Each of my trips to Created for Care have been special. Both times upon arriving home I have looked at Ryan and expressed some form of, "I just can't explain how much my heart feels at home there. The heart and mission of the weekend, the women there . . .just everything." For a while now I have been praying for how God wants to use me in this season of life and I think each time I have returned from the retreat, I have at some point lamented to Ryan that it was not closer to home for me to be more involved.
One of my big prayers through this adoption journey is that I keep looking outward. That I don't let the chasm of this wait (that some days seems to stretch on in front of us with no end) make me lose sight of how God wants to use us, use me, right now. Three busy kiddos and an unexpected move thrown in has helped that for sure (actually, that brought it's own unexpected and revealing heart journey).
But early on I knew my heart needed to stay busy. I have been super blessed to be a part of volunteering in some capacity for adoptive families but I still felt God was working somehow, in some way, for more. Some days that seems hard for wait for. And yet as I'd consider some things around us, just didn't feel His blessing and my heart match up to pursue. And so we kept praying.
This year I came back from the January retreat and just told Ryan I knew I wanted to get more involved if he could/would support that. I didn't know how . . that maybe it was only just committing to attending the second retreat each year as a volunteer for them to use where there was need.
At this point I had grown to known Andrea, the founder & another adoptive mom through my agency. So I contacted her to see if they would need help for this year's march retreat with Ryan's blessing.
Long story short as I went to look into some details, it just didn't seem to be working out. So a little disappointed, I told them we were going to have pass on this year but to know that my heart was there and both Ryan and I were willing to make a way for me to serve in future years if they would need it. And there it sat.
A couple weeks later, they got back in touch.
As only God can do, He used some random contacts to help and totally separate contacts of a friend, to match perfectly to their own prayers for the ministry and its expanding needs.
And a longer story short?
I am now blessed to be a small part of an incredible team of women helping serve the women who attend Created for Care each year. What I love even more is that I get to serve alongside a dear friend, and focus specifically on bringing the heart and teachings of Created for Care to local communities . . .not just the women who can travel to Atlanta.
This is the first year Created for Care is starting their mini-retreats on a larger scale. These mini retreats take the sessions, on either cd or dvd format, and put them in the hands of the women who attend. The desire is that these women then go back to their own communities and orphan care communities and work on building relationships that are authentic, supportive and grounded on the Word of God through a Created for Care Mini-Retreat.
It allows us to pour into the lives of women in our own circles; to pour God's love and encouragement into these momma's as they love big in their own families and on their children from hard places. And we get to do this with the women we do life with. I love the potential there for God to move among communities and strengthen families!
There will probably be more about this to come in the future (even as we hold our own mini retreat this coming spring). But one of the fun blessings of this invitation was that it meant I was able to travel back for the March retreat (and it was so cool to see how God moved details to work out for me to go).
It was such a blessing to experience the retreat on the other side of the table - as someone there to serve and pour into the women attending.
I didn't take many pictures just with how the weekend went . . .but I did get to take a few.
Amazing to think that each of these mugs represented a momma, marriage, children . . .and a family that was going to be poured into in so many ways beyond the physical drink.
Andrea, myself, Mindy and Christy.
Part of the Created for Care team minus Angie's sweet self.
Staying warm by the fire at night.
It is a blessing to get to serve with such a dear friend. And so neat to see how God moved and knew we needed to join as a team.
And so fun to see two sweet adoptive friends . .. for a second time in a year!! Both Cris and Lauren (moms from my agency) lead breakout sessions for the retreat. Love these women's hearts and what they have taught me.
Cris has become so dear to me this past year. She is such an encourager at the core and her commitment to equip and pour God's truth into adoptive mom's still blesses me. Not to mention God used her in some precious ways to speak into my life and our family's life. I still am holding on to some sweet words of promise God used her to speak to me.
And see the glasses? Yep . ..it was Sunday. : )
I will be excited to see what God has in store with this ministry!