Thanks to the church grapevine and my wonderful husband, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity for a weekend away. Eight women from Barrhaven Fellowship CRC, including myself, went on a Women's Retreat at Circle Square Ranch in Arden, ON.
We met at the church Friday afternoon, packed our gear and with four women in each vehicle started our journey. We arrived right on time and quickly got ourselves settled into the Bakery. The hot water was only working on the boys side of the ranch and let me tell you it smelled like a boys bathroom!Our room consisted of 6 bunk beds with these vinyl mattresses. I quickly realized that on our list of things to bring bedding meant more than just a pillow and blanket. It was a major "DUH!" moment. Thankfully, Andrea brought lots of extra stuff and let me borrow a blanket to sleep on.
Then we were off to our first session of Heartsongs and Chocolates with Heidi McLaughlin. The whole weekend was powerful and amazing but I'm just going to talk about a few things that really stood out for me.
We had a theme verse for the weekend that we committed to memory. Our theme verse for the weekend:
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him, but God has revealed it to us by His SpiritTwo Words1 Corinthians 2:9-10
When Heidi started the first session she talked about her two words from God. Each year almost like a New Years Resolution, she prays for God to give her two words. Sometimes its a word or two and other times it may be a phrase or bible passage. I prayed for two words for my weekend and in the stillness of the morning I found the words: Be Still and Wait Patiently. This is not something I do well. I find it difficult to sit quietly. When I read those words from Psalm 37 I knew it was a message God wanted me to hear. In fact, writing this a month later I realize I STILL need to put that into practice.
Mask of Shame
We all hide behind different masks and underneath those masks are feelings of shame. There are two types of shame. Real shame when we've done something that we know was wrong but we can take to God and he'll forgive us. Circumstantial shame is a feeling of being wrong. That there is something wrong with us.
If you're anything like me my shame makes me feel as though I'm not good enough or that I'm not worthy. For this session, Heidi had us all put on masquerade masks. There are so many things that we've already gone through and asked for forgiveness but we allow the shame to creep back for things that are in the past and should remain in the past.
At the end she asked us when we were ready to all take off our masks and let the shame go. It was really hard for a lot of women to walk up to the front and drop their masks. Heidi was waiting to give each one of us a hug at that pivotal moment. It's a moment I won't soon forget, but also have to keep reminding myself when the shame creeps back that I've asked forgiveness and let it go.
Triple Braided Heart Connections (You, God and Each Other)
God tugs at our heartstrings through His Spirit. We need each of the following heart connections to thrive in life.
1. Magnum Opus: We all need to see ourselves as God's Masterpiece.
2. Your 2 a.m. Friend: Who would you call at 2 am? Who is that person you can be a complete mess with that would lay in bed with you when you could do nothing else?
3. God: In the end there is just you and God.
Heidi had us read this story and asked us what strange question does Jesus ask: Do you want to get well?Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."John 5:1-8
So many of us are comfortable in our misery because it's what we know. Personally, I'm comfortable in my misery of being overweight. Why? Because change is hard! I'm not happy being overweight but it takes work, hard work. It's not as simple as going on a diet and following some strict guidelines. Often, we have to dig through emotions that we don't want to deal with or even acknowledge.