Teske's 'Top 10' from the first-ever Hope Retreat (in reverse order, with #1 being the best!)...
#10 - New Faces!
It was an absolute honor to meet some of the ladies who came with our group for the very first time. It was also a blessing to get to know others of you better and on more of a friendship level. A lot of the time we spend together has been completely surrounding our loss experiences, whether it was through bible studies or Hope Meetings or the like. It was so nice to just kick back, have fun, and fellowship with you all!!
9. Dinner at The Brown Bottle
Besides the fact that this restaurant is just awesome, we had so much fun! Seriously ladies...I am laughing as I type this up, remembering all the humorous events of the evening! Anything from Amber's "cheeks" hurting to her creamy garlic breath, to the fact that Mickie actually had socks in her purse (and thought it was totally normal)! Peggy had to top it off with the stash of undies. :) Thanks, Nicole for that fun game you planned!!
8. Talking with Lysa on Saturday
This was cool for many reasons...one major reason being that she has had such an amazing impact on me through her ministry. I have had the awesome privilege of going to the She Speaks Conference for the past two years and meeting/hearing her there. My attendance at these conferences has truly revealed so many things to me in my work through Mommies with Hope. It was just a blessing to talk to her and to receive her encouragement. God is working through her in some amazing ways.
7. Saturday Morning Devotion
It was a treasure to get together with some of the ladies early on Saturday morning and share just a glimpse of what God had laid on my heart for the day. I shared Ephesians 2:1-10, which talks about being "alive in Christ." We discussed the spiritual aspect of crossing over from death to life by having a personal relationship with Christ, but also about the importance of being "alive" and "on fire" in our daily walks with Christ! It was just a challenging and encouraging time of preparing our hearts for the day and to live it out as we go back into the normal routine of our lives. We prayed together and also were able to pray for the wonderful hotel staff that morning.
6. Visit to the Prayer Room
My only regret about the Prayer Room that was set up at the Rise and Shine Retreat on Saturday is that I didn't get there sooner! I know from talking to many of you throughout the day on Saturday that you too were blessed by this aspect of the retreat, knowing that the women who were organizing the event were praying over you by name. In addition, that they were praying a specific fruit of the Spirit over you! Several of you remarked how "perfect" the match up was! I echo your sentiments, when discovering that the fruit being prayed over me was "Joy!" Interestingly, the fruit of Joy had been a very prevalent part of my devotions and bible study time as of late, and it had also come through in my blog writing over the last couple of weeks! How cool is that?! Thank you, Rachel B. from Rise and Shine, for all the hard work you put into the Prayer Room!!
5. Facilitating a Breakout Reflection
The mere fact that I was asked by the Rise and Shine team to facilitate one of the Breakout Reflections (a portion of the conference with a small-group setting) was a humbling honor. During this short time that I had with a group of about 25-30 women, we were able to dive in and apply the truths of Lysa's message in our own lives. It was awesome to see that God was working through Lysa to speak to each one of these ladies, individually. I was also able to make some great connections with a couple of ladies who sought out more information about Mommies with Hope for themselves or friends who were grieving the loss of a baby.
4. Giving a Copy of Safe in the Arms of God to Sheila
We were invited to have an informational table set up for Mommies with Hope at the Rise and Shine Retreat. In doing so, I was able to talk with several women (and even a man in the church!) about the ministry and all that God is doing. One woman stands out in particular, and that's Sheila. She approached the table and I could sense the compassion in her eyes. She was seeking information for a friend whose baby died of SIDS in April. We were able to give her a copy of a book by John MacArthur, titled Safe in the Arms of God (I happened to have two copies with me), to give to her friend. She was very thankful. This act to give was prompted completely by the Holy Spirit as we had literally just heard Lysa share in one of her sessions about giving her bible to a man on an airplane. Thank you Lysa, for obeying God' s instruction and sharing it with the rest of us!
3. A Letter From God
First, I just have to say that this part of the retreat was absolutely amazing!! We were provided with paper and envelopes toward the end of the retreat and instructed to write ourselves a letter from God, with all that He had been "telling" us throughout our time at Rise and Shine. Wow! I recall the first line of my letter from God said, "You are mine!" It was such a tender time of reflection and thanksgiving as I realized God's love for me. The organizers then had us address our envelopes and seal our letters inside. We then walked them up to the stage, laying them at the foot of the cross. Sometime down the road, these letters will show up in our mailboxes. I can trust that God's timing on this will be absolutely perfect and can't wait to see it arrive!
2. Hope Night Testimonies of Deanna and Shayla
On Friday night of our weekend, we got comfy and settled into a rather large suite to have some desserts and fellowship. This Hope Night was a beautiful way for us to connect and share. As a part of the planned festivities, we heard from two fellow "Mommies" ~ Deanna and Shayla. It was so awesome to hear them each share the details of how God saved them from their sin, gave them HOPE in Christ, and how He has continued to reveal Himself to them through their loss experiences. I know that their testimony of His love and mercy impacted me and others greatly. Thank you for sharing your hearts with us, ladies!!
1. God Glorified
(through Lysa and the Rise and Shine Team)!
God's Word came alive through Lysa and the Rise and Shine team on Saturday! Lysa shared her personal story of coming to know Christ as Savior and I know her story resonated with each of us who were there from Mommies with Hope...a story of brokenness and hurt that we can all relate to all too well. Yet, she illuminated an aura of hope, found only in Christ! She mixed just the right amount of humor and fun in with the seriousness of her story and we were blessed! Her teachings on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 taught us about how God wants us to be, not merely what He wants us to do. It blew me away! And the highlight for me of all of this was when Lysa tenderly shared the gospel and explained the difference between religion and relationship. With heads bowed and eyes closed, she asked women who recognized their need to accept Christ as Savior to raise their heads or hands and be acknowledged. With tears streaming from my own eyes as I prayed for God to turn hearts that day, Lysa acknowledged woman after woman with the words, "Praise God!" "Praise God!" "Praise God!" One after another..."Praise God!" as these precious women became Sisters in Christ! Welcome to the Kingdom, sweet Sisters!
I would love to hear what made your 'Top 10' List! Leave your comments below, fellow Mommies...