WOW! I am finally coming up for air after crashing pretty early the last two nights! It was SUCH an amazing weekend–one that I really can’t put into words!! “REALLY, you say?” I know, I’m a writer at heart–but there are SO many things that were just amazing…AMAZING…about the weekend. Truly, I have NEVER in my entire life been to a retreat like this one–and I can take ABSOLUTELY ZERO credit for it. It was just the Lord all over it!!!
From start to finish–for me…it was a taste of heaven. Beginning with praying with the session breakout leaders and speakers over all the women there–I started off the weekend in tears (good tears!) and I think I choked up at every prayer and welcome from then on out! I was challenged to be around other moms who have followed the Lord in growing their families through adoption…opening their hearts and homes to little ones because of Kingdom living—taking care of orphans by changing their status to SONS and DAUGHTERS…and being willing to go in the depths of brokeness with their little ones to see healing and hope begin to truly happen.
I loved that we heard from SO many different adoption moms and teachers—so often you go to retreats and it’s the same “key note” speaker–and you find yourself listening to the speaker and hearing from them more than seeing the common thing so many different speakers are talking about—and listening to hear from the Lord above all else. One thing I really loved, was our “Date with God” time. I would do this time an injustice to try and describe it—it was just incredible…to be able to pray over others prayer requests, to sit quietly before the Lord…and to even paint and create sculptures as I prayed and just rested in His Peace.
And the worship—it truly blew me away. On Friday night I was taken back during worship. I wish I could have held it in–but the tears poured down my cheeks as I sang to the Lord for His perfect plan and for His goodness. There I was with over 250 moms following Him in this way–and I looked to my right and beside me I saw Laura McBrayer. Then I looked to my left–and I saw Amy Stavnes, Melanie Strobel, Meghan Dempster and Kristin Burleigh…and several other moms that ALSO had their babies home—but to me—these babies are so very, very dear. Their babies were in the orphanage at Hannah’s Hope the SAME time as my Isaac Temesgen…
So there I stood–in Atlanta, Georgia…praising God with these other moms…when last year–we were all desperately waiting for a phone call–to call us with a referral for our children…to tell us they were okay…to tell us the wait was over–and we could soon bring them home. Then–there I stood with hands lifted high with the MOMS of the babies that my son roomed with at the orphanage just a year ago…all of our children were once orphans…they were once across the WORLD…and now I stood there praising the Lord WITH them WHILE our babies were home safely tucked in their beds with their daddies home caring for them. SERIOUSLY–I was overwhelmed by His goodness and grace! And that I would have the opportunity to not only MEET these moms–but worship WITH them. wow. Wow. WOW!
So many wonderful things happened–and I also believe SO many wonderful things will come out of the retreat. Before the retreat began, we only had around 20 moms signed up to attend the HIV adoption breakout. After we were EDUCATED by Amy Levy and Susan Hillis HOW HARD it is to get HIV and really…just how uneducated our country is on HIV in general…YET how DESPERATELY these children NEED to come home to moms and dads who will care for them and get them the medicine they need to LIVE–blows me away. Seriously–what IS Kingdom living about?? One thing is certain–I am 100% certain that if I were living in the Kingdom and looked down to see thousands of children in orphanages with HIV with very short lines waiting for them…that I would LONG to come down to Earth and tell them how LOVED they are…how VALUED they are…and how God WILL speak to hearts to find them a family. Oh–I pray we listen when He calls!!! BUT GET THIS! After the pj panel–more moms signed up for this and the next day there were more than twice as many present as moms that had originally signed up!!! Just amazing!!!
The breakout sessions–were incredible…and after debriefing with some of the session speakers and planning crew–we already have a long list of ideas for NEXT YEAR! Did I just say NEXT YEAR? Absolutely!!! We are so in–and we can’t wait for many of you to join us again!!! We will be sending out a survey later in the week to hear from teh 250+ mommas input to help us with planning next year’s retreat! Now…what did other mommas have to say??? Well…I have spotted a few on blogs–but of course send me your link if I don’t have it so I can share it too! Would love to share what other moms got out of the retreat!
This is a Great Adventure
Hearing ItToys in My Coffee
Our Journey to 6
Jones Always and Forever
The Bice Family Blog
My Resting Place
Filled with Praise
Our Something Beautiful
We Love our Lucy
The Growin’ Gothros
Begin with One
And 2 Became 5
The Farmer’s Wife Tells All
Leigh-One Day at a Time
The Brown Brigade
Okay…so if you blogged about the retreat–email me your link so I can share!!!! AND your favorite pics too! We can totally use them for next year fun stuff:). I did not take ONE single picture. NOT ONE. SOOOO…here are a few fun ones that have been sent my way…
LOVED getting to meet these fun blog and AGCI mommas…and Aimee Powell too. I love that we may all be from different parts of the country…adopt from different places…YET our heartbeat for these kids is the same!!!!
Ok…so I’m sure more to come!!! Just wanted to share a little bit of the retreat while I had a moment!!! Can’t wait to share more…and can’t wait to share 2012 dates once they are in place so you can mark your calendars!!!!!! XOXO!