Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Free to be Happy!

As most of you know, my March has been insane. I was away the first weekend for the youth group snow camp. Then the following weekend was Kirsten's dedication. After that was a weekend away for scrapbooking. So last Thursday, I was really debating whether or not to attend our church's women's retreat. I really wanted to, but with all the time away, plus working, business, etc, I was feeling the need to stay at home and relax. But, in the back of my head, I heard a voice saying: "Go." I was pretty sure it was God telling me to go, so I decided to brave the 3-hour drive with a 5-month old AGAIN, and see what would come of it.

All I can say is WOW. God knew what he was doing when He told me to go - imagine that! Kirsten did have a hard time in the car, and there were moments that I was thinking: "Why am I doing this to her again?" But we made it there, and thankfully my lovely friend Shan was in the backseat trying to keep her calm. Once we arrived at Blueberry Mountain, we managed to get settled and Kirsten was super happy to be out of the car.

The theme of the weekend was "Free to be Happy", and it was based on a Beth Moore DVD where she talks about the blessing of Asher from Deuteronomy 33. The weekend was a perfect mix of down time and structured time, allowing us to have time to process what we were learning. Friday night we had some fun playing the game "Two Truths and a Lie", and I found out that I was not able to lie as well as I thought! Saturday brought personal devo time, times to watch the DVD and discuss, free time, and of course lots of meals.

I have never done much with Beth Moore before, but I have to say I was completely impressed as well as inspired to truly dig deeper into scripture. It was amazing how God spoke through her directly to me and to my situation. I learned that God truly wants us to be happy, and we can be when we recognize the amazing works that He has done in our lives. That's a very simplified explanation of what I learned - I just don't have the brainpower to go further into detail at the moment.

One of the most moving moments of the weekend for me was when we did the "20 Things I Love" activity in our small groups (we had been broken up into small groups for discussion and activities). We had to make a list of 20 things we love, then read them aloud twice to our group. We then had to turn our chair around while our group "talked behind our back" about us. This was meant to be good things, of course. I sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks as the women in my group said things like "adores family, Proverbs 31 woman, high expectations of self, a woman to look up to, and a fear of letting others down." I was overwhelmed by the love and support of these other women who had listened earlier in the day as I shared my struggles as a new mom and learning to balance it all. And now they offered words of encouragement and support, affirming me in every way. After they were done, I said, "I think I needed to put 'I love crying' on my list, since I seem to be doing that all the time!"

Sunday was our last day, and we had breakfast followed by personal quiet time, and then our final DVD. After the final DVD session with Beth, we had a time of sharing in the big group. It was amazing to hear how many women had contemplated not coming, but once they were there, God moved in them deeply. One woman even shared how Christ had met her there, and she had made a commitment to Him even though she had thought of herself as a "Christian" for years! We rejoiced with her and it was truly amazing to see the change in her face - she was truly HAPPY!

I am so thankful that God prompted me to go this weekend. God truly showed me that I am not alone, and that there are so many women with a wealth of wisdom and experience who are willing to help me in this journey. I am also thankful for dear Shannie who roomed with me and Kirsten so I wouldn't be alone, and gave me an afternoon free so that I could just do whatever I wanted. Although Kirsten screamed for part of it, thankfully she calmed down and I was able to enjoy some quiet time alone.

Well I am off to bed as Kirsten's been sleeping for 2 and 1/2 hours now and she'll probably want to get up early!


Chantelle said...

Your weekend sounds like it was wonderful. Beth Moore is one of my favorite authors. So glad you were blessed!