One day, I was Googling and stumbled across The Arise Retreat presented by Saint Gabriel Media and Brooke Taylor of Good Things Radio. I saw the list of awesome speakers (some I have met before or have longed to meet) and I knew I had to be there. As it all sank in for twenty-four hours, my husband continued to encourage me to go. One of the biggest hurdles was the fact that I live in Connecticut and the retreat was in Ohio. I would have to take a flight…alone. Nervously sweating on the inside as a non-risk taker, I knew God had to be behind it. The crazy in me took over (the Holy Spirit) and I clicked the “Buy Tickets” link. I quickly messaged my friend from Massachusetts to see if she was going too. God sent her the same message: that she had to be there. We ended up booking our flights together due to her greater familiarity of airline travel.
The first night, I stood up in front of a room of “strangers” and felt at ease speaking on a microphone. This calmness was not my norm. It was definitely the Holy Spirit taking over. There was so much energy and love for God in one room. I have never felt at home amongst a bunch of women before. I felt included and part of a sisterhood in Christ. There was no judging or gossiping. We were all there because we wanted to know, love, and serve God.
I often feel on the outside when it comes to trying to make lady friends. I don’t know if it is just my reserved nature, or lack of social skills, but I don’t feel that I have that much in common with a typical woman. But these women understood me. They were mothers, sisters, wives and friends too. They all had burdens and trials that they shared. I even felt safe and welcomed enough to share things about myself I wouldn’t even share with good friends. I have a lot of control and trust issues, even with God. So when it comes to imperfect human beings, it is at least ten times harder to open up. I had a lot of baggage going into the retreat and it was hard to not want God to fix everything. He does not always answer in our time, but in His. I am slowly trying to let Him reveal His plan for me.
The women at the retreat were so awesome and welcoming. I had the opportunity to meet some of my role models and they are so humble and beautiful in person. I can’t believe the opportunities I have already been blessed with since the retreat. The true blessing is being part of a spiritual sisterhood and knowing that God loves me as I already am.
When was the last time you felt God’s love? How often do you feel like being yourself is enough for God?
Copyright 2016 Tanya Weitzel
Photo copyright 2016 Tanya Weitzel. All rights reserved.