It has been so long since I have written on this post. I spent most of the time away from here, preparing for my first One Day Women's Retreat. For the past few years my church has held a weekend Women's Retreat in either March or April at our Methodist Camp in Okoboji Iowa. It goes from Friday evening thru Sunday noon. It is a wonderful weekend filled with fellowship, rest, scripture, teaching, food and renewal. For the past 2 years I have been privileged to be part of the team that plans and leads the retreat. Since our last retreat in April I have felt God calling me to put on a few one day retreats throughout the year. So in August after God kept nudging me I picked up the calendar and filled in the days that I would lead the retreats. Last Saturday was the first. I'm doing this all on my own without a team to help. At least that's how the first one went. It was a great time. Although I had wished that many women would come, God blessed me with 7 wonderful women. 5 had been on the retreats before and 2 hadn't attended any. One of those two was my oldest daughter Ashley. It was a blessed day to have her there and sharing in it with me. She has come such a long way and I am so proud of her. She was welcomed by all the women (these are women who have been praying for her and our family and mean so much to me) and even felt comfortable enough to share her thoughts and feelings throughout the day. At one point as she was sharing, I looked at her and realized that she is an adult. A young woman about to turn 24! It brought tears to my eyes and my heart felt full. At that moment I thanked God once again for this journey that we have been on and for delivering us out of the storm that pounded down on us for such a long time.
The theme of the retreat was "Seeking Growth". We went over the 5 holy habits that we need to help us grow spiritually: Scripture, prayer, self-control, silence/solitude & service. It was a day of self-reflection, journaling, scripture surfing, song and fellowship. I felt God's presence the entire day, as I heard women share there thoughts and feelings. One quote that was read was from Freya Stark, "There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do." How true that is. If I am living my life differently from what I truly believe in, I will be living an unbalanced life. If I strive to keep up with everyone else while losing my true self, how can I be the person God wants me to be? If I give in to the demands of others, while jeopardizing my integrity, how can I look myself in the mirror and be happy? Everyday we need to be re-evaluating who we are, who God wants us to be and where God wants us to go.
We are all called to be servants of God. Whether it be in how we behave towards others or helping out in our churches, communities and world. We need to remember that as we live our lives, people are watching us. Do we want them to see Jesus when they see us? or do we want them to see someone who is in it just for themselves?
"Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your heart." - Matthew 6:4-6