Sunday, January 24, 2010

back to life...back to reality

Beautiful Emerald Isle. God, You are awesome! As the wind and waves can attest.

There is nothing like laying in bed listening to the ocean.

with Rhonda

We left on Thurs at 1:00 and got to the beach house at about 4ish. Melinda let us use her family beach house- a 10 bedroom duplex. We stayed until 4:oo on Saturday. Each of us had to help with only one meal- the planning/bringing the food/set up and clean up. Then the rest of the time you only had to be served and spoiled :) There were 6 meals and about 18 of us- so it worked out to about 3 ladies making each meal.

We had a wonderful speaker, Nancy's sister in law, Sharon. We had 4 sessions. Sharon lost her husband to cancer a little over a year ago. So you can imagine that we all cried a lot over the weekend. It was amazing to me that when she shared her experiences, and what God is teaching her, that it was so applicable to us all as well- we all have things in our life that we are struggling with and things we need to learn, things we fear and need to give over to God. God used Sharon to speak directly to our hearts. I was so thankful for her honesty- telling us how she is still struggling, of course, in this way or that. But you could see God's hope and love all through out her story. How much He loves Sharon and is taking care of her and how as each fear was realized- God was there to give grace.

Some of the genius behind the retreat and what made it so great:

1. Breakfast was from 8:30 until 9:15- so you could get up and just get down there some time before 9:15. It was heavenly- sleeping in til 8:30 is perfect for me. And then to have someone else make breakfast for you!MMMM breakfast casserole- french toast, muffins, fruit.......etc, etc. Lounge around in your pj's for as long as you want. Most of us didn't shower until later in the day.

2. After the morning session we had time set aside for our Bible reading and prayer. Sharon had a handout for us to use with verses and thought provoking questions such as: what are 3 main daily fears....then list the characteristics of God that will comfort these fears. What a great little assignment- try it!

3. Then we had a small group time (4 in a group) where we could share some of our questions/struggles/pray. Great way to further bond with others and know better how to pray for each other

4. There was lots of free time- time to walk on the beach, play games, watch movies, relaxing!!!!!


I honestly do not know what could have been better. If you are in charge of your ladies' group at church- this was a perfect schedule. The perfect time to learn more about God, to be reminded for His Greatness and LOVE, have the time to read and pray, to bond with sisters in the Lord, to relax and be refreshed and ready to go back and minister to your family.

One of my favorite verses from the retreat:

Psalm 86:19
Blessed be the Lord who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation.

Sharon talked about when there was the storm and Jesus and the disciples were on the boat- the disciples finally woke Jesus up and He calmed the storm. Why do we wait so long to go to Jesus? Why do we despair and cry and wring our hands and then after all of that worry--go to Jesus to ask for help? He was there in the boat- He is always here for us now just as He was then.

Another story we read about was the one where Elijah came to the widow woman's house and asked her to make food for him- when she only had enough oil and flour to make one last meal for her son and her. Elijah told her that God would supply enough oil and meal to make food everyday. Just enough for everyday....not too much- and you don't get to see the provision for tomorrow- but you can have the faith to believe- He will provide for tomorrow just as He has for today!!!!

Lydia, Me, Emilie

pure joy! (and frozen feet :)

My wonderful roommate, Candace, and our gorgeous room. Speaking of Candace- she let me borrow her flat iron. The day we went home I straightened my hair- it got really flat. When I got home our 3 year old did not want to look at me and kept saying, "I want my mommy! I want my mommy!" My advice to anyone: when you get back from being gone from your kids for more than a day- don't change your hair! Today she told me that yesterday I was not the "really real" mommy.....(last night she also spent half the night coughing or throwing all the rest and relaxation I had stored up was put to good use....)

our turn to cook!!! (Lydia & Melinda)

games, and more games....

Marilou and Carmella

Nancy striking a pose

Rahmatu practically did the polar bear dip :)


Jennifer said...

looks like so much fun. I would love to break up with 4 ladies and share and pray....what an awesome experience you had! Glad you could go.

Shelly said...

I LOVE Emerald Isle! We were there in August. I got married there 11 years ago! Isn't it beautiful? So glad you had a wonderful, rejuvenating time!

Stephanie said...

This sounds like a wonderful retreat! And that water must have been frigid!!!!

DJ said...

Sara, I just noticed your related post about traveling back to Greenville, SC. I live about 45 mins from G'ville ~ Small world!
Glad you had a restful, God-filled retreat with wonderful, supportive ladies.
Prayers that the Holy Spirit uses those recharged energies for doing wonderful things...

gailsgarden said...

Remember when I had a perm and you said, "take your wig off, Mom!"?

Sun-Kissed Scholars said...

Oh, it looks heavenly!
I'm so glad you came back renewed and rested. (L-o-v-e those beach shots... especially the shell within the shell one. just beautiful)

What a blessing to stay in such an amazing place. Looks like all of the ladies had such a good time. I love Apples to Apples! And, boy, your room really was gorgeous!!

Thank you for the verses. I'm going to try that exercise on fear and provision.

justin, jake and jenna's mom said...

That looked like such a fun time! Thanks for sharing all the details with us :) Too funny about your hair and Skye!

Staci Danford said...

So glad you had a wonderful time.. Also glad you're back.. Sometimes a girl just needs to take a wee break.
Blessing your way,

Shelly said...

What a wonderful time. Now just to find someone at our church to buy a beach house! We will be having a Spring Ladies Day in May. The theme is Surf, Sand, and Son. I can't wait.

On the hair thing. One time my hubby agreeded to let me cut my hair really short. I mean above my ears short. I came home and our dog went crazy. He did not know it was me..... So, now I can not do drastic changes to my hair.

Pam said...

Oh, that looks like so much fun! The Apples to Apples game reminded me of our recent MOPS Mom's Night Out. We played that game, and had such a blast!

Ruth said...

What a blast!! Such a great time!!


Keri said...

Wow!!!!! Looks like a wonderful trip. I'm so glad Dave took over the homestead a few days so you could do that!