So the thought of attending a weekend retreat with total strangers terrified me. With the encouragement of my husband, I clicked submit and marked my calendar for August 7-9: The First Ever Five Minute Friday Retreat.
And y'all, let me just say this:
These are my people
The Heart of Jesus is the way I'd describe these women. Amazing women. Women who are now a part of me.
As a writer....and yes, because of these women, I can boldly say, I am a writer.....I've learned so much in such short amount of time.
I was reminded that we are the body of Christ. We've each been given different spiritual gifts, different life paths, and different hopes and dreams and realities. But in all of this, we need to be content with our own journey, our own path. We need to realize, as Mary said, "My big is someone else's ordinary."
And for me, the Five Minute Friday Retreat was my BIG, very big.
Where else can you walk through the door not knowing what's on the the other side and be greeted by strangers who already know you?
Where else can the theme of the weekend, whether woman planned or God planned is bravery, when you feel like the least brave person you know?
What else can make you feel a little empty when you walk away from it that last day?
Y'all, these are my people.
I'll never forget Martha's sweet manner.
I'll never forget Janel's contagious personality.
I'll never forget listening to Kate read about Spanx as we laughed til we cried.
I'll never forget praying for Christy and Melinda when they were stranded with a flat tire even though I'd never met them in real life.
I'll never forget praying for women that I'd never know, only God would know, as I cut denim petals.
I'll never forget dinner at Hadley's with fried everything and saying a few Spanish words with that southern twang.
I'll never forget sweet Haven and the joy she brought to us.
The first time to leave my family and do something on my on, by myself, for myself.
The first time eating grits.
The first time cooking with black beans (Thank you Mollie for letting me know I needed to rinse them!).
The first time sharing my writing face to face.
The first time connecting with women on a different level than I am used to.
The first time using my bar of Zest to wash my hair because I grabbed body lotion instead of shampoo.
I admit.....It would have been easy, oh, so easy for me to back out. With Space Camp, Army Training, Soccer Tournaments.....yes, I could have easily said it just wasn't the right time for me. I was a too busy. I wasn't quite ready to jump into this.
God gave me a peace of mind. He never gave this socially backwards girl a nervous heart. He sent me right where He wanted me. And Kate, I agree with you. We were meant to be there.
I take away from this experience many things. New friendships. Wisdom. Memories. I take away a little piece of the bravery shared through our devotions. I take away gifts from obedience and following through with what God has asked me to do. I take away the reminder that as a writer, I am called to write TRUTH. My audience isn't necessarily you, the blog readers, my audience is Christ. When I click publish, my words should reflect His Truth. His Love. His Mercy. His Grace. His Hope. His Redemption. His Story.
And that's what I've found in these women. I've found that He lives in their hearts and in them, they have a story to tell, and as Kaitlyn says, a story that matters. We matter. We matter as women, as mothers, as daughters of the One True King.
And y'all, these are my people. These are my sisters. Forevevermore, because of a little thing God put in the heart of Lisa-Jo Baker and she passed along to Kate Motaung, these five minutes we spend on Fridays, knit together a bond that is strong, that is pure, that is God created.
I'm grateful. I'm grateful for the time spent with these women. For their love, their sincerity. I'm thankful that although we are all different, no judgement was passed. Our insecurities were out the door because of love, because of kindness, because of compassion.
I am grateful for these people, my people.
Love and hugs to you all until we meet in real life again!