This weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with an incredible group of young ladies from the Stephen F. Austin Wesley Foundation. They were the first to test out my new retreat package YOU. I always consider it a great blessing and honor to be able to stand in front of a group, whether big or small, and speak encouraging words over them. It seems as though I get just as much from them as they do from me.
It’s amazing to see that I took so much more home with me than what I walked in with. Because this event was different than the ones before, I was able to spend time listening to these girls. I watched them interact with one another. I enjoyed stories they told about their lives. I watched as each one found something in the message that spoke directly to them. I took home a little piece of each girl who touched my lives at some capacity.
This retreat was also different from other events because I was once a part of the Wesley Foundation. We sat at the table for lunch, and they allowed me to reminisce of the days when I called the Wesley my home and the people of the Wesley my family. They, too, had some of the very same stories that will one day become wonderful memories they’ll cherish forever.
Do you remember when you were little and had a “secret language?” Surely I wasn’t the only one who did that. My friends and I tried so many different types of codes to speak or write in. Looking back, I’m almost certain we were easily understood, but at the time, we felt we were the only ones who knew what we were saying to one another. This weekend, I felt at times like we were speaking in code: Mau, spoons, 4 on the couch, bigger and better, service of bread, God’s grace is free, you can have a tree but not leaves. . . Interesting how these few words bring up a vivid picture in my head, and although I haven’t been a part of the Wesley Foundation since spring 2002, I immediately had a common bond with these girls because of our secret language. And maybe you hear those same words and know what I’m talking about, but the difference with these girls and myself is that we’ve played these games in the same building, in the same van, and quite possibly on the same couch. Although we’re a generation apart, we have a common bond that quickly brought us together within only a few minutes of meeting.
This weekend reminded me of things I had forgotten. It reminded me of where I came from. It reminded me of who I was years ago and who I’ve grown into today. Tom and Susan Teekell (pastors over the SFA Wesley Foundation) were major stepping stones in my spiritual walk. It was in my years with them I learned that I could have a real relationship with God. I learned he didn’t want me to formally come to him with a rehearsed prayer that meant nothing to me. I learned I could go to God and talk to him about anything and nothing just as I would my best friend. He only wants to hear what’s in my heart. It was in those years I grew immensely as I fell in love with God and found friendships unlike any I’d ever had before.
I’m thankful for the experience to go back to what I consider my roots and help build stronger roots for future leaders – future warriors. I looked across that room and saw princesses in front of me. Maybe they never realized they were princesses before this weekend, but I do hope they know without a doubt today that they are royalty.
I believe the world will see big things from the ladies of the SFA Wesley Foundation. The room was filled with leaders who are each called to work at different capacities, and it’s my belief they will be the ones to step up and say, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.”
If you would like to learn more about this group or see what wonderful things they’re doing, check out their website http://www.sfawesley.org/WF/Home.html
If you or your organization is interested in booking a retreat of your own, please contact me through any of my social networking sites or through email mistygatlin @ ymail .com