Wow, what a weekend I’ve had. So emotionally wrent, so uplifting and recharging, so much to give thanks to God for, and so much to think about. Lucky & Blessed… me and about 1000 other women who were able to hear Ann Voskamp this weekend at a local church’s women’s retreat. If you aren’t familiar with Ann’s work, check out One Thousand Gifts….
Once again, Wow. That is about all I can say. On one hand, I feel so emotionally exhausted and on the other, I feel like I can’t stop from smiling and picking up my pen to write my gratitude list. As I sit in Starbuck’s right now, I’m sure I could be getting quite a few curious stares…I’ve got a smile plastered to my face and keep seeing all these moments right in front of me to be thankful for….the teenage girl laughing as she runs through the pouring rain, the mother & daughter sharing small talk over chocolatey drinks…and all I want to do is shout and say…you are all beautiful and God loves you so much!!! Think they’d let me back in Starbucks if I did that???? Probably not….so I simply hope my smile will shine on those around me and hope they know how much God really does love them.
So you’re probably wondering what type of women’s retreat this really was…so to start off, I’ll try to give a brief description of Ann’s book and how much it has impacted my life…
Ann’s goal is to impart on people how to live their life full – with all the joy capable of receiving from God. The most amazing part of the book is that its not like Ann has had this easy life, with everything going her way, and she simply walks on untested faith and skips along merrily in the clouds. Rather, this most miraculous lady who so generously allows God to use her and her life experiences…has been through hell & back. She’s lost those dearest to her, suffered from numerous trials, and yet, she has found a way to rise above and to let her life exemplify what she believes. And along the way, she asks the tough questions…and most importantly, gives thanks to God. For as she said this weekend…When I am thankful for His gifts, it is as if my afflictions are eclipsed by the glory of God….
So what have I taken away from all this??? Quite a lot. The need, the importance, of getting back to chronicling my own daily gifts from God and slowly proclaiming to the world how God has helped me in the midst of the trials I’ve been through in my life.
So I’ll start with my list of thankfulness…
#1. Those girlfriends that inspire me in my Christian journey, those that pray with and for me, those I can have really deep conversations with about the Bible and what it means to me and them…the women that sat by my side during the weekend and lifted their voices in praise to God…so thankful for women like that in my life.
#2. And I’m just as thankful for those girlfriends who share a different faith or hold different beliefs…these women keep me grounded, remind me of how special we all are in God’s eyes…no matter what you believe God to look or be like. These women stretch me, make me ask tough questions, and really think about what truly matters at the end of the day.
#4. The joy in that little girl’s eyes as she looks at the sand like its ice cream and tries to cram as much of it as possible into her mouth, all at once
#6. The sweet sounds filtering through my ears….you are never as thankful for the senses until you lose one
#7. Raindrops on a tin roof
#8. The opportunity to teach children about our need to share God’s love with others
#9. For bringing me through the rain, through the valley, up the mountain…just so I could be thankful for seeing all the beauty from the mountaintop
#10. Being able to look down from the mountain and see everything you’ve been through and knowing you’ve made it through…all thanks to God’s grace
Thanks for letting me share the journey of this weekend with you. There will be more, much more, to come as I reflect…
May God bless you, right where you are, and show you the cherish-able moments all around you.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18