How can I describe this adventure, this journey, this celebration that I attended and do it justice? I probably cannot because it was focused on God, and as we all try to describe HIM, nothing ever perfectly describes Him. He is truly the Aplha and Omega, the King of Kings, My Redeemer, My Deliverer, my Father. And I am: HIS Beloved, HIS Princess, HIS daughter, HIS new creation, HIS Warrior, and I am HIS. (hear that Satan, HIS, not yours!)
We studied Esther. It’s no surprise to me that Esther is what came up A LOT. The theme was found in Esther “For Such A Time as This.” It’s encouraging. It’s truly my favorite book in the Bible and has been speaking to me over the last year. I have three different study books on it and haven’t finished a single one! Of course Beth Moore also recently released her Esther workbook and just as my church was going to begin it, I moved to AZ. That was heartbreaking! Of course this all means that I now have an opportunity to share it with the ladies of Oasis. I think this summer will be a perfect opportunity while we are taking a break from small groups! I said all that to finally say, I am going to conquer Esther and finally see what God is trying to tell me through this book in HIS WORD. I’ve read it numerous times, but never truly studied it. I’ve purchased the VeggieTales version of Esther and will watch all the movies featuring her. And how awesome is the name “Mordecai”? It is Hebrew and means Warrior. I love that.
Okay, so back to the retreat/conference thing. We had a great time. We learned a lot about each other and God this weekend. I don’t think one person wasn’t changed in some way. We had ten ladies from the church attend and it was the perfect number. It was the perfect fit for the room, the van, the dining hall tables, and to get to know each other more. It wasn’t too big to lose people, but too small for others to get “cliquey” either. Perfect as God always is and works things out.
Our main speaker was Sheila Jones. It was my first time hearing her teach and wow is she truly blessed and used by God. She is marvelous in her transparency, her teaching skills, her quirks, even her hill-billy West Virginia accent! (yay for something familiar!!) I learned a lot from her teaching. She’s a fellow lover of the Old Testament and Hebrew and what words mean and how God is woven into the culture. Her testimony of the past few years is brilliant. God has really used her life and helped her overcome the ugly sin and torment of this world. She told us that God had us hear what He wanted us to hear through her words, each uniquely to our own circumstances this weekend. I couldn’t agree more. God speaks to us differently according to OUR needs. What other god can boast this?
We had mini breakout sessions to choose from as well. I attended ones about coupons/saving money, how to share faith, and getting over it. Of the ones I attended, the best was getting over it $ …. learning how to overcome those little offenses people will throw at you daily with your permission. We don’t need the offender to say “I’m Sorry”, we need Jesus to teach us to forgive them and get over it! We also learned that Satan uses people to be bait. Which, if we think about we already knew, but we normally allow that to be a reason to stop talking and loving that person who offended us. We should really be fighting with Satan and attacking him. No more baiting, hooking, and sinking into a trap…( I’ll probably post more on this later!)
The retreat was held at Lost Canyon Resort, which is a Young Life camp. It was gorgeous. They have loads of outdoor activities and such, but we did not participate in them. They only had the leap of faith, giant swing, pool, and hot tub open for us. We decided to stay in our rooms and get to know each other more, sleep, get coffee at their coffee house, or just simply walk the campus. We had less than 2 hours of free time to do this, which is fine, but I was really tired of sitting 12 hours or more every.single.day. There were no breaks in which to stand. It was sessions, sessions, session. We had chocolate at every.single.meal, too…even breakfast! That was overwhelming. Overall, it was a great time and I have loads of things to write about that I learned, but for now… I’ll cut it ‘short.’
Oh yeah, Sunday, yesterday was Chris’ birthday. He’s out in the field so he didn’t get to celebrate. I still have his cheesecake in the fridge, though and he got his present a month early (XBOX 360 & etc.) So he should be happy with that.