Sunday, March 24, 2013

Real Refreshment - for moms

I'm still on the road from our weekend at the Real Refreshment Retreat in Atlanta. It was such a blessing to spend time with old friends, to meet new ones, and to connect with those we have met online. Being able to hug and sit with women I've prayed for and women who have prayed for me - it's just a special thing. It's a powerful experience. I'm blessed to have had the opportunity. 
I've taken a detour on the way home for an adventure with the kids - surprise! (shocked, I'm sure)

As I reflect on the amazing time we spent - there are a few particulars that come to mind: 

Heidi Saint John. Heidi Saint John. Heidi Saint John. 
Did I mention I thought Heidi Saint John is awesome? She is. Truly. And very sweet. And funny. 
Really funny. 
You can see her at TTD in May as well 
(I can't wait to hear her again in TN) 

She gave a heart felt talk that was down to earth and jam packed full of goodness that I needed to hear. 
I know others felt the same. She encouraged moms, homeschool moms in particular - to stick together, to give each other grace, and to encourage each other. She also had a lot to say about generational curses. If you aren't familiar with that - it's the notion of the "sins of the fathers" being passed down in families. Many times it's dealing with abusive kinds of traits and habits that end up getting passed down in families. 

I had a comment from an Instagram friend when I posted the above pic that she had once taken her son to a counselor (Christian counselor) who told them basically, that they were doomed to fail because of the generational curses being passed down. She now knows better as she has become a Christian and has studied her bible (thankfully) but I was so sad to hear of someone being irresponsible enough to discourage someone looking for help. Good grief! Our God is so much better than that! He is full of love for His children and He has wonderful plans for us. 

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
  "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give 
you hope and a future.               Jeremiah 29:11

Isn't that better news? The God of the universe loves us and has plans to prosper us with hope and a future. Heidi Saint John shared some of her personal story of how she overcame (through the power of God's love) an abusive past. She encouraged us that with the power of Christ - those bonds of sin are broken and we are FREE to walk in grace and love. Powerful stuff. 

Another great reminder for me this weekend: 

What an awesome reminder that He can take the character traits of our children (even the ones we find difficult - sometimes especially the ones we find to be difficult) and turn them into a powerhouse for the Lord? That's right. God of the universe. He can handle our children, and He can help us handle them - to train them for Him. It was a terrific reminder that the foundation we are laying in the lives of our little ones will go a long way in determining their future. It's important that they are grounded in truth, and grace, and love. 

The Apologia ladies were wonderful as always. Each speaker did a fantastic job and each were a blessing to me and the other women I spoke with. According to the web site, "The Real Refreshment Retreats are designed to recharge your spiritual batteries" and I must say - it did exactly that for me. 

On a final note - we were reminded to find joy in the "normal" things of life - Rachel Martin  
spoke about how when people go through tragedies in life - they would give anything to get back to the "normal drudgery" of every day life. Moms who have lost their children would give anything to hear them bickering with each other, or to step on their messy Lego's. It's a profound thought and a sobering one - also a true one. We are not promised tomorrow. We must live today, and live it well. 

With that - I am off to scratch the back of a little boy needing my attention, and to make plans for our day tomorrow. We will enjoy our adventure tomorrow - and every day thereafter, as I am determined to find joy in each one and to share that joy with my children. 
These are the real gifts in our lives. 

1000 Gifts and counting: 
Back scratching-  boy cuddles - little hands reaching to hold mine (even though they are getting bigger)- road trip adventurez - girlfriends - prayer warriors - family babies - new baby smell - time with extended family -  special  cousins and making memories - time to be refreshed and encouraged. 

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