to us on our last evening. Who would have thought that within a 72 hour span, we would form such deep bonds of friendship? God knew what He was doing all along, and with great purpose He made a way for each one of us to be there.

Our time was filled with wonderful experiences, from learning how to knit, to eating [way too many] snacks and watching movies, to even venturing out on the frozen Merrymeeting Lake. The weekend obviously incorporated time to physically rest, and we all soaked it up as much as possible. Yet, I believe that one of the sweetest things -- and quite possibly the most important thing -- was that we experienced a recalibration of our mind's attention and our heart's affection, a turning back towards the only One who could give us the true rest we needed, a rest for our souls.

What we learned and discussed that weekend is what I must continually preach to myself. You see, each one of us is so easily tempted to let work be the main thing, to become our core identity. We enjoy striving for goals and serving clients and making things happen (not bad things, by the way). However, if we are not careful to check our hearts, we find that what once was a desire to glorify God has morphed into a desire to glorify ourselves. And on an even deeper level, we are tempted to believe that our spiritual work is necessary to attain and keep God's approval, God's affection, and God's favor. The focus is so deceptively twisted into being all about us and our accomplishments.

And not only that, but we are carriers of fear. We strap on our shoulders the heavy weight of anxiety for the unknown, and if we admit it, we do not trust that God is good and wise and in control of our circumstances. We don't trust that He will keep his promise to provide for our needs. We don't trust that He will complete the work He began in us. We have such little faith, don't we?

Yet at Return To Rest, we took the time to stop, to pray, to read, to listen. We were able to see the roots of this sin in our lives. We were able to share with one another and confess. We were able to relate, to come alongside, to lift up, and to remind each other that our God is not a weak God. He's a strong one, and where there is perfect love, there is no fear. Where there is Christ, there is acceptance by God, not because of what we've done, but because of what He has done on our behalf. In the midst of our failings, we were able to look upon Christ -- the author and perfecter of our faith -- and rest in knowing that the pressure is off... can I say it again? The pressure is OFF, my friends! There is no need whatsoever to strive and struggle for the approval of the world, nor the approval of God. Christ has accomplished ALL/EVERYTHING we could ever need. And if that isn't true rest, then I don't know what is.

I will be forever grateful for this retreat and that we were given an opportunity to marinate in that glorious truth together. I will be forever grateful for the girls who came with open hearts and who taught me more about the Lord. He was abundantly good to us. My prayer is that each one of us continues to walk alongside and challenge each other, that we would be women of the word and of prayer, and that we would write these words upon our hearts and recall them often: "Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you." (Psalm 116:7 ESV) - Kristin (worship leader for RTR 2014)