Saturday, June 23, 2012

FCF Women's Retreat 2012

I returned a little while ago from my first FCF Women's Retreat and wanted to blog about it while it's all fresh on my mind. Gosh, it was only 24 hours, but God can do a lot in 24 hours. *grin*

I arrived late, on purpose. They were having dinner, and I ate before I went (due to my special diet) so I checked in, put my belongings in my room, and headed to the dining hall. The layout of the place reminded me of the Residence Halls in college. We had a community bathroom, and a dining hall. It made me laugh. I felt like I had gone back in time. *grin*

I entered the dining hall to see the ladies sitting and eating. I went to the retreat on my own, and didn't know anyone. I was actually excited about that because if I had gone with people I know I might not have branched out to meet the new people that I did.

I sat down at a table, and introduced myself to everyone. One gal I already knew from shuttles, but the rest were ladies I had never met before. *grin* God always amazes me at how He orchestrates things.

As it turned out, I was at a table with another Special Education Teacher, GigglyGal. We both laughed at the fact we were at the same table. The longer we talked, we figured out that we were roommates too! *grin* That was the beginning of our wonderful friendship! *grin*

Before I get too far, I want to mention Shuttlegal. I have known Shuttlegal since she moved here to be a part of IHOP-KC. She's a sweet lady, and I am always blessed when she gets on my shuttle. When I saw her at the retreat last night, we started talking and she REALLY blessed me. She shared that my blog blesses her, and that she reads it on a fairly consistent basis. She stated that through reading the blog, my words have inspired her as I have sorted out this thing called life. I could tell she meant it from the bottom of her heart, and it really blessed me. She also went on to share that my perspective on my CP is one she shares regarding her partial hearing loss. We talked about healing, and our views on praying for those in need of healing. The whole conversation blessed me. In fact, it blessed me more than she'll ever know. It was an AMAZING beginning to the retreat. *grin*

I joined GigglyGal and the others at the table as we went down to the first session. I placed my stuff on the second row, went to the restroom, and came back to see others in the row. My shy side came out (ONLY KIDDING!) and I introduced myself to EVERYONE around me. There were 73 gals in all at the retreat, and I only met about 15 of them. *grin*

Worship was led by Lisa G., and it was REALLY good. Tania brought the word, off 1 Cor. 13. I LOVED it. My favorite kind of sermon is when someone takes a chapter of scripture and breaks it down into parts. That's EXACTLY what Tania did, and it was really good. She had us laughing quite a bit, which was a lot of fun. *grin* At the end, we got in small groups and talked and prayed. I liked that, as the Lord and I have been talking a lot lately about friendships, so that was cool.

After prayer time, we had fellowship time. I met a lot of gals, and we all laughed A LOT! One gal who stole my heart was Mary. Mary had introduced herself to me in the dining hall, but we didn't really get to talk. She came up behind me during our fellowship time and started playing with my KU hood on my hoodie. I laughed. She liked my hoodie, and I told her I liked her already. She's an older gal, but she doesn't let that slow her down one bit. I looked at her and said, "So, tell me about you." She laughed and went on to share a little bit of her story. She had a brain tumor years ago, that was removed, and I could see the effect of it when I talked to her. That being said, she reminded me of me in the respect she's a go-getter and is not about to let what doctors have told her keep her from living an abundant life this side of Heaven. I LOVE THAT! *grin*

After a little while GigglyGal wanted to go back to the room to crash and I told her I'd go with her. We went back to the room and chatted for an hour before crashing. We have a lot in common and it's clear God had a friendship in store for both of us. *grin*

Our roommates showed up a little later and we CRASHED. I'm glad, I was really tired yesterday. *grin*

This morning we had breakfast before morning session. I was somewhat disappointed, as two separate women (With good intentions, I'm sure) came up to me and wanted me "healed." I've shared this A LOT, but it bugged me, I'm not going to lie. One lady said, "What's your ailment?", as if CP is a bad thing. I have to admit, I was taken aback, and simply said, "I was born with Cerebral Palsy." One lady at breakfast spent the entire time giving me book titles for healing. I was more patient with the gal at breakfast than the other because the gal at breakfast, well, I'll share that story in a moment. Suffice to say, it didn't ruin my weekend or anything like that, but it did momentarily bum me out.

God and I talked about it a little bit during morning worship, and I know, the ladies were simply wanting to help. They just don't have the perspective I do, so that's okay. They don't know about Woody or what I am doing, and that's okay.

In case you're new to my little corner of the world, I'm never against someone praying for me, as long as it's not because something's WRONG with me. The two gals today thought something was wrong with me. Little do they know that God is using the CP in the lives of hundreds of kids. *grin*

Onto other events. *grin*

Morning worship was great, as was the word that came forth through Diane Bickle. It was really good. I can't say it was "new" to me, but it was good. I did enjoy it. After the word, we got in new small groups to pray. GigglyGal was in my group, along with two new gals. One of them was the gal who was giving me healing book titles at breakfast.

Long story short, HealingGal is in a tough season of her life, and her story explained what I couldn't put my finger on at breakfast. She's stuck. I was SO GLAD she was in my group so we could pray for her and speak into her life. *grin*

Lunch was a definite highlight for me. I walked in to see what was for lunch, and well, I left to go get my own food in the room. I came back and sat down and the seat next to me was empty but I was with GigglyGal and HealingGal. Next thing I knew, Diane Bickle sat down next to me. *grin* I LOVED IT! She's an amazing woman of God, and my favorite part is how down-to-Earth she is with everyone. She was initially chatting with HealingGal, but eventually she and I had a nice chat. I was blessed to get to know her a little bit. I'm going to add her to my prayer list too, as she's a busy gal! *grin*

After lunch we had free time. Normally at retreats I'm on my own during free time, but this time GigglyGal and I had a fantastic time getting to know each other. It was great. She's a blessing from the Lord. *grin*

Our afternoon session flew by incredibly fast. Diane brought the word again, and it was very timely for me. I have to admit, it was probably the most helpful sermon I've heard in a LONG time. I LOVED IT! *grin*

We had small group time again, which was fun. HealingGal will be added to my prayer list as well. God's gonna rock her world, I really believe that!

The whole thing ended and I thanked T-Gal for hosting the retreat. I also offered to help on future retreats. She hugged me. *grin* Mary also walked up for a hug, and Mary told T-Gal, "I like her." (referring to me.) I grinned.

I'll admit it, a lot of times I found myself missing the BYKOTA gals. BYKOTA had some really cool retreats. But as I walked away from T-Gal and Mary, I thought,

"I am home."



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