My overnight bag thrown over one arm, my purse on another we walked to the front desk to check in. After we were checked in, we went for some dinner. We returned to the hotel our bellies stuffed with taco goodness. We walked to the ballroom and looked for a table big enough to hold all of us. Here we were a group of girls from my college ministry with me as their leader for the weekend. We were attending our first Women’s Retreat held by our church. As we searched around I saw an open table. Of course, the only table that had enough seats would be at the front of the room. The weekend was full of fun, worship, time to share, and truth spoken by Godly women.
Last weekend I learned some vital wisdom for ministry:
The Importance of Fun
“Ashlee, Lighten Up.” Is a phrase I have heard more often than I would like to admit to you. Fun has never been my specialty, in fact I often have relied on my husband to be the fun one. I was excited as I watched my girls go from nervous to bold as they walked up to women they never knew all because someone handed them a game to play. Then there was a craft led by the women from Shanty 2 Chic. My girls were so proud to show off the craft they made. At the retreat there was a late night PJ party with more fun! I could tell they were a little nervous at first, but after the first silly video, they were rolling with laughter. I learned that not only is there a time and place for fun, but it is essential at times to bring a group of people together.
I knew at several points in the weekend my girls were afraid of the older women around them. You see, my girls are not around other generations of women very often. As students they were sectioned off from the rest of the church. In college ministry, we are working to reconnect them to the larger body of the church. After the first session I pulled my girls together and asked them what God was showing them. Several of them mentioned that they were shocked to hear that some of the older women struggled with similar things as them. It showed them that getting older does not fix sin issues and struggles. They realized the need for them to deal with their sin struggled now. I realized how vital it is for my girls to connect with other women in the church. It amused me that they were afraid of the older women, many of whom are my friends. I also realized I must strive to connect them with other women in the church. I hope to do this through mentoring relationships and participation in other women’s ministry events.
The Importance of Being Still
One of the lessons we heard during the retreat was on the importance of being still. God has talked to me about this recently. To be quite frank, I am weary and worn. The last few weeks I have struggled with sickness. I am exhausted. I cannot even get things done because we have been so busy. God has spoken, and I need to be still before Him. I need to clear out some of the busy-ness in my life. I am not sure how this will happen, but it must. I cannot continue on like this for much longer. The most important thing in all of this, is being still is something God has called me to. It is not negotiable. I have started to walk in obedience by finding ten minutes every morning to be still. I pray, read scripture, and enjoy the quietness that occurs each morning before my home becomes busy (and I do not even have children yet!!).
My girls and I had a great time at the Women’s Retreat, so much fun we did not want to leave. I am grateful for the precious women who served at the retreat, so I could attend. It was such a treat to just be at an event and not be in charge of anything! It was a blessing to have undivided time with my girls and for us to enjoy time together. We cannot wait until next year!!