Time was spent in small groups and large groups, dining, laughing, sharing, catching up with old friends and getting to know new ones. So many inspiring stories were shared with both humor and tears.
The small group leaders did a fabulous job helping me to present the message about who we are in Christ. They shared about what it means to be an ambassador, the bride, a servant, salt, a soldier, an heir, a sheep and a branch of the Vine, about what prevents us from living as we should and what can we do to get back on track.
On a side note - I noticed that many of the group leaders shared that fear was a factor, so I want to invite you to attend High Mountain Church's Ladies Tea (June 6th) where I was asked to speak on what subject -- fear! Fear is something that I have wrangled with all my life, and it seems that I'm not alone. Especially in these dark days, with the economy and spiritually, fear hits very close to home. But take heart - "perfect Love casts out fear!!" "God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and self-discipline."
Back to the retreat - One image that will stay with me was when little Alex (our very special male attendee) heard his aunt's voice and turned his head, looking up at her with eyes brimming with adoration and a smile to match. It reminded me that His sheep know His voice, and when we hear His voice, we must turn toward His direction with joy.
Aunt Nettie, Alex and mom AmandaAt the very end, the entire group turned toward the wall of windows facing the bay (and the mainland in the distance) and sang "Shout to The Lord." It was a holy moment, one which bridged the sacred to the secular.
As we leave the Spirit-filled weekend, may the lessons that God showed us strengthen us to know who we are because of who He is and to be His representatives back in our realities at home, work, church, school, wherever He's placed us.