Adoption, Being a Foster Parent, Passionately Pursuing Christ Friday, May 29, 2015
Progressively since August my life has become consumed by all thoughts #TrenchesRetreat.
What started as a whisper in my heart to do something for local women who needed to know they aren't alone in their adoption and foster care journey, launched into starting a non-profit ministry and leading an overnight retreat for 86 women.
I knew writing on this blog and finishing my book was important to spread this message, but I also felt with confidence that God wanted me to do something for women that I could reach out and hug and look into their eyes as they heard me speak words of encouragement over them.
The vision grew from there as God brought two amazing women alongside me and we pursued God's plan to show love to weary women living in the trenches of life with kids from hard places.
We prayerfully developed the mission for our ministry (breathing life into weary foster and adoptive moms), developed a goal for the retreat (to create a safe and refreshing place for women to find rest, encouragement, community, and a little bit of pampering too!), and prayed like crazy for God to bring the women that desperately needed to know they aren't alone.
What a walk of faith this journey has been.
We started from nothing. We launched a weekly encouragement newsletter that started with an empty subscription list, a facebook page that grew from 0 likes, a site was born from white space, and we opened registration not knowing how many women would come but knowing we could accommodate for up to 100 women.
I signed contracts and risked my own family's money for this mission. My husband and kids sacrificed time with me. I gave up sleep and peace for the chaos of planning a first-year event from scratch.
And it was all worth it.
I found time to pursue this mission in the midst of homeschooling, cooking, washing dishes and laundry, among other normal mundane daily tasks. I combined early mornings, late nights, and afternoon hours to make a substantial dent in the to-do list. Our team gathered regularly and prayed over what God would do through this retreat.
I tucked my kids in and then read stories of women who desperately needed to come and be refreshed but couldn't afford to pay the registration fee. Moments later I'd get notifications of sponsorship money. Every single woman that couldn't afford to come was able to come. God provided for every. single. one. There were 20 of them. 20.
I would grow discouraged at the task in front of me and then open the registration list and pray over each woman. Each family she represented. Or I'd open my inbox and see another person registered and I'd read their story and know that God was at work, despite my weaknesses and fears.
I would doubt that the details would all come together and then peace would rush over me. God had all the details in His hands. I felt the prayers of God's people in my life and in this journey. I have never prayed with such confidence and then see God clear obstacles and provide for needs.
I saw the miraculous intersect with the mundane every single day. This journey has been a front row seat to see God move mountains and work miracles for the sake of these women who needed to feel His love. For my sake too.
Just one week ago I loaded my car and drove to start setting up for our first ever Together in the Trenches retreat. It feels like a lifetime away already. But I have so many marvelous memories. And I simply CANNOT wait to look through all the photos!
I am forever changed by this journey. I tear up every time I think about the impact of our retreat in the 86 moms that joined us and their families. I cannot believe I got to be a part of it all.
But can I tell you something?
I am weary just as much as every mom that came. I needed this retreat just as much as each attendee. And God met me in my mess. He met me in my failures and shortcomings. He spoke encouragement to me. Life was breathed into me just by being there too.
This past weekend was miraculous. Just the fact that it happened is a miracle.
Yet we are all back in the trenches of life. We are back in our hard. We are back in the mundane. I mean, just yesterday I flipped out on two of my kids. We are back from the mountaintop.
But God is still good. And we can continue to find the miracle in the every day. We can find Him in our mess each moment. He is there.
And I pray that when satan tells us lies like we aren't good enough, or we are alone, or no one else feels like it shouldn't be this hard, may we know we aren't alone. We don't fight this battle by ourselves.
We are together in the trenches.
p.s. Want to spread this message? Grab one of shirts.