It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.
OK, I was very, very hasty in making the no more women's retreat vow and I will be the first to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by how well rounded and not agenda driven this retreat was in all aspects. Not that any retreats I have attended in the near past have had the "agenda" tag on them, but it is so obvious when anything a retreat, a topic, a sermon, a song, a theme is to prime the pump so to speak for the next big emphasis in the church or organization that sponsors the get a way. The speakers were awesome, the non table talk time was wonderful, the scheduling was perfect and the hotel staff were accommodating and friendly. And oh did I mention I had a great and fun roommate, Emily. I got to visit with friends in person instead of just commenting on Twitter or Facebook with them.
Kelly Minter was the main speaker and she taught out of the book of Ruth. Loved our three sessions with her. She is the first speaker that I can remember ever, love hyperbole, that didn't teach Ruth in the fields gleaning was so beautiful physically that's what caught Boaz's eye. You know when you are not in the beautiful category and mostly sentenced to the "she's funny" box, it is a little less than encouraging to think one will find a good man because only true love and happiness will be found by the truly beautiful. I never really realized how much Ruth loved her mother in law Naomi and that in itself is a huge part of the story. Don't think I have ever heard anyone really hone into the fact that Ruth was a Moabitiss and the Moabites were hated and scorned by the Hebrew nation. Ruth left everything she knew and went with her less than happy mother in law to Bethlehem, but Ruth stated that Naomi's God would be her God. You'll just have to buy Kelly's book on Ruth to get the rest of the story. In the second chapter of Ruth, when Ruth brings back some of the leftover roasted grain she had at lunch to Naomi, I realized that take out and taking home leftovers is biblical. I couldn't wait to text my friend Dena who is the Queen of taking home leftovers with this information.
Kelly Matte spoke on Friday night about the Magnitude of Gratitude. I love how Kelly shares from her heart and tells her story in a very authentic way. At first I wasn't too happy to find out we were going to pray with others around our tables. It's not that I don't love prayer but usually when we have to do "weird prayer time" the powers that be make us mix up and pray with those we don't know. My experiences have mostly been strange and odd with this. We got to stay at our tables! We prayed with 2 or 3 around our tables not asking anything from the Lord, but thanking Him and stating our gratitude for who He is. Which led into the next thing, taking some cards we were given and we to write, then post on the huge He Is board who He is to us. Seeing that huge board pinned on both sides with several layers going was beautiful.
Joy Harris led worship. Powerful! Worshipful! Sustaining worship to the King of Kings. She also added some fun and entertaining elements. The fun always relaxes and people's hearts are more open to receive and take in the truth. There was a mix of styles and so most everyone should have gone away happy that their style was represented. For me, I loved it all.
Carolyn and her retreat team did an awesome job with the scheduling. We had long enough breaks to take care of business and we ended early enough to hang out with friends and talk. Sometimes that huge aspect gets overlooked in many retreats because we have this mindset that we need to have more bang for our buck and cram everything into a limited time. I loved that everything that happened at the retreat was organic. Nothing was done to reach more to have artificial, just for the moment, emotions.
I would comment on the food but I barely ate at any of the designated snack times or at breakfast. Emily had this brilliant idea to order room service for breakfast thus giving us a little more sleep in and getting ready time. Loved that there was popcorn to add the salt to the sweets being served on one of the evening breaks. You know lunch would be ladies lunch i.e. salad, and it was good, but I didn't eat too much of it because Roy was waiting for me at home so we could go out for fajitas.
Loved that the retreat ended went it was scheduled to end.
All in all I had a great experience. Good friends, good speakers, good worship leaders and best of all coming home with a personal word from the Lord.