Wednesday, October 29, 2008

As Iron Sharpens Iron

October 29, 2008
2008 SIM Paraguay Ladies Retreat

Almost a year ago Jean (my San Francisco team-mate) and I did a bible study called Freedom for Mothers. Weekly we met to discuss what God was teaching us and pray for specific needs in our family plus the other mothers in the community. The material was life changing and it was an added bonus to be able to share it with my dear friend, Jean. We were sad when the study finished and wanted to continue the communion together. The idea came to us – why not pick a study and invite the women on the Paraguay team to participate. Since most of us live hours from each other we couldn’t meet regularly but we could encourage each other in our walk with the Lord on the phone or by e-mail or when we did see each other. All the women decided to participate and we chose a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free. As “icing on the cake” we decided to have a retreat to share together what God is doing in our lives.

I spent the past Thursday through Sunday with 11 amazing women. We stayed in a German run hotel outside of Villarrica. Our three rooms were next to each other off a private hall. Each room had a twin bed, a double and a single bed, a large bathroom and a long table. They also all had a living room separated by a half wall with chairs, a sofa, a coffee table under rug and a TV. There was no shortage of food – neither from the wonderful German meals or from our homemade assortment of snacks. I think each woman brought something chocolate that that constantly called our names as we passed by the table in our room/meeting room.
I was a bit nervous during the planning stage of the retreat because I wanted everything to be perfect. I am convinced that the sign of a good leader is their delegating skills and delegating is what I did. I shared a devotional thought the first evening and Alyssa led us in worship. Friday morning Sarah led our discussion and Jean led the afternoon one. Saturday we sang and then Fiona led the third session. Saturday evening Vonni led the last session to wrap things up. In each session we discussed the lies addressed in the book. Some of the discussion points were controversial or very personal. During the sessions (and in the weeks before the retreat) I prayed Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” We spent time in prayer too - either in small groups or one on one. Sunday we had a worship and prayer time (led by Rachel) and we left for home after lunch.

In the afternoons we had free time. Some slept (we stayed up way too late each night), some read (enjoying silence), some swam (the weather was great) and one day I ran. In the evenings we enjoyed wonderful fellowship while exchanging recipes, telling love stories, recalling embarrassing moments (it is amazing how many embarrassing moments were tied into our love stories!), beautifying ourselves with nail care and lotions and watching movies.
Something that made the retreat extra special was the American goodies. My church in Harlingen, Texas and one of Jean’s supporting churches and Cheryl Cox, one of my good friends sent gifts for each of the women. They actually sent so much that Jean and I were able to divide it out into 6 smaller gifts – one rested on their pillow as the arrived at the hotel, a gift bag was placed on their seat before each session and one night we had a grab bag. The ladies truly were in awe of all the familiar chocolates, the scented lotions and sprays, the note cards and pens, and teas, coffees and cocoa mixes. As they looked at the treats all I could say was that we serve a God who delights in delighting over us. He is lavish in his love!

We all enjoyed getting to relax and taking off our many hats: wife, mother, teacher, cleaning lady, and cook! I am again reminded how amazing the women that I work with are and feel so blessed to minister side by side with them!

I think all the husbands survived without the women folk around. Jeff did great. He followed the meal plan I laid out and the kids followed their chore chart. Ginny made me lots of card and wrapped up presents from around the house (gift giving is definitely her love language). Micah – our budding artist - also gave me a picture…except his was scribbled in permanent marker on the kid’s wood closets. Life goes on......

A side note: One day when Ryan saw me reading the bible study book Lies Women Believe he said, “Mom, I didn’t think there was any lie that you didn’t believe that is why I always tell the truth.”


Abbie said...

That sounds great Wask. I'd be curious to know more about that first study you did called Freedom for Mothers. Did you like it? I love that Ginny wrapped you stuff up from around the house! :)

McCoy Farm said...

What a sweet Blessing to read your blog. I imagine you are "refreshed" and ready to jump back in now!