I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous as July 21st arrived. I can admit that, as excited as I was, some of those ingrained insecurities tried to resurrect themselves in my thoughts. What would it be like spending the weekend with women I’d never met in person?
The locals said it was the hottest weekend yet this summer in Kansas City.
But oh, meeting so many amazing women was a cool drink of water to my thirsty spirit. From the moment I arrived until the final good-bye hug was given, my spirit was refreshed.
Connecting voices to the faces I see online each week? Priceless. When I read their blogs, I will forever hear their voices sharing their words with me.
No surprise here, but being in the company of women who seek after Jesus brought two-dimensional gleanings into three-dimensional understanding. We shared stories from our lives, knowing it was safe to share the ugly, the hard, the words we can probably never truly share online.
What happens when you walk into a room of women you’ve never met in person? Women who are hungry for connection?
Hugs—the universal language of caring.
An early morning walk begun in time to drink in the sunrise. Learning more about each other. Avoiding the dogs who roamed their yards on the country road where we walked. And lots of photos of the beauty lining each side of the street.
Belonging. We, each of us, probably brought in a few our insecurities, uncertainties. And yet . . .
When hearts are open, uncertainties dissipate as acceptance offers a warm hug.
And the thoughtful gifts from DaySpring, (in)courage, and Krafty Kash? Treasures.
The welcome place Kate and the team created set the stage for a weekend of heart-refreshing.
Watching women operate in their giftings and their talents was beautiful. We had worship that moved our hearts toward the Father. Words of truth spoken over heartaches.
Wisdom was shared by the planning committee and authors via the internet. Encouragement shared with us plucked up some brave inside each of us to keep pursuing our dreams . . . and remembering that God is the giver of and fulfiller of dreams.
Stories. Perhaps the unwritten theme of the weekend was that of “story.” We wrote about it. Spoke them. Received them. Stories spoken filled in some of the details of who we each are. Stories of our someday-dreams, of our pasts . . . and our present. Of being real.
God gave us a lightning storm, a beautiful reminder of His power and His love. As some of us sat in the gazebo in the dark, we talked, we tried to capture photos of a flash of lightning, and we shared parts of ourselves.
For me, the takeaways from the weekend weren’t only the wonderful teaching and time we shared with authors and Fistbump Media, and these were fabulous. The thing that stayed with me was the filling of my soul by other women—women I had never met in person before. The power of story, of reaching beyond our own comfort zones and accepting the invitation to be a part of each other’s stories . . . this was what crafted an amazing weekend.
For this writer, the FMF retreat filled some of the parched, weary spaces in my soul. The pictures, the memories of our time together satiated me as I drove the ten hours home. The weekend gave me space to breathe. Made me ready to take on life with my family, in all our ups and downs, crazy moments and connecting moments once again.
What about you? When have you found heart-deep connection? When have you been encouraged by others?