this past weekend, i was gifted with a weekend of retreating and relaxing (literally, gifted - i'm telling you, God keeps providing). i've attended women's retreat for the last 3 years, and every year, i get to meet new friends, engage in refreshing conversation, and experience God in a new way. this year was no different.
because it's so easy to forget what i've learned as soon as i "head back down the mountain" (or the nasty 91 freeway in this case), i thought i'd journal my thoughts here, just for my sake, but maybe yours too.
// everyone has a story. a messy, unexpected, full-of-challenges kind of story. life isn't always picture-perfect. it doesn't always go the way we expect. but God works it for good, and as several women transparently and vulnerably shared those stories, i was reminded of His goodness. everyone has a story.
// the people i admire and aspire to be are those who own their story. they know themselves and how God uniquely wired them. they know what benefits them and what harms them, how they are drained and how they are refreshed. they know how to set boundaries for their own good and invest in the things they were created for. and they embrace their identity. they are rooted in Jesus. don't compare your insides to everyone else's outsides one lady shared. and that hit home for me, because you know what? i do that all the time. i can let myself become so consumed with what others think about me. it's like a twisted and self-depricating plague. but if they're focused on you, then they're not focused on Jesus, and that's their issue, not yours, she said. it's not about me.
// i was reminded again that God is not a god of confusion, or chaos, or hopelessness. never. He is a Giver of hope, peace, and life. the fullest life. in the last few weeks, i've let the enemy distort my understanding of God. it felt like tough love. like God was challenging us, not even out of love, but...i'm not quite sure. God felt distant, and my prayer for the weekend was that God break through again. that i would be able to quiet my heart and remember that He is love. He can't be anything but love. and through conversation and times of stillness, my heart recognized the enemy's lies and claimed Truth. draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you.
have the most wonderful week, friends.