Joyful Gratitude

We did it. un/defined gathering happened. 900 women worshipped, laughed, danced, cried, praised, ate, connected, learned, shopped, celebrated, grew. My heart is full. I've been writing about it in my journal and talking about it with friends and texting about it with the team, and I still don't know if I can ever put it all in words...but I'm grateful for that. I'm deeply grateful for the things that are too big and beautiful to fully explain. I'm learning to just let it be, to let my heart be full and so just sit in thankfulness for it all.

A few thoughts about this weekend:

900 women singing together is stunning. Simply stunning.

There was a moment when the talk was ending and we were transitioning into a time of reflection and prayer, and I looked down the edge of the room and saw a whole line of women waiting to pray for whoever needed it...and it gave me chills. It was so powerful to see. So many women stepped forward in boldness and humility to pour their hearts out, and it was such a glorious picture of the power in community and in the kingdom of God.

When we were setting everything up on Friday, in the middle of the craziness of so many moving pieces and details being worked out, I met a young girl. Her dad was on the tech team and she was wandering around, barefoot and bored and looking for something to do. I said hi to her and the first thing she said to me was, "Hi! I'm Eden! I'll help you with whatever you are doing! I'll be your best friend and your assistant! I love your lipstick. What are we going to do?!" And while I wasn't planning on having a seven-year-old sidekick, I realized after the event started that I want to have a heart like that. She was too little to really do what we needed to do, but she was willing and she was present (she literally never left my side) and she was enthusiastic. Even when I'm under-qualified or feel too young or I'm out of my comfort zone, I want to have an enthusiastic heart for serving any way I can.

Seeing women live out their calling? Yeah, that's the good stuff of this life. I saw each women on our team play to the very best of their strengths this weekend, and it was such a joy to witness.

I love being surrounded by women older and wiser than I am. 

The freedom to gather and worship without fear is such a gift.

The prayer of my heart all weekend: You are good, You are good, we can never be too far gone. You are good, You are good.

Do not call your heart impure when He has made it clean. (I'm so prone to focus on my shortcomings, my sin, the idols of my heart, the ways I fall prone to call my heart restless and wandering and fickle, so quick to call it impure...but He has made it clean. He is making me new.)

Freedom is an absolute place of worship. The truth will set us free, and it will lead us to joyful gratitude.

Thankful. Joyful. Heart full.

To every woman who was with us, thank you for making the time in your weekend to encounter God. To every volunteer, every woman on our team, every member of the worship team, every person behind the set and the stage, every guy running lights and sound and slides, every person on staff at the hotel, everyone who played a role...thank you. It took every one of us serving in our own ways to bring this to life, and it all was beautiful. Heaven touched earth this weekend and hearts will be forever changed. Jesus, thank You. Father, thank You. Spirit, thank You. It's all for you.

And finally...

Post-Retreat Reality

This post from Nicole Unice is helpful and so good, for when you want to know what to do next after a weekend like that.

The playlist of our worship songs from the weekend: