Sunday, April 15, 2007

Good Stuff

I just got home from the Women's Retreat. It seems a little odd to say, "just got home", because I never really went anywhere, but real life begins again now. First I'll say Brandon did an awesome job with the kids. They are happy, the house is clean, and the laundry is washed! So, I can start off the week a bit ahead rather than three days behind. Whooo hoooo for keeping up!

Now, before I get on to anything else, I want to jot down the nuggets I got from the retreat. This will probably be brief, but something is better than nothing. Right?

Nugget #1. The water is in the valley.

Ruth Murray talked about Jesus as our Shepherd and a book by Phillip Keller on the intricacies of the analogy between sheep and us in the 23rd Psalm. When she got to the verse about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, she pointed out that the sheep have to go there because that's where the water is. The stream runs through the valley and the sheep have to have water. I really appreciated the aspect that our thirst can be quenced IN the valley. It's not before the valley in preparation, or after the valley to build us back up, but IN the valley- the water is IN the valley. I come away with a challenge to remember that Jesus can be filling me in the tough times as well as the plesant ones.

Nugget#2. Children absorb the atmosphere in the home.

Elaine Sandford had a workshop on How to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead. It was lots of practical tidbits for everyday living that help us to keep from getting piles, overwhelmed, and generally unorganized. The above comment was one of the first things she said and it was a good reminded. If the house is a mess, the children tend towards chaos. If the house is clean, the children tend to be more calm and peaceful- or I don't have to work at it as hard. A good reminder and incentive for me to maintain order whenever possible.

Nugget #3. One of something is many times not enough, but two of something is almost always too much.

I mentioned this one to Brandon and he said, "Yeah, like spouses." Aha! Ha! Well, that wasn't really what I was thinking of, BUT... it was actually related to Decluttering. Gretchen Post had a workshop on Decluttering and I came away inspired by this phrase in regards to owning things. I also came away with it applied to spiritual matters. I may not be all that my family needs, but two of me, or a "bigger and better" me is not the answer. What they need is more of Jesus and it's what I need too.

Nugget #4. Sometimes 1 of something is too many.

In the same workshop, I was floored by the idea that I really didn't need 1 of something. Coming from a family that has always had at least one of everything, it has never really occured to me that a person would be completely satisfied without "one". I could think of a number of things in the house that this applied to and I am looking forward to getting rid of them. Don Aslett and his book, "Loose 200 pounds This Weekend." were the main inspiration for this workshop.

Nugget #5. I can trust God because He is going before me. -or- He has searched out the place.

Ellie Pass pointed out this one. She talked about how God went before the children of Israel and searched out a place for them. What I came away with was the thought that not only was he leading them one step at a time, but he had been there way before, so in a sense, he was there twice before me- which means he really knows his stuff AND I CAN trust Him!

Nugget #6- Make a list of needs and wants and watch Him provide.

Also from Ellie's testimony. I always latch on to practical ways of making the spiritual application work. I did this. I made a list of things that have been weighing on my mind and then copied out several verses about trusting God on the same page and committed the list to Him to provide for those things. It is a freeing feeling to put it all in His lap. Some of the things were tangible, like a larger vehicle, some not- like make me loose some weight, but regardless of whether I can put my hands on it or not, He can provide for the need and for the wants as well. After all, He says he gives us the desires of our heart, and I think that can include some wants as well. Praise the Lord for practical application!

Nugget #7- Give me an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out.

Branda Lackie had this one in her testimony about enduring and having courage in the end times. I sort of applied it to my life right now- what can sometimes seem like a tribulation. If I allow discouragement, dissapointment, or fear, or whatever to get in, then it's like allowing the Devil to raise his flag in my heart and he wins that battle. I have no intention of letting Satan raise his flag in my heart! I am encouraged that I can in some ways ignore the craziness around me and look up at Jesus and focus on Him and look to him for help and He does. Then He wins and gets the glory!

Ok, so that's the tip of the iceberg of great parts from the women's retreat. All you ladies should come next year!


Claire said...

Thanks, Mary! I loved hearing all your nuggets.

lis said...

If you weren't already my hero, you would be now! Thank you, thank you for letting me "listen in."


kate said...

Yay for Mary! I would have loved to have been there, but this excellent.