"Led" Follow Up
Just over a month ago, we hosted the first Providence Women’s Retreat. I knew that it was going to be a very important weekend for the unity of the church among the women, and for a lot of us, it would be the first time we would meet. Providence’s culture is primarily through home groups and always will be, and because of that, many times on Sunday mornings we see women we don’t know and wish we did! The retreat would be an opportunity to meet each other and build friendships, and God was faithful to do exactly that.
Personally, I am sure my experience was a bit different than anyone else’s. I spent my weekend making sure everyone was fed, needs were met, the coffee crisis was resolved, and that the weekend stayed on schedule. And still, I felt God’s love and faithfulness very tangibly. Since the weekend, I have been overwhelmed by the stories and testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the lives of others, and so, our prayers were answered.
As you know, no retreat can happen without the tireless devotion of some, and for that, I need to issue a HUGE thank you! A group of women faithfully met together to ensure the weekend would be restful, refreshing, soaked in truth, and of course, fun. For those of you who served, thank you. I have to also say another BIG thank you to Providence Community Church. I could brag all day long about the body that came together to sponsor women to go on this retreat. Not one person was turned away due to financial hardship. I was privileged to be able to witness the generosity of Providence firsthand.
The theme for the first Providence Women’s retreat was Led. Inarguably a response to the spring Men’s retreat themed Lead, the goal of the weekend was to see the leadership of God in our lives and study biblical womanhood as it responds to His leadership. Our weekend started with a session titled “The Lord is my Shepherd” in which we studied Psalm 23 to review the characteristics of God that speak of his good and secure leadership. On Saturday morning, we learned about “Being Led” which taught about the idea of earthly leadership. We disassembled some cultural lies that surround the idea of submission and establish a godly understanding. On Saturday evening, we were led in a powerful study of the book of Hosea titled “An Invitation to Intimacy”. We studied about both the discipline of the Lord toward our disobedience, and the invitation to return to an intimate relationship with Him.
Woven in through the formal sessions were times for the women to establish and build their relationships with each other, and you just can’t get 50 women together without there being a bit of crazy. Some highlights for me were the rather intense game of Never Have I Ever, the improvisation of oven s’mores, a late night game of Apples to Apples, and everything in between. I am sure there are hundreds of stories about the weekend that would make me laugh and cringe. The venue was beautiful despite some bad weather, and I look forward to going back there with everyone.
I can’t believe it has only been a month since the retreat. It feels like it has been forever, and it is no surprise that the chaos of life is taking back over. For those that were able to attend the retreat, I encourage you to take some time to read back through your retreat notes and remind yourselves of the truth that we studied. If you weren’t able to make it to the retreat, we prayed for you while we were there. I don’t want you to feel isolated or left out because you didn’t make it for the weekend. If you would like the notes from the sessions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I can send them to you for you to study. I am already praying that you are able to make it next year!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
As we walk forward, my encouragement to you is to continue to run your race with endurance looking to Jesus as our perfect example of submission and our good shepherd to lead us. Know that the promise to us is joy also. If your life was changed by God at the retreat, I encourage you to share that with other believers at Providence. Knit your faith with theirs and establish community in your life that will help you along the way. If you are currently in a home group, share your experience with your home group leader, so that they are able to encourage you and step into to help you with accountability. If you are not in a home group, get into one – it is the culture of Providence, small groups of believers that meet together throughout the week to encourage one another, hold each other accountable, and remind each other of the goodness of God. If you need help getting plugged into a group, contact me, and I can help you find a home group.
When we carve out a weekend to go on a retreat, we all know the intention of being there. It was such a sweet weekend of building friendships and talking about Jesus. Let’s carry that same attitude through the year, continuing to strengthen our friendships and looking to Jesus as our Lord. Let’s remind each other to be intentional toward these things.
Thank you to everyone that shared your stories and testimonies with me from the retreat. I wish I could share them all! Instead, I will just confidently say that God was faithful, He is faithful, and He will be faithful.