I am not sure what was more fun, short sheeting Lori at 1am, doing a skit where I was "Tessa the Canadian toolmaster" strolling the beach with the girls while we took 1000 pictures, taking a Zumba class (me and rhythm don't get along) or staying up until all hours of the night talking and laughing about life and everything in between.
The speaker was Poppy Smith, who was simply wonderful, she was refreshing, hilarious and honest to the core. The theme was "flip this house" aka flip my Words, My heart and My attitudes and Thoughts and turn them to be more like Jesus Christ. I could definitely do some flipping in all areas mentioned, a more beautiful character is very much what I strive for!
I said before that Poppi was really honest, and was she ever! I loved her transparency, isn't it so refreshing to know others have the same struggles as you do? Through all her struggles and shortcomings in life she consistently looked to God for help. And then to see the beautiful woman that she is now because of her close walk with God was incredibly encouraging and motivating in my own journey!
I tore myself away from my friends for a while (seriously not easy to do when you only see them for a weekend) and sat on the beach to have some intimate time with the Lord and reflect on life.
Here is a little piece of what I wrote:
"Four years ago I sat in the same place, but life was vastly different then. I was much fatter and waddled down the beach in such an attractive manner, I was 8 months pregnant with Jacob! And we had just started the youth pastor job at Lake. We were loving life! That was my first womans retreat, it was full of other moms pouring into my life giving me loads of advice and it is where I began many of the friendships I hold so closely today. And here I am today, two kids later and no longer a husband. Paralling these two worlds is so surreal. It feels like a million years have passed and the girl I am today is so very different from four years ago. (You can actually read the post I wrote way back then here.) I have seen God work so intimately in my life, taken me and refined, restored and "flipped" where I was lacking and where I struggled. "
Reading that post reminds me of something huge, four years later there still remains the one constant in my life, God. Four years ago I had written:
"The ocean reminds me of God's holiness - perfect love and righteousness. How awesome is it that I have a relationship with this God, the one who created the ocean and that gorgeous sunset? I talk to Him every day! He is my rock and I find my strength and my joy in Him. He is my King and He is my love, He is Jesus, he changed my life, let him change yours."
He is still my joy and my rock, He is the God who never left my side, who has led me through the raging storm and brought me out to where I can see a sunrise so beautiful I can hardly stand it. I know for some reading this life isn't full of sunrises right now...it might be more like storms and hurricanes and a heck of alot pain. Life will get better, I promise you that!! I know it's hard to imagine but trust me on this one. And know there is hope, SO much hope in Jesus Christ and a life so beautiful you'll hardly be able to stand it.
This weekend I think I can say for one of the first times that going to an event was not bittersweet, it was just sweet! I was pretty prepared for all of life to be bittersweet and I know I'll have hard moments again, but it was nice to just embrace the sweet.
My wonderful family watched my sick children, thank you! Although I'm pretty sure my sister will never have kids since Micah was sick and woke up every hour most nights, but they did a great job!
Here are some pics from the fabulous weekend!