A year ago I dreamed that my girls would have opportunity for two things: retreats and missions. Through answered prayer, we are now in a place where both are open to them. Grace returned from her first retreat changed in so many wonderful ways. She is more mature, more independent, more capable, more grounded in her faith. She is committed to leadership, to fusing her talents and her faith, and to exploring the options that God presents to her.
In her youth group she has found friendships that are true and honest and grounded on commonalities that extend beyond faith and worship. Lilah is building relationships, having come to youth group in September. She passed on the most recent retreat in favor of waiting until her relationships are solidified. Determination is a trait both my girls share and I have no doubt that when she says she will attend the winter retreat, she will and she too will come back a slightly more grown up version of the girl who left.
The October retreat differed from Lead Week, which Grace attended in August. This was much larger, 180 people vs. 50. There was a guest speaker, Zane Black and the theme was that God is Greater. Kinda amazing isn't it. God is whispering. Over and over we have heard this message and I have spent time reflecting on what this means and I have a few thoughts that I will share at a later date.
I am so very grateful for our church, for it's Youth Pastors, the adults who give their time voluntarily to these teens and who are true role models, to the children who have welcomed mine into their fold and to the retreat centers that offer a safe place to gather, disconnect and reflect.