You may or may not have noticed that I have not posted a new blog for a few weeks (if you didn’t notice, just keep that to yourself 😉). Even though I haven’t written a single block post, I have been a writing fiend for the past couple months!
I’ll try not to over explain, but give me a few minutes to let you know why.
A few months ago I was talking with a church in California about doing one of my Soul-Selfie Soirées (3-hour interactive women’s event). As we chatted, they mentioned that the women at their church had expressed a desire to do a weekend getaway and would I be interested in speaking at something like that?
Naturally, without thinking through the ramifications of it, I said, “Sure!”
I didn’t take time to consider that I only had one “talk” in my repertoire the time. At least on paper. I have a lot rolling around in my head at all times but this would require some serious focus. I spent most of my free time (when not working my real estate business) formulating 3 extra sessions for the retreat.
The first two sessions were my Story and how they can use their own story for God’s glory, regardless of where they are at in their journey. I encouraged them, as I encourage you each time I write, to share in the messy. That’s why I have anything to write about at all. I share my mess with you.
I go first, so you feel safe to go next.
What I added to my message, was, in a nutshell, how to practice the presence of God in the Trauma, the Drama and the Minutiae.
I plan to do a little series soon to let you peak into the meat of each of those sessions.
But today, I truly just want to reflect for a few minutes on that beautiful weekend.
First, of all, I want to point out, if it hasn’t occurred to you already, that 5 times is a lot of speaking, but also, a lot of listening to the same person.
I started to freak out about this the night before the retreat. I mean, wonder if someone didn’t like my talk or me on Friday night? That would make for a very long, annoying weekend for them!
And even if they did, who really wants to hear the same person speak 5 times in 3 days? I imagined that by Saturday night, after their 4 hours of “free time”, only 7 people might show up. The rest might just go out to eat or keep hiking/kayaking/spa-ing. And would anyone make it all the way to Sunday!?!?
I mentioned this fear to my mom and mother-in-law ( so I guess, I could have rest assured that at least 2 people would be there!) saying, “I wouldn’t even want to hear Beth Moore (the best bible teacher ever, in my opinion) speak 5 times in one weekend!”
Then I texted my sister-in-law for some reassurance that the ladies would still keep showing up, to which she said, “I would barely want to listen to Jesus speak 5 times in 3 days!”
But guess what? Miraculously, they just kept coming back. I began each session with gratitude. I thanked God and them and I told them all how impressed and proud and humbled I was that they were still there!
However, I want to make this excruciatingly clear:
It was not because of me.
Only God Himself could pull that off.
God has given me a message, but the primary purpose of the events I do is not for them to leave feeling connected to me or impressed by me. It is for them to connect more intimately with God and, this is key, more intentionally with each other.
Many times, we hear speakers and gain information, but we don’t have time built in to dialogue with others about what God is saying to our hearts about it. We move on the next speaker and don’t journal or reflect alone or with others.
At the end of each session, there is time dedicated for them to share with the women at their table how they are experiencing something similar in their current or past circumstances or thought patterns.
They are given the opportunity to be real and vulnerable with the women they came with and will go back to doing daily life with.
It was beautiful to watch. Even after they were dismissed, many groups stayed an continued to share, pray and encourage each other.
The older women offered hope to young moms who were struggling. Single women shared with other singe gals that God can still use their story. They shared about resentments they were harboring towards family members, friends, churches, and even God. It was cleansing and therapeutic. They were connecting at a soul-level.
I spent each session “going first” so they felt safe to go next. And I think it worked.
Regardless of your gender or life stage or faith journey, you too can lean in and share your brokenness and failures in ways that might help someone else find hope and healing in theirs.
Those women practiced at the retreat. But you can start practicing today.
The theme verse of the weekend was 2 Corinthians 1:3,4:
Praise be to God, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we in turn can comfort others with the same comfort we have received from Him.”
My paraphrase is:
“We go through what we go through so we can help others get through what we went through (with God’s help).”
Start using your story. You go first, so others feel safe to go next.
…And thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to hear me say it to you in 5 different sessions over 3 short days. 😂