By Carole Lewis and Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Do you need a break from your hectic fast-paced life? If you ever struggle with balancing body and soul then what you need is a spiritually strengthening spa. It has the usual spa treats, such as manicures, pedicures and massages. However, it includes a decidedly Christian atmosphere with speakers who make for a week like no other spa.
The nation’s leading Christian weight-loss program, First Place, hosts a Christian Spa Week at the gorgeous Round Top Retreat Center in the heart of Texas every October. The goal is for participants to learn what it means to live a life of balance. Participants come from several states in the U.S. as well as Canada.
A week- long retreat sponsored by a weight-loss program could be a set-up for a spirit-challenging journey through starvation and self-deprivation. But it’s not. It is in fact a week where all the meals (delicious First Place recipes) are provided along with the support and encouragement of a resident dietician. Add to that exercise classes taught by experts, inspirational Bible studies, massage therapy, antiques and quilts everywhere, presentations by First Place founder Carole Lewis and others, and lots of free time to walk, reflect, rest, read or study and you have a rich schedule of recreation and restoration. You have everything you need for a real retreat including the very evident lack of television, internet and ringing phones.
Round Top Retreat is a beautiful Christian retreat center nestled at the edge of Texas hill country. The retreat is full of rose gardens and trails for walking. There are rocking chairs on all of the porches, which invite participants to get to know each other.
This year the Bible study for the week came from the brand new Renewing Hope study. Additionally, pedometers were given to all who attended. Each participant was encouraged to walk 10,000 steps per day. At the end of the week, ten had accomplished that goal and the entire group had walked 1,465,418 steps (732 miles). Others participated in aerobics, pilates, strength training and flexibility classes, while many enjoyed riding bicycles throughout the beautiful countryside.
The retreat schedule concluded with Saturday morning excursions around the area, a Saturday night hamburger cookout in the barn and a Sunday morning worship service on the patio of the Inn House.
Comments from participants were exuberant… my doctor was so impressed with the program, spa week, my loss and my blood sugar…a gift from heaven…sanctuary with God and His people…practical solutions for a healthy lifestyle based on balance…unforgettable week…my soul has been refreshed…a unique and special place…I found Christ here.
For more information about the First Place Christian Spa Week go to www.firstplace.org. You can receive support to develop a Christian spa retreat in your area by contacting us with the subject line I WANT TO START A SPA.

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