I'm writing this blog from the comforts of my couch and typing on my iPhone through the small openings of my eyelids... Oh AND without my glasses. So this should be good. I'm too tired and quite frankly too lazy to get out from under my blanket [with my husband and pup beside me] and make it to my office. However, I personally enjoy this view better anyway.
We had our #myLife16 retreat this weekend with ALL of the Inside Out kids from other campuses and it was so incredibly powerful watching God work. You come off of these juxtaposed emotions when retreats are over, because you go from a hands high worship rush, to a sugar coma to a coffee crash to a "wait I ate Taco Bell last night and that's why I feel so terrible and my metabolism isn't of a 15 year old girl anymore" to "IS EVERYONE ACCOUNTED FOR IN THE CAR DID I LOSE A KID PLEASE I HOPE NOT." The run on without punctuation was necessary.
Our theme for the weekend was "BE THE ONE you're looking for, is looking for." To read between the lines it was all about sex, love and dating.
We encouraged our girls to take dating seriously as if you're dating for marriage. As leaders, we understood those moments when they felt uncomfortable in tempting situations. We talked about boundaries and a guarded heart. But most importantly we talked about HOW they can work on becoming the one, the one they're looking for is looking for... Awesome, right?
I was so proud when we discussed qualities in a partner and none mentioned status or hair or eye color or whatever his name is from One Direction. Okay, maybe there was mention of some hipster swag, but overall we heard kindness. We heard about some chivalrous door holding and praying together. It's things like that where my heart explodes. But they get it. It's the application thing that's always a work in progress, because, well, high school.
I have such a soft spot for these high schoolers. My co leader and my husband [he leads freshmen boys] do as well. Their struggles are real. And need retreats like this in their life. I dread the thought of navigating high school again and especially nowadays trying to keep up with all of the snapchat streaks. Yeah, it's a thing.
Anyway, Saturday morning we were split and the girls had their own auditorium. I had the honor of introducing our speaker [hey Lauren Espy!] and my goodness was that a treat. Lauren's story is so powerful there's no way I can do it justice except utilize one [simple] word to sum it all up: trust.
Lauren communicated about brokenness. She's been through storms much like all of us where we have questioned God's plan. I mean every single one of us at some point has dealt with guilt, worry, shame, lust and so on. We often allow brokenness to give us false beliefs about ourselves like saying we aren't good enough. We find ourselves crying out and wondering why God dealt us this certain deck of cards...
Lauren brought out a safe. She encouraged the girls to put their brokenness into the safe. Everything is safe in Him. He knows our heart. He knows our struggles, but He is the only one who can take our pain and troubles away. We need to seek understanding and comfort from Him in those tumultuous times when we want to give up. I was moved by Lauren's story, inspired by her storms and empowered by her transparency and joyous ending. Her message was so clear: trust. Trust in Him and He will keep you safe.
Lauren walked off stage and the band played "good, good father". It's hands down one of my favorite worship songs. I was pacing back and forth backstage in awe of the emotions running through me. It's such a perfect song for a perfect moment. And it's a perfect opportunity to reflect on how amazing our father is. Our troubles seem so small, when you place your trust in a God so BIG.
I went back on stage after a good, good, song and a good, good, message from Lauren. I rarely get nervous, but this one got me. I looked into the crowd and saw over a thousand beautiful and chosen [by Him] faces staring back at me in THE quietest auditorium. You could hear a pin drop. Really. They were so plugged in. And you just KNEW they felt fulfilled and restored by Lauren's message. I didn't even feel worthy enough to be up there giving them my two cents. But I did and it dissolved a previous false belief I had about myself. A false belief where I felt I wasn't good enough or Christian enough to be worthy enough talking to them... But I am good enough. His spirit lives in me and I am good enough. You are too. We are all growing in our daily walk, learning to put everything in that safe and trusting in Him through every step and circumstance.
You know, we show up as leaders, ready to encourage. We show up ready to listen. We show up ready to connect. And when it comes to these retreats, I feel like more often than not do we find ourselves being the ones encouraged by everyone and everything around us. I feel it personally, I feel it in my relationships with others and I feel it in my marriage.
Lauren's message in detail was for the girls, but overall applicable to everyone:
I challenge you all to trust in Him.
Annnnnnd on that note, I shall now go put a little bit of trust into my rem cycle. It's been a while.