I just got back from the retreat in Destin!!
It was such a wonderful weekend with strong christian women that are great examples of kindness, genuineness, patience, compassion, dignity, love.... all things God wants from me and what I want to strive to be!My Aunt Treecie invited my cousin Annie and I to go down to this women's retreat sponsored by her church based out of Tallahassee, Fla.
The speaker was Jani Ortlund and our topic was fearlessly feminine. To give up our fears, anxieties and restlessness and become a strong woman of God.
Psalm 62: 1 "My soul finds rest in God alone." (VERY appropriate lately!)
It really was a great topic to remind me about servant-hood. Our culture today is very self-serving, self-pleasing and self-centered. If it feels good, do it. This is not a servanthood mindset and she encouraged us to practice self-control and strive to be less of ourselves and more of Him. Also, we talked about how to be beautiful in God's standards instead of our own worldly standards which is wonderful to hear.
Proverbs 31:30 "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!"
One of the things she mentioned that I really loved was that we are not called to separate ourselves from the our culture even though it is often disastrous and filthy. We are not called to be a christian separated from all others and this has been something I had been struggling with, especially in regards to raising children.
I've often wondered, how can you keep a child pure, how can you ensure that you raise that child of God correctly unless you separate him/her from the rest of the awful world, right?! Well, apparently I'm very wrong (as usual :). She encouraged us to embrace our culture, embrace why God chose for us to live in this day, this time, this place and use it to our advantage, use our femininity to our advantage. It is a tool that God has given to use that can do great things. So instead of separating ourselves, we are to minister within this culture, be a Godly woman in this culture.
To say that you don't like the culture you live in and avoid it, is to say if you don't like smog, stop breathing. -Michael Medveb
And because I could go on and on about what I loved or was a little confused about, to focus on just one more thing that really caught me:
"Sinners tend to sin in response to being sinned against."
How will you respond?
On my way home I called one of my best friends to tell her about the weekend and how I was reminded to keep serving, to keep ministering, even when I'm tired, exhausted, broken down. I told her this weekend revived me, and she had a wonderful thing to say. She said when we are who Christ wants us to be, striving to live for him and when we are sinned against but respond with kindness, compassion and Christ's love, THIS is when those without Christ will start to wonder what we have that makes us that way and why it is that we are not responding the way they are used to, with anger or resentment.
My family is very difficult to minister to, but I have been renewed and refreshed and am ready to continue to try and to try better. I want to be able to be with them in heaven for all eternity and that is more important than getting mad.