Truly, God’s gifts put men’s best dreams to shame. I didn’t imagine, when I wrote this quote as my sista and I decorated for the upcoming Retreat, that He would do so far abundantly above what I could have asked or thought. I can’t fully impart in words the comraderie, the joy, the heart-changes, the healing- all the beautiful things my faithful Lord did at the Young Women’s Retreat. It was a privilege witness His faithfulness and love yet again.
The Retreat was held at my Grandmother’s home, and my dear sister Chels and I went the evening before the Retreat to decorate. Our goal was an aura of softness, femininity, and beauty.
My sister created this lovely large table by combining three 8ft tables and table clothes.
Coffee Central!!! This table was very very beloved and oft-visited. Vast amounts of coffee were consumed-I believe we drank upwards of six eighteen-cup pots of coffee! The non-coffee-drinkers (poor things) enjoyed tea or hot cocoa.
The first evening we enjoyed a scrumptious Italian dinner prepared by Chelsy. Lasagna, Garlic Green Beans, Salad, and French Bread was the evening’s fare.
A dreamy Layered Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting completed the gourmet repast.
My sweet Aunt Wanda shared her journey of falling in love with Jesus, along with tips on understanding/accepting God’s grace and love, and cultivating intimacy with Jesus. She challenged us that, “It’s not about the things we do, but the relationship we have with Jesus.” We were reminded that “We aren’t His daughters because of worth, but because of birth”. She encouraged us to “shut off the noise” in our lives at times so that we can be quiet before Him.
There were many back rubs given during our time together; what girl doesn’t like a good back rub?!
Mrs. Alzen shared a sweet challenge on the Beauty of the Secret Place. A few notes from her talk:
-If your joy is not FULL, why? Am I not abiding in Him, is there sin in my life, or am I wallowing in condemnation?
-Instead of prayer being a duty, it is an intimate relationship.
-Jesus is SO trustworthy!
-If I am not taking the little moments to fill from the Fountain, then my cup is empty.
-“Always be full so you can always be giving, because you cannot pour from an empty cup.” (Jim Elliot)
Lunch was light, girly food- warm spinach artichoke dip, hummis, mango salsa, veggies, chip and crackers, chocolate covered strawberries, and chocolate dipped pretzel sticks.
My mother shared a beautiful talk on the True Heart of Modesty. She challenged us with the following points:
1) What does God see? Since He looks at our heart, that needs to be our FIRST priority.
2) What do others see? Your face is the most important thing you can wear. Let your smile be your most important asset.
3) How can I improve my wardrobe? Invest in basic, quality staples.
She left us with this thought to ponder- “Look like you belong to Jesus. Dress like a daughter of the King.”
There were rousing games of Dutch Blitz………
..and more back rubs!
Lasting friendships were forged as the young women met and shared their hearts with other young women on the same journey of loving Jesus!
There was a spontaneous worship session. This adventure consisted of piling into two cars and driving to my house, where we violins and piano were played and voices lifted.
Grandma graciously her home for me to host the Retreat at. Pictured above is Grandma with some of the girls.
A bunch of us did minty green face masks late one night. We commemorated our rather startling green complexions with this photo!
Make-up sessions were conducted for those who wished to have their make-up done. Various make-up techniques, products, and such were discussed.:)
There was sharing of hearts and much laughter as we learned and rejoiced together in our journey as young women.
Time alone with Jesus was sweet. Much journaling and heart searching was done.
Conversations with kindred spirits were plentiful.
All manner of luggage was plentiful as well.:)
My dear sister, Chelsy, was invaluable- she helped make and serve food for several of the meals, as well as sharing an excellent talk on “Cultivating Refinement in a Culture of Vulgarity”. Her thoughts on Attitude, Conversation, Deportment, and Adornment were much-enjoyed and much-discussed. She encouraged us with so many helpful suggestions such as, “Be a life-giver”, “Carry yourself with grace and poise”, “The first thing people perceive about you is your dress”, and “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
This game was the source of much hilarity! If you’ve never played “Signs”, I highly recommend it!
The girls helped set the table with happy turqoise for our last meal together.
Warm cinnamon rolls and other delicicies graced the table.
The girls totally surprised me with a basket full of lovely gifts! There was one for Chels, too, and we were blown away by their thoughtfulness.
This is our whole group, and in this group are many stories of how the Lord led them to the retreat and of beautiful things He is doing in their lives.
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:2-21)
-posted by Allison
I am SO SO glad I was able to attend this WONDERFUL Girls Retreat! It was totally worth the $50. I HOPE that many more girls will come next year (if Allison does it again, which I am SURE she will). You would all love it. Thank you Allison for the wonderful time! You are amazing!
wow, this is so cool!!! fabulous work Alli + Chels. what an awesome ministry in the lives of these girls..so thrilled you did this.
This is so amazing! Glad it went great!
Allison!! This looks like an amazing time! SO happy that you followed the Lord's leading to host the Retreat – I am confident that He is at work in many hearts through your witness.
What an encouraging time!!! Oh I wish you had video to share of each of the talks!!! Surely I'm not the only one who would love to hear and learn!!
Stunningly beautiful! I love the suggestion – "be the change you wish to see in the world. "Quite often we think the world needs to be the change! I've really been inspired/blessed by reading the different topics presented! It's wonderful to hear it was such a "God thing". =)
Thank-you for sharing, Alli!
Oh my, my heart is so encouraged just reading this! I was praying for the Lord to use this retreat in mighty ways, so glad it went well! Thank you for sharing pictures!
This, Allison, just blesses my soul. It looks perfectly lovely and refreshing!
The retreat looked SO beautiful, Alli! I'm sure it was a wonderful, uplifting event for all who attended! Loved the coffee table:) Thanks for posting-I really enjoyed reading about it!
Allison – It is SO encouraging to see young women seeking for opportunities to love and serve our Lord and draw nearer to him. What a great idea to be able to do so in community with other young ladies! I'm sure this was a weekend that will be remembered!
Of course I loved seeing this recap, Allison – thanks for sharing the pictures and even more for all the time + energy + prayer you poured into making this beautiful time so, so special. What a JOY it was to be at this retreat with you dear people! I came away so blessed, convicted, inspired, refreshed – the sessions were filled with so many needed reminders. The music, candles, delicious food, coffee/tea table, chalkboard quotes, rest (the list goes on!)…and even more, the warm fellowship and rich conversation shared, discussion after each session, and the quiet times with Jesus. So thankful for such sweet unity + that the Lord led you to do this! You are a blessing, Alli! <3
Strange question, but what is your middle name, Allison? I saw on Chelsy's blog that her middle name is Renee, but I'd like to know what yours is as well. Thank you!
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