Weekend Recap//Minister's Wives Retreat IG Style

October 21, 2012

This weekend I had the opportunity to go with our pastor's wife Emily, our dear friend Sarah, and her sister-in-law Beth (whose hubby is also a pastor in the area, and I have no idea why we didn't get to meet sooner than we did) to the Louisiana Baptist Convention's Minister's Wives Retreat at Tall Timbers. There was some cheesy stuff, but God still works with cheesy and he did a number on me. 

To start off Friday I took a personal day and just cleaned and got my act together before we hit the road. Every morning I make a Green Monster smoothie for breakfast and typically add cinnamon to it, not this morning. I added cumin. I kept wondering why it smelled like old dirty mexican food, and finally realized I had swapped up where I stuck the cinnamon and cumin and grabbed the wrong thing. Breakfast fail! It was absolutely hilarious, I had caught myself almost doing it the other day and finally fell prey to the tricky Great Value labels! While I am not a fan, the dogs enjoyed their Cumin Green Monster, recipe to come soon. Kidding, I kid! 
After fixing the mishap and making a huge cup of decaf coffee, I am officially addicted to all the fall creamers and had to move to decaf so that I will be able to sleep before next Spring. I managed to run a few errands and enjoy the nice fall weather while walking around campus. 

[I just started talking to Jer and the spacing got off, sorry it if looks crazy and I make no sense from this point lol]

Once we got to the conference center we grabbed our bags, ate dinner (which was apparently the weekends theme), and went to the opening worship service.

No joke, we had some sort of food every single hour. You think Baptist eat a lot of church, you should see how they serve the minster's wives. It was like a Sunday Social x2. I feel like I need to detox after all that food, I stuffed my face like it was my last meal.

Now the pic you are seeing to the left if of dearest Sarah, she tries so hard not to end up in my pics but I torture her anyway. At this point in the night we were getting a good dose of cheesy entertainment. We started laughing because it was so ridiculous, and ended the laughter based on the fact that Sarah was watching it so seriously, with a very "not amused" look on her face!

I also tried to get a group pic a few times, it failed. So instead you get a cookie pic! Yes our first snack of the night was not only a fresh baked cookie, it was also in a bag full of chocolate and Cheese-Its.

It was like they were concerned we didn't eat enough at dinner when we had gumbo, catfish, fries, salad, and hushpuppies.

Halfway through my Cheese-Its and after a whole cookie...inthe midst of the evening entertainment this video played:

Y'all! We Could Not Quit Laughing! I don't know if it was because it was so ridiculous or what, but we found it to be hilarious. Hands down highlight of the comedy session:)

My picture disappeared from this post somehow, but the next morning we went to breakfast and to the breakout sessions. I was really surprised to see one on Gardening and Canning. I wasn't going to go until I realized we could pick any two sessions, then I was all in. The lady to spoke lives on a farm, grows her own everything, cans, has chickens, makes her own cheese, and even makes her own makeup. She totally out ranked Pioneer Woman on her level of country awesomeness quick. Only disappointment is that she doesn't blog, such a shame. I did get her email though, I think I will need it when I start my own country woman journey...which if I get a few planter beds will start soon. Soon as in when we get a house to rent! There is zero room here for my country life fantasy. She did make canning sound a lot easier, I think I will try it out and share it with y'all. Emily said she makes big batches of her salsa and cans it, that makes way more sense than us eating it super quick because I don't can it. I'll have to get her to give me some tips and I'll show you how it goes.

Sarah and I skipped out to a session about how we are "always becoming" a better Christian woman. It was great, but that is where everything hit me. Since we came here I have felt so inadequate of this position. Jeremy is the youth minister at our church and I just never viewed myself like this. I don't have full books memorized, I can't always remember where books are, I have things in life I regret, and I don't feel like I am eloquent enough to pray out loud much less talk to humans. I've never been the emotional type, I can be silly or mad, but I never show my emotional side to others. Jeremy has even rarely seen it. I've prayed a lot about this lately, I don't want to come off as emotionless and like I have a wall up. But I have, and it has prevented me from having relationships with people even when I wanted a relationship.

