Monday, October 06, 2008

Christian Fellowship

One of the highlights of my year came and went last weekend with our Women's Retreat at Clifton Baptist Church (where Josh and I are members). Once again, I was overjoyed by the time away, to take time to be quiet and focus on Christ, to grow together with my sisters in Christ, and to enjoy fellowship with them. And once again, even though I took my camera, I barely remembered to use it. Not every good moment at a retreat is a good photo op as well, you know? The best things of all, are the quiet moments of reflection, and you can't exactly take pictures of those times. (Note: This picture looks crooked because the camera was up on a hill near where we hiked).

I really tried to be intentional with my time at the retreat. First, I printed off some good discussion questions from GirlTalk to promote edifying conversation in the car ride (a little over an hour to the retreat center) with the girls in my car pool. It was great! I felt like I grew a lot in my understanding of these friends during our trip there. Another thing I tried to do was sit with a variety of people during meals and worship time so I could get to know a range of women. I have been at Clifton long enough, I guess, that I knew almost everybody at the retreat this year! Even though I stayed up kind of late Friday night, I still rose early on Saturday to enjoy that early morning quiet in the pretty lodge we were sleeping in. To aid my reflection time, I brought along this Personal Retreat I downloaded from GirlTalk. I had brought these questions with me last year, and was very glad I'd taken the time to reflect on my priorities. This year was even better, because I'd managed to get up so early, that no one else at the retreat was up yet -- not even the girls making breakfast for us all. I had plenty of time to read my Bible, work through the Personal Retreat, and write a note of appreciation for our speaker before the coffee was ready. I am so thankful for God's grace to enable me to rise early that morning!

At lunch, that day, one of my favorite ladies, Doris Stam, led those of us huddled around a round table with our soup and sandwiches in a conversation where we each shared where we lived when we were 6, how we heated our house, and when we first began to warm towards the Lord. It was a great time of sharing! I always love to hear how friends have come to Christ.

Our speaker was a lady I respect greatly, Gretchen Wright. She has been a friend to me here at Clifton, and impacts the younger women with her genuine and open life. She spoke to us about being rooted in Christ from Colossians -- which was just amazing. Her teaching was profound, and yet very practical and applicable. She suggested we filter life through 3 thoughts -- God's sovereignty, glory and grace, which was SO HELPFUL! I'm still chewing on these thoughts. When her talks get uploaded to our church's website, I'll be sure to put up the link.

I was WIPED OUT when I got back from the retreat, but overflowing with joy in Christ. The Lord used this time to convict me of areas of sin, and grow my affections for Christ. What a weekend!


sara's art house said...

Gretchen, God wanted me to see your post today!!!!

In about three weeks I am speaking at a ladies outing that we do each year. I had my outline in my head and have been praying about what the Lord wanted me to speak about.

My third point is about taking a personal retreat....I had gotten the idea from Liz (Mann) who told me she saw the idea somewhere (I could not remember where, but now remember that it was the Girl Talk blog!)

Amazing how God brings us the info we need :) He loves us!!!!

I am going to copy off the personal retreat papers for everyone there. The verses are great too.

Glad you had such a good retreat! Glad you were so intentional about it.

Rebecca said...

Everytime I read your blog, I am amazed at the incredible wisdom and spiritual sensitivity God has given you.

Sarah said...

Gretchen, this summary made me jealous (in a good way) of your time away with sisters in Christ. I am hoping that as my kids are older now, I can do this every year! I need that time of spiritual refreshment and focus only on Him! Glad you were able to get up early....that is the best part of camp, I think!

GloryandGrace said...

YAY for a women's retreat!!!

Are you going to Jenn's shower on Saturday? I think I remember seeing a note on the e-vite that you were tentative.

Hope you're having a great week!