Thursday, September 20, 2012

Captivating Retreat

Two weekends ago was a great weekend in the lives of some of our Bethabra ladies.  Last year, my friend, Olivia, mentioned to me that she would really like for us to do a ladies' retreat.  The retreat the ladies of Bethabra had been doing for years wasn't going to work out anymore, and it was either time to do something new or time to not do a women's retreat any more.  I felt in the next couple of months that the Father was just laying it on my heart to plan a women's retreat for us.  I asked my friend and one of my favorite people, Melissa Haas, if she could lead our retreat.  Once she said yes, I just knew this was God's best for our ladies and we needed to go forward.  At first, I felt disappointed that the same ladies who went on the usual retreat for many years did not sign up to go on this new kind of retreat.  I felt discouraged and really began to take it personally.  However, I just kept moving on and planning and trusting God.  We ended up taking 12 ladies on the retreat.  It was such an incredible time.  Melissa encouraged me that Jesus started with 12.   She also encouraged me that God would put those who were ready to hear at the retreat.  She was right.  It was an incredible time.  While I would love to have taken a bigger group, and I pray we will grow in the next years, because we were a small group, Melissa was able to do great work with each of us, personally, that probably wouldn't have been able to happen if we had been a larger group.  Thank goodness for the help of Carolyn, Kelli, and Jeanette. 
Look at Kelli and Jeanette's cute door creation to let each lady know where their room was:
More of their handiwork.  I believe Kelli actually cut these letters out with a STENCIL.  Just freehand - are you kidding me????
A gorgeous picture of the lake - our retreat was in Toccoa at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center.
Sunday morning before we took communion together.  We made special boxes to illustrate our bodies and souls that are also on the table.
Our excursion on Saturday afternoon to Toccoa Falls :)  Me, Kelli, Olivia, and Jeanette.
A few things Melissa talked about that really hit home with me:
 - Woman is the crown of God's creation.
 - She was created to be indispensable to Adam
 - We are NEVER , ever alone.  The Father feels my feelings.
 - The Holy Place is my soul.  the essence of sin is looking away from God inside of me.  The promise of God is His presence, NOT His blessing.  I may have pain, but He is with me in the pain.  He fills me with what I need to walk through the pain.
 - We discussed reasons we might be "stuck" in our relationship with Father.  Something might not be healed in our past, He may be challenging us to service Him in a new way, it may be a "nursery" time, or it could be sin in our lives.  I was so fascinated with her illustration of God leaving us in the nursery. 
Melissa Haas is an incredible gifted counselor and speaker.  I love her very much, and I am so grateful for her help in my life 5 years ago when everything fell apart. 
The main thing for me through the weekend was just feeling like God was saying to me, "Remember 5 years ago when it felt like I wasn't there, and then I came?  I came through for you.  I am here for you now just like I was for you then.  I am big enough to handle what you have today just like I was big enough to handle it 5 years ago.  I know you are pouring your life out in service and your heart so wants to see a great work happen.  Hang in.  Just love these ladies.  Love them.  Love them with all your heart and love me.  Just wait.  Keep waiting and keep loving them." was powerful for me.  I felt so thankful to be where we are - so thankful to be a pastor's wife.  I felt a stronger call for that than ever before while we were there at the retreat.  God just confirmed for me in a huge way that we are right where we are supposed to be - and even in the midst of stress and some upset people, and lots and lots of work, and sometimes seemingly little results...HE is big enough to handle it.  He loves me, and I am to love them like He loves me, and that's all that matters.

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