Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Perfect Blend

Earlier this month, I attended the Ladies' Retreat with our church. The theme was "The Perfect Blend: Living Above the Daily Grind". Let me tell you, the team goes all out with the theme too- all kinds of coffees (and teas and hot chocolate) and snacks, a insulated mug gift, team names, decorations and much more. Our speaker, Martha Johnson, even titled and taught her sessions with the coffee theme.

Mrs. Martha enjoying some quiet time before a session
This year, we were out in Glen Rose, at a marvelous retreat center. The rooms were so nice, comfy beds, big bathrooms, and beautiful grounds along the Paluxy River (where dinosaur footprints have been discovered). The staff was so nice, and the chef made amazing meals! This was a huge step up from our youth-camp like place last year. The weather was fantastic, too- cool mornings turned into nice days. Each room had a balcony, too. Just gorgeous! Bonus, we were close to town. Glen Rose town square is a quaint little place with a handful of boutiques and antique shops. We had some free time on Friday to explore and really enjoyed ourselves.

We had craft time. We decorated bookmarks with our "life verse"- a verse that encourages us or has spoken to our hearts. Later, in devotion time with small groups, we traded bookmarks and explained why that verse was significant to us. Now, I have a verse and bookmark from a friend, that reminds me to pray for them. We also got to decorate an apron with paint, material, ribbon, and other crafty things. It's amazing to see the creativity of the ladies of the church and how each of us managed to create something different.

One of the things most ladies look forward to is the baskets. Oh my! This is an experience! People donate items to be used in themed baskets- like Christmas, home, cooking, scrapbooking, chocolate, etc. The team puts together the baskets and puts them on display. Ladies buy tickets to put in drawings for whatever baskets they would like to win. I'd say there were at least 50 different baskets this year. There are also a handful of auction type baskets. All the money went to the church for a need- this year, new lawn equipment. Not long before the last session, tickets are drawn and winners pack away their baskets. Yup, I won two of the seven baskets I was hoping for!!!!!
Yes, there was lots of fun times. But, there was also great time learning more about God's Word. A few of the points that stuck in my head were
  • God's plan is to fullfill HIS purpose. It is a process until we are the product He needs.
  • Why is (fill in the blank) happening? To reveal things about myself and to perfect me. I Peter 5:10
  • All resentment is rooted in unmet expectations
  • When we ignore God, it grieves Him. When I'm grieved, I don't say much. Is it like that with God?
  • Just like coffee, we can be weak (Matt. 6:30-34), bitter (Eph 4:31-32), stale (1 Corin. 15:58) and cold (Psalm 119:97-115).
  • Having the "Perfect Blend" means being "rooted and grounded in love" (Eph. 3:17). God's unending, perfect love.

At the end of the last session, we take our burdens, big or small to God. We privately write them on a paper, fold them up and staple them to the cross. It is an incredible feeling taking it to Him and leaving it there. Now, even as I type this, I realize that I've tried to "take back" what I gave Him. I have to remember that in God's awesomeness, He will take care of it. I cannot, in my humanness, begin to understand God's greater plan for me. I have to "let go and let God". That's the purpose of taking it to the cross, to lay it down and let go.

I'm already looking forward to next year's retreat. I'm planning for my mom and a college friend to join me too. If you happen to be in the Fort Worth area next October and want to experience Christian fellowship and growth, I'd love to have you along, too.