Well I know we've all enjoyed the many post floating around blog land about last week-ends Created for Care retreat; but there's still more. This mama has been up to her neck in work this week but I'm finally taking a few minutes to add my two cents (and some pics). If you didn't go, I'm sorry, you are probably worn out from all the hype.... but it was a pretty amazing retreat. I struggle to call it that because I'm not certain it qualified as a retreat. More like a power house packed full of crazy women spurring one another on to a high calling. That beats a retreat in my book ANY day! Except I will say, the worship and "date with God" did bring about a sweet rest in Jesus.
About an hour out from home, I knew God was about to do some big things in my heart. My travel buddies included my sis-in-law Sonia, my sweet friend from church Liz, and our brand new precious friend Anna. It's a whole God story in and of itself how Anna and I met just a few weeks ago. We had never laid eyes on one another until she drove up at my house for us to head to Georgia to spend the week-end together. Awkward? Nope, not at all.... sisters at heart all along. We just had to wait until our hearts (and babies) were in Ethiopia to meet one another. Here we are..... 4 sisters at heart!
Ok, as soon as we arrive at the retreat I am like a wanna-be actress at the golden globes. Camera in hand, I set out to meet, personally, these women I admire so much. I learn from these mama's, I'm inspired by them, I'm encouraged by them, I'm challenged by them and now, holy cow, I'm about to spend a week-end worshiping with them. What a blessing!
Here's just a few of us....
I got to introduce my s.i.l. to my friend Jenni from Mississippi. She and her husband are waiting on their baby from Ethiopia.
My girls laughed at me for taking my camera to the welcome time when we first arrived. Well, look who I saw as soon as I walked in... Miss Lucy Lane the rock star.
Her mama Kristi is pretty cool too. She taught those of us bringing home African babies a thing or two about how to "get the hair right". : ) Lord help me not to mess this up.
I want bore you with all the details and anyway God is still unraveling all that I left there with. I'm slow.... this could take Him a while. ; )But, I do want to say a few things about what God showed me clearly. First of all, it was so evident that the Spirit of the LORD was all over this place. He knew these ordinary, worn out, stressed out, overworked mamas needed HIM and needed each other. Never before have I been in a place with this many girls who share such a strong passion and it just happens to be one of the things He's most passionate about..... HIS children. And HE was there! At one point during worship I could feel His presence so heavy that I could not stand.... all I could do was fall to my knees.
God showed me clearly that the only thing worse than being an orphan is being an HIV+ orphan. For the past few months God has been stirring my heart for these children and I still don't know exactly why. I do know that He has opened my eyes to the truth of their fate AND the misconceptions about their illness. I originally signed up for 3 break out sessions at the retreat but felt the Lord tugging me to skip one and go to the HIV session. I walked into the room filled with a good fear and left changed forever. The coolest part was when I found out that of the 50 women in the room, only 25 had originally signed up. How cool is that?!!
Through His servant Susan Hillis, God reminded me not to just be content with being heart broken for the things that break His heart; but my heart should be filled with the things that fill His heart. That means my heart needs to be overflowing with compassion, mercy, sacrificial love, righteousness, faithfulness, selflessness, and kindness just to name a few. Wow... a heart like HIS, that's what I want.
Well, I'm sure there is more to come as the LORD works all of this out in His timing. I don't know where He's taking me from here but I'm so thankful He has found me worthy of this calling. And, I'm equally as thankful for the company I'm in. It was absolutely divine to spend a week-end with 250 sisters that are passionate about the 147 million orphans in this world AND they love Jesus enough that they would rather be radical and crazy than be content in this world.
Here is the master mind, God fearing supermama behind this amazing retreat. How adorable is her juicy little man?
Thank you Andrea for an amazing time with the Defender of the fatherless.