I recently spoke at a Ladies Retreat, the theme was “Beautiful You”. The reason I am writing part two, to my previous post is because of the wonderful, beautiful, amazing women that were at this retreat. I sat at a table with seven other ladies. Three were single moms, one was divorced and remarried (numerous times), one was having marital issues, and two of us were happily married. Not great statistics. Beyond our marital status’, was the overwhelming brokenness I felt from everyone there. The line was asked, how many of you could say, “I am a beautiful woman”, without it being sarcastic or a joke? I didn’t see one hand go up. After spending two days with these seven women at my table, I was amazed they didn’t see their beauty, because I did. Maybe they weren’t supermodel beautiful, but honestly, they were all beautiful in their own unique way.
|These are some of the ladies from the CLC Lisle Campus at the retreat. (I am the one on the bottom-right) –
These are some of my favorite people in the world!
Here are just a few of the qualities I admire about the women at the retreat:
1. They care about people – Even though they may have been hurting, I still saw all of them encouraging and loving the other ones at our table. One lady had lost her mother in the last year, another one told how she had made it through the loss of her mom years ago.
2. They are authentic – They spilled their most embarrassing moments, laughed at each other and themselves, cried over their hurts and past mistakes. I wish I could tell the “most embarrassing moments”…they were just TOO GOOD! 🙂
3. They love God – They worshipped God and loved him. They didn’t feel worthy of God’s love or attention. I think that is why there was so much brokenness. Almost every speaker was pleading for them to believe in their hearts that God loved them. We are his daughters.
4. They are open to grow – We all scribbled down notes, prayed, cried and laughed together. I know we all came away different people.
I want to share one beautiful thing that happened at the very end of the retreat. I don’t know if I can explain it, but I want to try. Our Senior Pastor, Pastor Chris McQuay, was speaking the very last message on the last day. At the end of her message, she opened an envelope. In it were small pieces of paper with scriptures on them. She began reading the scripture and asking who wanted that promise…hands went up all over, she gave it to the first hand that went up. Then, it got exciting…(forgive me, I don’t remember the exact scriptures – these are approximations – but they are still true! 🙂
Hands went up everywhere!
A woman came up from the back row, in tears. Received this piece of paper and held it above her head all the way back to her seat. She was in need of physical healing.
A woman, who had spoken to me about so much hurt in her life, went forward and stood before our Pastor, crying and holding out her hands before her.
It was such a beautiful and humbling experience. I don’t think I will ever forget it. To see my “sisters” so broken and yet so hungry to claim God’s promises in their lives, was more than moving. Today, if you are going through anything, I want you too to claim these promises as your own. You are His DAUGHTER (or SON!) – he loves you with a love that doesn’t have to be earned. It is an unconditional love. You are beautiful, because God in His infinite mercy, makes us beautiful.
But God demonstrates his own love
for us in this: While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV
Here is a link to one of my favorite songs, Jesus Culture and Kim Walker singing
He Loves Us – Jesus Culture
Enjoy and reflect on His great love today…
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