This post is dedicated to my new friends from the RestoreMe Retreat in Sandy Cove, MD this past week (Hello!). I knew I already wrote you all an email, but I'm so excited about my experience that I wanted to invite all my other subscribers to share in my joy as well. (RestoreMe friends, meet my online friends. Y'all will get along great, I'm sure. And to my online girls, if you're curious about THAT EMAIL, CLICK HERE.)
This is me in a hat. It's a big deal, actually. You see, I had been so afraid of what other people might think (maybe I'm not young/cute/skinny/tan/put together enough for a hat) that I'd relegate my hat wearing to the beach alone. Until this retreat. I'd love for folks to look over a crowd, see a hat, and know it was me. So I wore the hat. And I'm so glad I did! Are there hats in your life, things that are good and beautiful and happy, that you're avoiding just because of what others may think? Babe. Wear the hat!
This fellow is Carlos. He was my standing buddy going onto the plane, and we were seatmates headed to Phoenix. Between my broken Spanish and his faulty English he showed me pictures of his daughters and grandchild, I talked of my family, and, because that was quite exhausting, we napped the rest of the way to landing. Upon arriving at our destination I was offered an open invitation to visit him with my family in Lima, Peru, at his house on the beach. Networking at its finest!
((Slightly random thought: I think it might be fun to travel just for the sake of collecting stories. Wouldn't it be amazing to interview a stranger on their way to or from somewhere worth flying for? Have you ever people watched, wondering who they are? What is the most interesting story you've gleaned in your travels?))
After landing in Maryland, getting picked up by buddies, and spending the night at a comfy hotel, we headed to North East. Yes, that's the name of the town. And what a darling place it was, too! I enjoyed AUTHENTIC seafood and great company for lunch and was enamored by the GORGEOUS drive through the lush greenry towards the Sandy Cove campus.
And then the retreat began! What a beautiful time it was to meet with precious women and see Jesus work on hurting hearts, breaking strongholds and offering peace, hope, and freedom.
In preparation for the retreat I was given the theme verse, and the titles for each session, led by Cindy Schirle. Oh, it is AMAZING to see how the Holy Spirit works! He wove her talks and my song selections so beautifully, and they dovetailed perfectly!
I was so blessed to see how the song I wrote for the retreat, "HIS SCARS DECLARE HIS LOVE" met the women in beautiful ways to speak God's truth into their wounds, reminding us all of His character and promises. (You are welcome to the piece as well; CLICK HERE.)
I must admit, though, it was a rather new experience for me, leading worship in Maryland! You may have noticed that I have a severe lack of melanin, and having grown up as the typical West Coast, tuna-cassarole Baptist kid in California, I hadn't had the opportunity to worship Jesus so LOUDLY in a corporate setting. And, boy, was it FUN! These gals know how to PRAISE!!!
And, whooboy, I felt like royalty! From the moment I was picked up from the airport, to my gorgeous hotel suite, to selling out of EVERY book I brought, to the graciousness of every woman I had the privilege to meet, it was wonderful.
I am so grateful for the First Place For Health folks who organized this annual event and invited me to join them, and for the blessing that organization has been to me through the years. FP4H was plopped on my path at the very same time Jesus was teaching my heart the very principal that FPFH teaches: Jesus first in all things.
Whether it's physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, Jesus must be first. Not just first OVER all things, but first IN all things. So when I eat, I am reminded that each bite is worship--either of my Lord or my Self. When I am active, that too is worship. Worship rests in my conversations, my texting, my planning, my errands, my sleep patterns, my thoughts towards others, and even in the way I view myself.
My friends, thank you. Thank you for being a part of how Jesus continues to teach me about who He is. It is an honor to share my joy in His character, His promises, and His amazing grace.