Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Girls's Retreat 2012 (part 1)

I have got so many good thoughts, ideas, plans and experiences from this past weekend. It's almost scary to type them out for all of the world to see. Makes it feel a bit more final. But, as all the ladies kept reminding me, there's going to be another one next year and the planning starts today.

The topic of the retreat was WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
My first note after that is...It comes down to trust.

They started the weekend with a getting-to-know-you session. All the girls had to answer a question from the slip of paper from their table. One was, "What would you like your name to be if you could change it?"Another was, "What's the nicest thing someone has said/done for you?" Another was, "If you could ask God one question, what would it be?" And the most inspiring one to me was, "Who inspires/encourages your faith the most?" When the one girl answered, "my mom..." I set that to memory. I want to be that mom to my girls. I want them to be able to say that I encouraged and helped strengthen their faith.

We had a session on Doubt and being dry spiritually. The girls compiled a list of things that has/could cause them to doubt. Then the leader showed them all of the amazing people in the Bible that doubted and what God still did with them (Abraham, Moses, Job, Elijah, Thomas, David, Peter). Face your doubts. If you're certain of something, there's no need for faith. You shouldn't doubt alone. It takes work to overcome doubt and you should tap into the accumulated wisdom of people who've been there and done that. There will always be things in this world that you do not understand and you're not supposed to. That's where faith steps in. Jesus is the bridge between God and us. He doesn't just love the "good" people. No matter what we do, we can be forgiven. No matter who we are, we can be transformed. Doubt can keep us from being gullible.

"Everyone saw Jesus in the room. He is in the room."

It's hard to believe that you can have as big an impact on the world as Jesus did because He was chosen. (but so are you) What would happen if I truly believed what God said and I stepped out of the boat. If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

The girls were challenged to come up with a local level charity and a national charity that they would like to sponsor or create with $30,000. There were five sets of girls with at least five girls to a table. They were led to believe that the money was real. Half of the girls believed and the other half had doubts. The catch was that they all had to wear labels on their heads (that I spent two days working with, it was good therapy) telling the others at their table how to treat them. Half of the labels had negative reactions like, ignore, second guess, put down, talk over. The other half had positive reactions like, encourage, compliment, be attentive to. It was amazing how after 20 minutes of being treated in these manners that the girls started acting in those ways. The ones that were put down, started to shut down. The ones that were encouraged (and weren't used to it), felt over whelmed. The girls were instructed to close their eyes and all pray together about seeing others as God sees them. The lights were turned off and the black lights were turned on. When the girls opened their eyes, the whole room inhaled by the awesomeness of it all. Everyone's name tags now said, loved, daughter, saint, empowered, highly favored, beloved.
They worked to pull the ones that were knocked down back up and the choices they had to made were done in under 10 minutes. Then they were told that it was just a story and that there really wasn't any money. But they were encouraged to take these ideas that they were passionate about and run with them. They were told that their projects are worth following. The girls at my table wanted to do the parachute drop of Bibles that I had participated in back during Christmas time and to find a was to get medical expertise in a small country that is in need. They also wanted to find a way to support St Jude's and to set up a local disaster relief program (after living through the tornadoes here last year).  The girls were told that nothing spoken over you can have control unless you allow it to. That they need to label people with love and build them up. That we want to behave as God sees them. The girls shared stories that they connected to in their daily lives. How they will be able to relate to people better. They realized that you need support in decisions and that it's hard to do it all by yourself. And that you are not what others say you are. The labels we put on ourselves weigh us down and can turn us into someone we don't want to be. After a while, we start labeling ourselves before the people in our lives can even try to put a label on us. Until you believe what God has said, you will never get out of the boat. The devil will continue to distract us with smoke and mirrors. We have to give our labels away in order to do what we were put on this earth to do. We need to keep praying for God to remind us who we are to Him.

The last session of that night was mine. I got to be the leader of the crafts again. We covered composition notebooks and filled them with phrases that were going to be used throughout the whole weekend. I printed off all kinds of cool fonted words for them to use. We gathered papers, cloth, ribbons, lace, pens, markers, googly eyes, and everything else we stumbled onto. I printed off this picture of the notebooks I had made last year (or was it two).
We inspired the girls to build their own. They were amazing. They hardly needed any help with them and they all turned out so differently.








We finally shuffled them off to bed just after midnight. They ladies finally made me go to bed just after one. My brain had shut down about two hours earlier and my body had started to shut down. I snuggled up in front of the fireplace and slept for 6 hours...well...not completely. My darn brain wouldn't stop talking about all of the great stuff that I had experienced and learned that evening and how excited I was for all that was going to be coming tomorrow.