Truly, God's gifts put men's best dreams to shame. I didn't imagine, when I wrote this quote as my sista and I decorated for the upcoming Retreat, that He would do so far abundantly above what I could have asked or thought. I can't fully impart in words the comraderie, the joy, the heart-changes, the healing- all the beautiful things my faithful Lord did at the Young Women's Retreat. It was a privilege witness His faithfulness and love yet again.
The Retreat was held at my Grandmother's home, and my dear sister Chels and I went the evening before the Retreat to decorate. Our goal was an aura of softness, femininity, and beauty.
My sister created this lovely large table by combining three 8ft tables and table clothes.
Coffee Central!!! This table was very very beloved and oft-visited. Vast amounts of coffee were consumed-I believe we drank upwards of six eighteen-cup pots of coffee! The non-coffee-drinkers (poor things) enjoyed tea or hot cocoa.
The first evening we enjoyed a scrumptious Italian dinner prepared by Chelsy. Lasagna, Garlic Green Beans, Salad, and French Bread was the evening's fare.
A dreamy Layered Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting completed the gourmet repast.
My sweet Aunt Wanda shared her journey of falling in love with Jesus, along with tips on understanding/accepting God's grace and love, and cultivating intimacy with Jesus. She challenged us that, "It's not about the things we do, but the relationship we have with Jesus." We were reminded that "We aren't His daughters because of worth, but because of birth". She encouraged us to "shut off the noise" in our lives at times so that we can be quiet before Him.
There were many back rubs given during our time together; what girl doesn't like a good back rub?!
Mrs. Alzen shared a sweet challenge on the Beauty of the Secret Place. A few notes from her talk:
-If your joy is not FULL, why? Am I not abiding in Him, is there sin in my life, or am I wallowing in condemnation?
-Instead of prayer being a duty, it is an intimate relationship.
-Jesus is SO trustworthy!
-If I am not taking the little moments to fill from the Fountain, then my cup is empty.
-"Always be full so you can always be giving, because you cannot pour from an empty cup." (Jim Elliot)
Lunch was light, girly food- warm spinach artichoke dip, hummis, mango salsa, veggies, chip and crackers, chocolate covered strawberries, and chocolate dipped pretzel sticks.
My mother shared a beautiful talk on the True Heart of Modesty. She challenged us with the following points:
1) What does God see? Since He looks at our heart, that needs to be our FIRST priority.
2) What do others see? Your face is the most important thing you can wear. Let your smile be your most important asset.
3) How can I improve my wardrobe? Invest in basic, quality staples.
She left us with this thought to ponder- "Look like you belong to Jesus. Dress like a daughter of the King."
There were rousing games of Dutch Blitz.........
..and more back rubs!
Lasting friendships were forged as the young women met and shared their hearts with other young women on the same journey of loving Jesus!
There was a spontaneous worship session. This adventure consisted of piling into two cars and driving to my house, where we violins and piano were played and voices lifted.
Grandma graciously her home for me to host the Retreat at. Pictured above is Grandma with some of the girls.
A bunch of us did minty green face masks late one night. We commemorated our rather startling green complexions with this photo!
Make-up sessions were conducted for those who wished to have their make-up done. Various make-up techniques, products, and such were discussed.:)
There was sharing of hearts and much laughter as we learned and rejoiced together in our journey as young women.
Time alone with Jesus was sweet. Much journaling and heart searching was done.
Conversations with kindred spirits were plentiful.
All manner of luggage was plentiful as well.:)
This game was the source of much hilarity! If you've never played "Signs", I highly recommend it!
The girls helped set the table with happy turqoise for our last meal together.
Warm cinnamon rolls and other delicicies graced the table.
The girls totally surprised me with a basket full of lovely gifts! There was one for Chels, too, and we were blown away by their thoughtfulness.
This is our whole group, and in this group are many stories of how the Lord led them to the retreat and of beautiful things He is doing in their lives.
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:2-21)
-posted by Allison