Needless to say God answered that prayer, and I realize maybe it is silly to ask God to let you be more tender hearted, but when I got into that session and the other ladies started talking it started to hit me. A minister's wife a few seats down from me was asked to read a certain verse and as she thumbed through her bible she made a comment about how she added tabs because she has trouble keeping up with where books are...at that moment I realized these women were humans too. I didn't have to pretend to have it together, because no one else really does either. After the bible tabs comment everything made me weepy eyed. I felt like I was a part of this. I am a minister's wife, no matter how much I feel like I am not prepared for this, or however much other people have made mean comments about me saying that I shouldn't do this.

While we aren't perfect people. I am perfect for Jeremy and he is perfect for me.
While I didn't plan to become a minister's wife, God did plan for me to.

These ladies opened my eyes so much this weekend. I realized they struggle too, I guess God needed me to know they are human too. They have made mistakes and have things they regret, but they don't let it ruin them. I also realized that it is a type of spiritual warfare when this happens, the skeletons in my closet are not always out and about. But they show up when things are on the up and up. They show up when we are trying our best to follow God's will. The speaker this weekend made this comment:

The gift of imperfection magnifies the glory of God in our lives. 

That was the most eye opening thing, and I needed to hear it so badly. I have insecurities about my imperfections, but what glory does God have if I just wallow in my self pity over regrets. He is glorified when I have faith in him and let go. I am sure the things I encountered are things my youth group girls will come upon one day in some way, shape, or form. These sweet girls do not need to see me beaten up by my past and constantly being defeated by it. They need to know that people make mistake and that God is a merciful God and will glorify himself through our imperfections.

Me being perfect doesn't help anyone. If anything it will only make someone feel like they aren't dressed well enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough. They have to know that I do have flaws (not exactly what they are in depth) and that God has released me from strongholds in my life.

I managed to get it together long enough to eat the coolest lunch ever. They had decorated tables with different themes, ours was painting. We actually got to paint while we ate another huge meal! I thought it was so sweet that they had pastors in the area there as our servers, they were dressed were all so handsome and had on bowties. The lady next to Sarah in the pic is who hosted our table and her husband was a server, she was so so sweet. The whole experience was just amazing.

I know I sound like butterflies and flowers right now, but it really was so neat to see all of these men serving their wives.

On our way home we hit up Cracker Barrel for sweet Emily. Beth and Em are both still very young pastor's wives, but they are so encouraging. Sarah will probably shoot me for this photo, she boycotted and kept eating...and it went on Instagram. When she and her hubby get smart phones next month I have a feeling she is get me for all the pics I've taken of her lol!

The weekend ended on such a great note, we drank coffee and ate the best deserts while chatting about life. The girls were so sweet to share their desserts...I on the other hand put out a one spoon full warning after I had the first bite of mine. If you are at Cracker Barrel this fall I suggest you skip dinner and order a couple of their Pumpkin Custard with Caramel Mousse and a Gingerbread Cookie for yourself. Don't share it. You will regret sharing it. I would do just about anything for this desert. Anything!
When I got home I found a few notes from our lovely Gerard. He was sweet enough to take care of the pups while we were out of town. The note at the bottom happens to be written on my Christmas wish list. We also jokingly call him our son, he sleeps on my couch often and I feed him a lot. Plus the three of us tend to go places, like WalMart. We actually do a lot together. You have to love him though, he is such a sweet guy. 

Today at church our pastor preached from Luke about the woman who was sobbing and cleaning Jesus's feet and basically making a big scene. He made that point that she didn't seem to care about her past sins, she just worshiped Jesus. Jesus didn't turn her away and tell her to get her act together, he allowed her to come to him as she was. She was a complete hot mess (my words obviously) but she had faith and worshipped Jesus anyway. Jesus told her that her sins have been forgiven, past tense. They were forgiven before she began to clean his feet. Jesus told the parable about the men who had their debt forgiven and asked who loved the man more for having their debt forgiven. When that was said I was basically slapped across the face. I shouldn't be so ashamed of my past sins that they prevent me from worshiping God, I should just love him and worship him more because he forgave me. When we got up to sing the last song I just about couldn't keep it together. I just kept hearing "You're free, you're free, just let it go". And I do, I have to let it go. I honestly think today I did.This may not be totally appropriate, but I feel like I need to say it. I also realized that my FB quotes had cussing and a few other things in it. If you've seen it and it offended you I am sorry. I honestly haven't updated it since I was probably 19-20 and had absolutely no clue it was like that. It had been years since I read it and did't know it was like that. I just wish someone would have brought it to my attention sooner.  I don't do much with FB these days, the updates that do show up are automatic from other Social Media sources.