First off I would like to say that I go to the best church ever, Perimeter Church.
This weekend was Perimeter's Woman's Retreat in Greenville, SC. A lot of churches from all over the US wanted to join us, but it ended up selling out to Perimeter members before those churches even had a chance to register. 650 woman from Perimeter got together for a weekend of worship and praise and let me tell you it was AMAZING!!
The theme of the weekend was to BE. BE still, BE loved, and BE His. I couldn't have asked for a better theme as I need to learn to "BE still" more often. I tend to put many things on my plate. This gets me overwhelmed and then in return I get anxiety and worry.
Ann Voskamp, who wrote a New York Best Times Sellers book, One Thousand Gifts, was one of our speakers for the weekend. I can't tell you how excited I was for this considering I had already read her book and it had already made an impact on me. I didn't realize how much God was going to touch my heart through her over this weekend though. I was like a sponge all weekend soaking up her knowledge.
Here are just some of the notes I took down from Ann's sessions....
*Life is not an emergency, it's a gift from God
*If we really want to BE his, we have to TRUST, belief leaves room for worry
*It's impossible to give thanks and feel fear at the same time
*Anything less than grateful trust is practical atheism
*Pride is wanting to be perfect. Give up your pride and humble yourself. You don't have to have it all together because God has it all together for you
*Whatever you fear is your God because you are choosing to fear that over trusting God
*Perfect love casts out all fears
*Write down 1000 gifts, this is just 1000 ways he loves you
*Satan wants to keep you racing so you don't put your focus on God
*Thanking God for his gifts is what builds trust
*Trust is a bridge between today and tomorrow, if I constantly remind myself what he has already done, I can trust him to get me to tomorrow
*If he didn't withhold his only son, why would he will he not give us everything we need
*AMEN means "I trust"
*Worry should be as ridiculous to you as worry is to a sparrow
*Why be afraid of anything when God is using it for everything
*In a fallen world we all trip
*His love gets into our hearts in the broken places
*When we remember to give thanks the broken pieces of our heart are RE-Membered
So on top of that already wonderful speaker, we had another author speak, Paula Rinehart, who has written; Sex and the Soul of a Woman, What is He Really Thinking, Better Than My Dreams(I bought this one and looking forward to reading it), and Strong Women Soft Hearts. She was only there for one session so I didn't get as many notes as Ann, but she was so wonderful as well.
Here are a few notes from Paula's session...
*I have a home in God
*Keep coming home to this place you have in Jesus, nothing lasts except that
*God runs the toxins out of your soul and brings you back to a place of hope
*The wrath of God is his settled opposition of evil
*We are serving a God we can not manipulate
Then, to top all that off, Laura Story is who lead worship all weekend. Laura is AMAZING! I have the honor to listen to her all the time at church since she leads worship often, but this weekend was incredible. I finally got to meet her and talk to her. She is so nice. I also got to love on her adorable baby! Laura did such an amazing job as always. The songs she picked out for the weekend went with the theme of the weekend and could not have been better. I heard a lady on the elevator say to Laura "I love when you sing really loud because then I can sing loud too". I couldn't agree more! I love to sing loud when Laura leads worship....it feels so good. And she sang her grammy winning song, Blessings...not a dry eye in the place!
A couple of other really cool things happened this weekend. The first one is that I use the One Thousand Gifts app on my phone to add my gifts as I think about them instead of writing them on paper. So I went to show my d-group girls the app and I hadn't entered any gifts for a long time. The last gift I entered was "girl's nights" and with it was a picture of my beautiful friend and next door neighbor, Celeste, and I painting crosses. Celeste passed away later that year on Christmas day. The whole purpose of Ann's book, One Thousand Gifts, is to write down gifts from God so in times of weakness or hopelessness you can reflect. I can't tell you how thankful I am for that girl's night I shared with Celeste and the fact that I wrote it down as one of my gifts from God because it was a HUGE gift from God.
So here's the other amazing thing that happened over the weekend....I have always wanted to volunteer my photography services to something. I have prayed about what that would look like. Recently I have continued to think about taking pictures for families after they have adopted a child. I shared this with my d-group leader on the way up to the retreat. During the weekend she ended up meeting someone who is in charge of Promise 686. Promise 686 is a non-profit ministry that helps people with the adoption process at our church. So, she introduced me to this lady and I told her what my idea was. She said they have always wanted to provide that service for the families, but have not had the funds to do so...that's where I come in. I can't wait to see what happens with this. God is always working.
So the biggest take away from the weekend is count your blessings, count them over and over and over. I don't want to be a believer in God, I want to be a TRUSTER of God. The more I count my blessings, the more I remember how great HE is.
Unfortunately I forgot my camera and my pajama pants so I was not able to take pictures of the weekend and had to sleep without pants in bed with Laura!! Thanks for not judging Laura!!! (Not, Laura Story, the Laura in my d-group!)