I leave tomorrow afternoon for a weekend women's ministry retreat in Sarasota. I haven't been on one of these since college. That time I went with the ladies from my home church--the ones I used to babysit for and who taught my Sunday School classes. The speaker then was Nancy Groom, the theme, "This is My Story." She has a remarkable story of sin and grace, depression, redemption, hopelessness and faithfulness. Her books are incredible too, if you can find them.
This weekend will be different, I'm sure. For one, the location is fabulous; Lido Key in Sarasota, on the beach. I'll be there with women who are more my peers, though I'm pretty sure I'll still be about the youngest one there. Of course, this time my thoughts may be divided between there and home. I've never left B overnight and I've never left R for two nights and I've never left them with D. (I've stocked up on chicken nuggets, peanut butter, and milk and made sure every bit of clothing in the house is clean.)
The speaker this time is Linda Werner, who I mentioned a few posts back. The theme, from best I can tell, is about understanding your purpose. I think this is a big theme for Linda in her ministry. I struggle off and on with this. I don't doubt my role as wife and mother and I've relinquished the career ambitions for the most part. Occasionally I do long for a more academic or intellectually challenging task--though coming up with workable definitions for some of the words R asks is keeping me on my toes. Sometimes I'm able to dismiss those feelings, sometimes I can channel it into something else (blogging helps a bit and I've even made power point slides for an invisible classroom). I also struggle with self-confidence or self-assuredness. Now for my family and husband who have seen my hubris, my resoluteness, and my insistence on my opinion, that's sorta funny to say. But as much as I can be prideful and confident--or at least look the part--I truly doubt my abilities in many things. My years of teaching wrecked havoc on me as I felt like a failure most days. I still honestly don't know what I'm good at and how to use it. I usually don't believe people when they compliment me; I have a hundred reasons why they're wrong in their perception. And I flee failure by not attempting anything that I may not be successful at. I don't think I'm going to figure it out this weekend, by any means, but I'm hoping God may speak to some of this.
I do have some plans in the works for '08 so I'm glad this retreat comes so early in the year. I think it will be a great kick-off for the year. I'm not a resolution person though so we'll see how it goes. Also, I tend to get, well, a bit cynical about how girly women's retreats can get. I'll try to keep it in check.
So pray for me this weekend--and the rest of the ladies--as we have some time away and out of our normalcy for rest, retreat, and reflection. I pray that this will be a remarkable weekend in whatever way God wants to use it.
P.S. And pray for the man of the house. R already said this morning that they'll go to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and dinner.