Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why You Need a Retreat

So I'll just begin by saying . . yes, I host a retreat. And yes, I would love for you to attend. But honestly, that's not really what this post is about.

No, this is about you and why you need a retreat.

For the sake of clarity, let me define what I mean by a retreat. This definition will do . . . "a quiet and secluded place in which one can rest and relax."

Your soul needs this place. And probably more than once a year. If you haven't taken this kind of focused time for yourself (or if it's been more than a year since you did), let me give you a few reasons why you should.

1. A retreat recalibrates your soul. The busyness and harshness of life have a way of knocking our souls off kilter and robbing our everyday of meaning and purpose. A retreat can bring us back on course.

2. A retreat reminds those you love that you are a woman worth caring for. It's easy to be taken for granted as a woman. Not because your loved ones are spoiled and selfish, but because you are so generous. You give and give, and those around you can easily forget (or never even know) you have needs too. It's good for them to see you take time to care for yourself!

3. A retreat lets you feel. It can be scary. But whether the deep "feels" of your soul are positive or negative or more likely a messy mix of both, you need time to sit and sort and feel.

4. A retreat reconnects you to the best of you. If you're gracious with yourself on your time of retreat, you have the wonderful potential to get to know parts of you that you may have forgotten or have just never taken the time to know. 

For a while there was a push to call retreats “advances.” No, thank you. Every day and every one will invite me to advance, push harder and faster, and excel. A retreat is a unique invitation to step away and even back a few steps to a quiet and secluded place in which one can rest and relax.

Whether it's a day, a weekend, or week. Whether you go a quiet place all alone, with a few friends, or a large group of likeminded women. Whether you take just a Bible, journal, and pen or sit and listen to stories and lessons from women like you . . . I hope you'll consider taking a retreat in the near future. 

Winsome is just one opportunity. There are some other amazing women around the country that want to see you refreshed and encouraged and have planned retreats for that very purpose!

I encourage you to check out these regional retreats coming up in the near future:

(hurry . . registration closes Sunday, 2/1)

Jumping Tandem: The Retreat

In case you aren't convinced yet, here's one more reason (the best reason) for you to take a retreat . . your Father wants to spend time with you. He wants to go with you to a still place and remind you that He loves you like crazy. And if there's no other reason at all, that's why you need a retreat.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Worth the Risk

Dreams. They inspire and challenge. But dreams can also have a negative connotation. Consider statements like…
“Quit dreaming.”
“She’s just a dreamer.”
Dreams are often met with cynicism, because they’re risky. They upset the “status quo.” They’re not safe.
Join me over at God-Sized Dreams for the rest of this post and some more of my thoughts on dreams and risk!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Messy Boys

“It’s messy.” 

My friend nods. “Yes, it’s definitely messy!”

We are talking about the trials of walking beside sons emerging into manhood.

I heard once that a boy becomes a man over his mother’s dead body, and boy are there days when it really does feel like a fight to the death.

It’s a mess of emotions, misunderstanding, and some hormones thrown in to boot. Ironically, this season of hormonal mayhem often occurs right about the time a momma’s hormones are beginning to take their own first steps into the crazy dance of perimenopause. 

Oy vey! One can’t help but wonder, “God, what were you thinking?!”

I’m a few years ahead of my friend with a couple grown sons "under my belt", but I’m still in the ring with two teen boys and a twelve year old. So I offer her my best advice.

“Be okay with the mess.” {<==click to tweet}

The lesson started early with mud, sticky faces, dirty socks, and Legos. Everywhere. Raising boys doesn’t happen without a mess. And while a momma must constantly wrestle to keep the mess from getting out of control, to insist upon perfect order and cleanliness is to sacrifice a world of adventure and boyhood joy. {<==click to tweet} Learning to be okay with the physical mess is the precursor to the season my friend and I are pondering. 

If I insist on perfect behavior and don’t allow grace and love to cover a multitude of stumbles (his and mine) along this new terrain, I will sacrifice relationship.

