Sunday, May 22, 2011

SHE Recap.

inspiration: SHE Retreat 2011

strong. healthy. encouraged.
this is what the SHE Retreat is all about - bringing together college/20something women from all walks of life and building us up as strong and encouraged women for Christ.

we went to Garden City, SC and we were a short walk from the beach. it was awesome.
i will admit, though, our accommodations weren't what i was expecting -- i was expecting a nice like hotel-like room, but i honestly didn't know what to expect. we stayed in a summer-camp-like room with bunk beds. and they were sketch. it creaked when i climbed up to the top bunk and if i moved, i was afraid it was going to collapse. (and actually, one girl's bunk did break and she fell through -- she called it and kept saying she was going to fall, but she is okay!!). and it smelled really funky. but God was definitely present the entire weekend and definitely met me where i was, despite my skepticism and sarcastic comments about the beds.

Friday night we got there, claimed our bunks, ate dinner, watched "One Night With The King" (based on the story of Esther) and cut up magazines to make collages on composition notebooks that we received in our "goodie bags".

Saturday, we ate breakfast, had quiet time and started our first session, led by Katie Walters, studying Mary and Martha. some things i took away from Katie's message was that i need to focus on the things of heaven, not of earth.

"We cannot mistake proximity to Jesus with intimacy with Jesus." -Katie Walters

it's easy to get caught up in the fact that we go to church, go to small group, go on retreats. but we must invite him into our hearts, spend time focused on HIM.

katie talked about how Mary and Martha were two completely different people. but how they weren't trying to be each other. they found their identity in Christ. and through the stories in Luke 10 and John 12, they were encouraged in different ways by Jesus -- Martha to fully surrender and to trust and believe Jesus more; Mary to love more extravagantly.

i know that for me, i was encouraged in my "Martha"-ness to trust and believe more in Jesus. to allow Him to be my everything!

after breakout groups and lunch, we spent the afternoon at the beach! it was awesome!
i was able to get to hang out with my friend, danyelle, from theWell and met some new friends as well). it was a great time of fellowship.
danyelle and i were the first ones in the water and us and a few other girls just hung out in the water and had some good conversations and laughs and enjoyed the company and the waves. we laid out for a while, but after a couple hours, we went back to the room, showered, and napped.

Saturday evening, we had dinner and another session, this time led by Lisa Surratt. she shared the story of Esther and how Esther stood up and saved the Jewish people. (check out the book of Esther for her story - it's amazing).

Lisa took it "old school" and used a felt board with pictures to help illustrate the story. along with pictures of characters, she also put up three words during the presentation of Esther's story: chosen, His will, time

Esther was chosen.
she knew her purpose.
i have a purpose as well.

Esther was following His Will for her life.
something Lisa said that struck me: "Don't settle for anything less than His will for you."
sometimes, we get impatient and want to take matters into our own hands.

which brings us to the last word: time.
Esther waited on God's timing.
God's timing is always perfect.
the book of Esther (though it never explicitly mentions God, had God's timing and hand and provision written all throughout it).

Lisa's message to us came down to this: "You were chosen to do His will for such a time as this!"
we have a plan and purpose here, wherever we are, and He is going to pull through for us.
we are his queens. we are his daughters. and He loves us soooo much!!

this morning, we went to the chapel that is owned by the retreat center we stayed in.
talk about completely different from the atmosphere of Seacoast and Grace that i'm so accustomed to! but it was still completely awesome!

Mel Alm led our third session about Deborah (check out Judges 4-5) and shared with us some principles of leadership that we can take away from Deborah's story.

wisdom, courage, and faith.
Mel used a great illustration about good leaders who are imparting wisdom and courage:
there are two seas in the Holy land: the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee.

the Dead Sea has a high salt content and isn't conducive to life.
the Sea of Galilee on the other hand that is thriving. there are villages all around the Sea of Galilee. the difference is this: in the Dead Sea, water flows in, but not out; whereas the Sea of Galilee has a water flowing into it, but it is always flowing out.

the same illustration applies to us when it comes to wisdom and courage: if we are taking in wisdom, but doing nothing with it, we cannot thrive. we can only thrive when we are taking in wisdom and SHARING it and imparting courage (encouraging) others in our walks with Christ.

and all of this goes back to our faith in Christ. our wisdom and courage must be rooted in our faith in Him.

Mel's session was probably my favorite of the three. it really encouraged me to be more like the Sea of Galilee.

after "Sunday School/session 3", we attended church. it was great! at theWell, we started a study of Romans and Pastor Robert's sermon was from Romans 3 (specifically 3:19-31) about how we are guilty of sin, but Christ was the propitiation for our sins, and because of his sacrifice, we are innocent! it was an absolutely awesome message! while the music and atmosphere was completely out-of-my-element a bit (i sang out of a hymnal for the first time since i was like 12!!), it was absolutely phenomenal.

it was a great reminder of how God works in awesome amazing ways and that as long as we're studying and meditating on His word, He can speak to us even when it's during circumstances that we're uncomfortable and not used to.

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