by Joanne Sharp
Here's what happened at the Women's Retreat
A few weeks ago, two hundred and forty women gathered at Fellowship to retreat. We gathered to connect. We gathered to grow. We gathered to laugh and cry. We gathered well, to gather! Women long for connection, conversation and time to process things together. Our annual retreat is an awesome opportunity way for women to do just that. The last few years we’ve purposely chosen to host this event at FCC because it allows the affordability and flexibility we desire. Each year, we are amazed at how God grows and uses this event. We have seen Him connect women in a deep and meaningful way, learn about His character, His word and ultimately grow closer to Him. We are incredibly grateful to watch as he unfolds His plan each and every year.
We prayed that women would absorb wisdom and encouragement in trusting God with ALL of their heart. We acknowledged our need for God and our ordinariness. We bonded over the commonalities we share like laundry, our love for Target and our everyday struggles. We were blessed to host our keynote speaker, Vivian Mabuni. A gifted communicator and bible teacher, who eloquently and yet practically explained how to trust our worthy and awesome God. She shared her personal story of surviving breast cancer and gave beautiful visuals for what our role in trusting God should look like. My favorite visual was a reference from her new book, Open Hands, Willing Heart. She discussed how we are to practice,”open handed living.” Surrendering our life fully to Christ. She explained this using the visual of two trapeze artists.
“There is a special relationship between flyer and catcher on the trapeze. The flyer lets go, and the catcher catches. As the flyer swings high above the crowd on the trapeze, the moment comes when she must let go. She arcs out into the air, where her sole job is to remain as still as possible as she opens her hands and waits for the strong hands of the catcher to pluck her to safety “The flyer must never try to catch the catcher.” The catcher will catch the flyer, but she must wait in absolute trust. Similarly, openhanded living calls us to let go in the midst of risk and uncertainty, aligning our heart posture and choices with God’s will for our lives.”
Her powerful messages throughout the weekend resonated with many women who heard it. We are forever grateful for Vivian and her willingness to come all the way from California, speak truth and genuinely connect with us. We highly recommend her books as well as her blog which can be found at: http://www.vivianmabuni.com/
Along with our speaker, we heard from several women of FCC who shared their personal journeys of trusting. Some tough stories and special moments were shared among women at their intimate tables. We enjoyed breakout sessions including activities like group trust building, biblical mediation as well as jewelry making. Women gathered around the photobooth and took group shots. There were hugs, tears and laughter filling the gymnasium as tables talked and had discussions. At the end of the weekend, Marian Willey facilitated a prayer through scripture and we were given the opportunity to participate in a beautiful surrender activity.
Women commented that they truly enjoyed the togetherness and unity in the room. The world can be tough on women and it can try and tear us apart. God desires something different for His body. Coming together helps us remain in His spirit and encourages us to connect to one another. We are already dreaming up next year’s retreat and we are excited to see what God does. What a weekend we had!