We moms tend to tighten our grasp when things get shaky. Years ago I was on a guided horseback ride in the mountains. As we headed down the steep, rocky path, I gripped tighter and tighter to the reins. The guide rode up next to me and, seeing my strained face and my poor, tightly-reined horse, said words I’ll never forget.

“Let him have his head.”

He explained that as my brave steed was navigating, I communicated confidence to him by loosening the reins and letting him “have his head.” Talk about counterintuitive! 

At the time our oldest son Josh was just entering his teen years. I immediately thought of him and this new path we were navigating. (And I’m sure many times he felt like I was on his back!) The scarier things got, the tighter I “reined” him in. Might loosening my grip communicate confidence to him and enable him to navigate this season even better than my white-knuckled grasp?

It’s a scary premise. But in the end it was my horse that carried the responsibility of navigation. And in the end, it’s my son who will navigate the path of manhood and all it’s twists, dips, turns, and potholes. Confidence is one of the greatest gifts a mom can give her son. {<==click to tweet}

You can bet it will be messy! Learning to be okay with the mess is the key to "enjoying the ride”. Yes, it’s steep, scary, and full of opportunities for mistakes and even calamity. But this is the dangerous path we’ve chosen as moms. And we have all the promises and assurances of our great Father to sustain us.

And as I let loose (note, I don’t let go) the reins, I can wholeheartedly embrace the adventure, joy, humor, and pure pleasure and pride of watching my son become a man during these crazy years. 

Right there in the middle of the mess.

Are you raising boys too? Where have you found joy and fun in the mess? And if you're walking or have walked the road of "emerging manhood" with your boy, what's your best advice?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sure Things

The mountains outside my morning window . . . are gone.

Where they once stood, only thick, cold, grey skies remain. My eyes say it's so. "I saw it with my own eyes!" Isn't that the surest thing? It's my own eyewitness testimony. The mountains are gone.

But sight can be short and senses tricked. I know what's true. The mountains haven't gone anywhere. I can see them there in my mind's eye. Blue Ridged, sharp against a clear blue sky. Unmoveable.

Thick, grey skies can deceive. Just like cold, dark circumstances that eclipse and hide sure things.

I may not see or feel them right now, but sure things stand despite vision or feelings. God's great love and promises haven't gone anywhere.

Are difficult circumstances clouding your vision today? We can't always clear the clouds, but we can recall to mind God's promises. How has God been faithful to you in the past? How has he shown His love to you? 

Hold tight and take comfort in those sure things while you wait for clearer skies to reveal what you already know by heart.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Holding On To Christmas

All our ambition comes to a head at Christmas. In lights, gifts, baking, parties. We go all out for beauty and celebration of all that is best.

And you smile. Because you're a Father. The very best.

And when we find ourselves weary worn, sugared out, and slightly to very depressed, you say "Come here, my darling girl, and rest."

You are not harsh or hard to please. No, you're all that's good. All that we love. You are the smells, sights, and joy . . . all that we yearn to hold on to in this season.

You are cozy. Like the soft warm blankets and slippers we wrap around our bodies and souls like a cocoon.

We want to stay.

But the Christmas "season" ends. Decorations must be packed away, schedules resumed. Back to the day to day.

But You stay. And You are all the ambition of my heart.

So Christmas, the very best, it lasts forever.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Winsome - A Weekend Retreat for Discovering, Experiencing, & Reclaiming Joy

I founded Winsome in 2012 after many years of dreaming about a different kind of woman’s retreat. One where a diverse group of women would gather to be inspired, challenged, and reminded of their heavenly Father’s immense love for each one of them.

I'm sharing about Winsome at Circles of Faith. Please join me there to read more about it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Celebrating Beauty

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received the invitation. It’s a busy season, so I tend to scrutinize the events that go on my calendar more than normal during the month of December.
But then again the founder of Verity VareĆ© is my daughter, and her dream business was turning one. It was going to be a birthday celebration!

Join me here to read the rest of this post and find out more about the fabulous message of Vv !