The Post-It & Brown Bag Activity for Women’s Retreats

A while back, I asked readers to share their favorite retreat activities and compiled them in the post 20 Activity Ideas for Christian Women’s Retreats. Susan Bolinger from Bloom Ladies Ministry shared this amazing Post-It & Brown Bag activity for healing hurts and letting Christ take our baggage.

I’m so thankful Susan took the time to share this activity with us. I can just imagine how impactful this brown bag activity is and can’t wait to try it out at a retreat.

image of cross, hammer, nails with title text overlay - Letting Jesus Heal What Hurts

Directions for the Post-It & Brown Bag Activity by Susan Bolinger

At the beginning of every Ladies Retreat, I hand out to every attendee a pad of Post-Its and a brown lunch bag.

Each lady will write their name on the outside of the bag, along with the words… “My Baggage”. They can even decorate their bag and draw flowers on it to individualize it or whatever they choose.

Everyone’s bag is confidential – absolutely no peeking in someone else’s bag! This is a very emotional experience and is in a more serious setting.

The purpose is to help ladies “heal” from wounds they have experienced and then suppressed, instead of processing it and letting it go. Women will tend to hold things in and not think about the hurt they have endured as a way of survival.

We can’t heal if we never get it out of our hearts. As we begin our weekend, we teach various subjects that may include some of the following topics:

  • Forgiveness
  • Inner & Emotional Healing
  • Healing & Deliverance
  • Sexual Purity
  • Power of the Tongue
  • Relationships
  • Soul Ties, etc.

If at any time during our sessions a lady remembers something that hurt her emotionally, physically, or mentally, she would write it down on the post-it, peel it off the pad and place it in her bag.

Ladies would write things down such as rejection, anxiety, un-forgiveness, fear, hurt, anger, bitterness, divorce, feelings of revenge, child molestation, rape, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and definitely people’s names of those who had inflicted pain upon them at some point in their lives.

Dozens of notes will be dropped into their bags. They would keep their bag with them the entire weekend, through every session.

After the last session was complete, I would bring in a 7 ft. cross and lay it on the floor in the middle of the room. I have slow worship music playing softly in the background to help welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit to minister to each lady.

One by one, the ladies would bring their “baggage” to the cross. I would hand them a very large nail that was about 8 inches long [the last 1/3 of the nail would be painted in red].

Each lady would then kneel down and nail their own baggage to the cross. This is very hard for some and easy for others.

The sound of the hammer hitting that nail will send chills through you. Weeping will come forth as they lay their burdens down and truly give them to Jesus.

When each lady is finished nailing their baggage to the cross and they stand up, I, along with the other ministry leaders will pray over each one and pray blessings over their life and they move forward with a lighter load.

After every lady and gone through this process, then I will ask each lady to come back to the cross, get their nail and “baggage” and we immediately go outside where I have a bonfire burning. It is there each lady can put their “baggage” in the fire to see it literally disappear in front of their eyes.

I make sure every single post-it is completely burned and nothing is left but ashes. That’s just what Jesus does with our sins. He takes them, covers them with his blood and they are gone – never more to be used against us.

I let the ladies keep their nails to remember what they have done. They have created an event, a moment in time where when the enemy tries to bring up their pasts to use against them and discourage them, then that lady can quickly remind Satan how she nailed those sins to the cross, they are gone and that he must flee in the name of Jesus Christ.

I have used this activity at every single retreat I have done and it is the most freeing experience I have ever encountered. It truly is a life changing moment.

Post-It & Brown Bag Activity Materials Needed:

Post-it pads for every attendee

Brown paper lunch bags

Sharpies/colored markers to put names on bags

7 ft. cross

8-in x 3/8-in nail [Spike]

Red paint to paint bottom of nail


Lighter fluid


Additionally, this truly helps each lady “get out” what is tucked deep inside them but in a confidential manner where they don’t have to say things out loud.

God knows and only He can cover those sins and hurts. There is no need to share those things in a public manner. It’s kept in strict confidence.  

If someone does share a testimony, we ask that every lady keeps those things private and not share with anyone else.

It’s truly amazing how many burdens are lifted from doing this activity.

Be sure to check out 20 Activity Ideas for Christian Women’s Retreats for more ideas.

image of women nailing bags to cross
Yield: as many as needed

Post-It & Brown Bag Activity for Christian Women's Retreats

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Emotional

This Post-It & Brown Bag Activity will touch everyone's hearts at a women's ministry event as it helps them give the baggage they carry to Christ.


  1. Give each woman a brown bag and a pad of Post-It Notes
  2. Have them write their name and 'My Baggage' on their bag and decorate it if they want
  3. If at any time during the day a lady remembers something that hurt her emotionally, physically, or mentally, she should write it down on the post-it, peel it off the pad and place it in her bag.
  4. After all sessions are finished, have the 7 foot cross ready and also have a campfire started outside,
  5. Give each person a nail with the bottom third painted red and instruct them to take their baggage and nail it to the cross.
  6. Pray over every one individually.
  7. Ladies will go back to the cross to get their bag and nail.
  8. Take the bags to the campfire and let them burn completely.
  9. The ladies can keep their nails as a reminder of the activity.


We can’t heal if we never get it out of our hearts. This activity works very well for:

  • Forgiveness
  • Inner & Emotional Healing
  • Healing & Deliverance
  • Sexual Purity
  • Power of the Tongue
  • Relationships
  • Soul Ties, etc.


image of brown bag, post-it notes, and highlighters with title text overlay - Post It and Brown Bag Activity
collage of women nailing brown bags on a cross with title text overlay - Post-it and Brown Bag Activity

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  1. I have personally gone through Bloom Ministries Retreats on three occasions and I can say with 100% certainty this activity will be the most powerful activity for your ladies retreat. Susan Bolinger has a heart for godly women and their daily struggles. If you haven’t experienced a Bloom Ladies Retreat, I would definitely recommend it.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I can’t wait to do this activity with a group of ladies. I know it will be powerful and healing! ~Julie

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