I just got back from a retreat this weekend, and it's the only word I can say at this moment.
I have been thinking of starting another blog alongside this one, just to voice my thoughts on our new church and the things that have been happening with it. The Lord is teaching us a ton, and I can honestly say that we are so incredibly blessed by it right now.
To give you some background - I have been attending a ladies bible study at our new church (well, I say "new," but we've really been going for about a year:), and have been so wonderfully blessed by going to it, as well. Been learning from some amazing people, and making some good friends.
Justin's also been attending the men's bible study, and has also been immeasurably blessed by it.
And this fall, I began to sing with the worship team at the church. Immediately, I fell in love with the people on the worship team. They have such BEAUTIFUL hearts for Jesus and a fresh passion for him that is so rich.
So of course, when I was asked to lead worship on a women's retreat our church was organizing, I said a big, "YES!"
Well, let me tell you.
I am coming off of my high, so just bear with me and my emotions.
Can you say, "FIRE?"
Yes, that's one of the only ways I can describe it. I just feel so incredibly immersed in His love right now, and full of gratitude for what he is doing!...
Our worship team started meeting a couple of months ago, actually, to practice for the retreat, because we were going to do about a dozen songs and wanted to have them down.
And of course I loved it. We met every Monday night, and I felt instantly connected to these women. We had the same vision, and the same goal - for lives to be turned around, for those who were sick to healed, for a fresh move of Jesus, and for our voices and our instruments to be used for His glory.
I was also able to learn some new things about leading worship that I have never learned before. And they put in the time and effort to help me and were very patient with me while I was getting it down. You see, we go to what's called the "WILD church". (It stands for Word Is Life Deliverance) Lol. They aren't, of course, "wild," but they lead worship in a different form than I'm used to - it's very free and some of it unplanned! :) I LOVE this! But I wasn't very familiar with it, and was used to "going by the script." :) This took me out of my comfort zone, when we changed up the song in the middle of worship in front of everyone. I am NOT used to that! And they are gently teaching ME how to change things up. It's very freeing, and very fun.
So, all this to say, I had a blast this weekend learning and growing in my new worship style. ;)
I could go on and on about the weekend - lives WERE changed, and people met Jesus, some for the first time. There was a dowel rod team, a sign language team, and a comedy team, just to name a couple of the other teams besides ours. So many people used their talents and efforts to make this weekend amazing.
We had about 140 women come, from all over the area, and it was at a camp about two hours away from here, so I also got to know my friend Amy who I rode with. The food was also good, and we were served lunch by some of the men from our church one afternoon (wearing skirts, by the way - LOL. Guess they wanted to fit in!).
I came back home refreshed and exhausted, as most of the time we do, from these things, right?
I am still sorting out my feelings about what I learned, but I feel like one of them is that I am not done. Yes, the retreat's over, and we spent months preparing for it. And I am tired, and blessed.
But there is more to this.
You see, this was the first retreat of many - it was the first one our church has organized of this fashion. The next one is going to be in North Dakota, and then there is one this upcoming October for couples in New Mexico. Justin and I have been asked to lead worship there.
I am a bit nervous about that. Not sure what it involves, who will be leading alongside us, or what the details are. I am not sure if we will bring our children, or let them stay with grandparents. I am not sure what it will look like at all. We still have to iron all that out. And if we DO leave the children home, I will be nervous about leaving them, even though I know they'd be in the best hands possible if they are with grandparents.
It honestly freaks me out thinking about going!
But - Justin has picked up his guitar again and is practicing making his fingers blistered these days...:) (For those of you who don't know, finger blisters are good things when you first start playing;)
And I LOVED the retreat and what the months of practicing for it taught me. I am sure we would only be blessed by leading worship again!
My dream for my family has been for us to grow closer to the Lord together and spend as much time in church as possible, immersing our children in the fellowship of believers and in Jesus. I think this may be one way he is fulfilling that dream - us learning to lead worship together, as a family. And that thrills me! And even if we don't take the kids with us on the October retreat, I know we will be involved in the worship at church for years to come, and that will help the kids be involved, as well. And hopefully, they will pick up their own instruments, or use their own voices to lead worship, too.
I'm excited to see where the Lord takes us from here, and I feel this is the start of a good thing for us. A little nervous, but very excited.
God has great things up his sleeve!!!
My team!! From top left - Tia (guitar), GeorgeAnn (piano), Jackie (vocals)
From bottom - Amy (bongo), Pearlene (guitar), me (vocals) and Jayna (drums)