Saturday, October 4, 2008

1st Women's Retreat

The Bass Pines Resort on Bass Pines Lake, California

Well, I'm officially an adult in that I attended my first women's retreat this weekend. I have been home less than 5 minutes, and I felt the need to sit down to apology...or is it an apologetic? I don't know, but here it goes:

To the mom who said "I just stay home" when I asked if she worked outside the home: I value your career as much as I hope you value mine, so may I write this as a way to honor the gifts I saw in you and so many other River Valley women?

This weekend, I met so many women. I met another teacher, a musician, a preacher, a counselor, a philosopher, a gardener, a comedienne, an administrator, a partner, a servant, a cheerleader, a lawyer, a caretaker, a hospice worker, a decorator, and a student.

You see, although I don't actually know how these women spend their 8 to 5 business day, I know that this weekend I saw them teaching, praising, preaching, counseling, pondering, pruning, joking, managing, working together, supporting each other, serving others, encouraging others, defending our faith, tending to sisters, holding hands as people let their old selves die, brightening our space, and sitting at another's feet.

Seeing these ladies use their gifts was so honoring to God. The children of God have such a diversity of gifts--that in and of itself is amazing--moreover, though, how amazing is it that our God is so multi-dimensional? Seeing 1 woman manifest 1 gift so well is amazing, seeing many women manifesting multiple gifts is even better, but experiencing the God who embodies all of these gifts? Well, that is why an eternity in His presence will still never be enough.

She was humble...because He is not too proud to be with me.
She was spontaneous...because He surprises me daily.
She was focused...because He never lost sight of me.
She was nurturing...because He comforts me.
She was encouraging...because He inspires me.
She was a teacher...because He is Wisdom.
She was musical...because He sings over me.
She was a listener...because He values our voice.
She was serious...because He means business.
She was passionate...because He is still in love with me.
She was faithful...because He has never abandoned me.
She was searching...because He found me.

So thank you, ladies, for sharing your true selves and letting me glimpse God through your reflections. You are more than any label you or others put on yourself because of the label God has put on you: "Created In My Image".


mcsneeze said...

Wow, I can tell by your words this must have been a humbling retreat. I marvel at your ability to put your feelings so succintly into words. You are so gifted as a writer, an inspirer, an encourager and as an apologetic.

Love you.

andrea said...

I am speechless. That was beautiful Natalie! The only thing not mentioned was specifically you and the way God has gifted and used you this weekend. Am so looking forward to getting to know you more! Love, Andrea Heinricy

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful experience this weekend at a beautiful location, too! Loved the picture.. Shannon

Laura Wilkinson said...

Love your blog, thanks for sharing it! I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the weekend, you write so well and I enjoy getting to know you more!

Jacinda said...

Double wow! That was so beautiful! I'm glad I went too. Would love to have a chance to talk more with you. It is amazing the way God creates!

The Tucker Family said...

You are so beautiful Natalie! Your words are just amazing! I truly enjoyed the time spent with you this weekend! Really looking forward to seeing you guys at Life Group (Family Night) on Tuesday! Love, Steph Tucker

Patty said...

Thanks, Natalie, for sharing. Sounds as if blessings abounded this weekend!!

Robyn said...

What an encouraging post! So glad you got to have that time--makes me look forward to ours in a few weeks even more.