Guest Post by Laura Greenwell, Director of Women’s Ministry & Hospitality
The fourth annual Christ Church Women’s Retreat was August 24 & 25, and once again, I was amazed at all God had in store for us! This year’s theme was I AM, and our verse was Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” The members of the planning committee prayed that verse like nobody’s business! We faced much affliction and lifted up much prayer, especially as the time of the retreat grew closer. Four of our leaders had deaths in the family or of church friends and had to bow out of leading a small group session. But the great I AM was so faithful and prepared the hearts of other women to step in.
The event was held at The Country Place, a beautiful and relaxing place near Moscow, TN. The atmosphere is incredibly peaceful and serene – perfect for reflection, worship, prayer and leaving your troubles and worries behind. Sixty women attended, the perfect number for comfortable seating in the lovely chapel. The Inn rooms are delightful, with no televisions or phones to distract. Each room is named, and the guest who stayed in the “Peaceful” room said it is the perfect name, because that was exactly how she felt. My room was called “Revive,” and I needed reviving after a very busy summer! The time spent in fellowship and worship gave me just what I needed.
We had many first-timers this year, which is always exciting. We were in awe of how God brought these women together. Most attendees stayed overnight, but a few came just for Saturday. Friday night we settled in, had a delicious meal, a short (but awesome!) worship service, fun door prizes and lighthearted breakout sessions. The evening ended with games, laughs and an ice cream bar with every imaginable topping. Tabitha Casey was in charge of a fun, easy craft that used wood, nails and colorful threads to create a cross. On Saturday we had longer sessions of worship and learning, more breakout sessions and much-needed alone time with the Lord.
Faith Ellisor from Navarre, FL, was our guest speaker. Her sweet spirit and calming love for the Lord were so evident. She asked the question to which we all had to write an answer, Who AM I? When we left the retreat we were asked to cross out those answers and write, Who does God say I AM? Who AM I in Christ? We are perfectly made, and God is very present in the details of our creation! Stephanie Medina led us in worship with her soaring voice and loving spirit.
The breakout topics focused on relationship challenges, overwhelmed, social media, sex and marriage, single and thriving, grief and loss, healthy eating and boundaries. Each group was well attended, and sharing difficult situations, suggestions and support with each other was truly wonderful.
I can’t thank the Lord enough for the team He put together and the many volunteers He called to make this retreat happen and happen excellently. At the close of the retreat, I challenged the ladies to not think of it ending, but to view it as a beginning. Each of us has gifts and talents—skills that God will use if we are willing!
New fall Bible studies begin soon. United Methodist Women (UMW) starts back next week, and on September 18 we have a luncheon with guest speaker Tona Ottinger. There is something for everyone! To find out more or to get involved, call me at (901) 261-2133 or Ginger Holland at (901) 261-2186. View details about upcoming events, Bible studies and UMW Circles at ChristChurchMemphis.org/Women.
Here’s what women had to say about this year’s retreat:
My heart and soul were desperate for the renewal and refreshment God provided through the women He connected me with this past weekend! I am strengthened and healed because of the laughter and love I experienced. Thank you for making the entire time incredibly meaningful and special.
Faith [Ellisor] challenged us to invest in our relationship with God as much as we do in our relationships with others. As well as defining ourselves as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, friend, wife, volunteer and career person, we are primarily to be defined as a child of God—wholly and dearly beloved by the King.
Thanks to you and your team of volunteers who made the retreat a time of rest and worship!
The retreats improve each year. Perfecto is all I can say. The large sessions, bravo!