When a Retreat Refreshes You

Happy Monday, friends! I'm back from a weekend spent in the mountains with our youth group. Josh and I tackled our first trip as youth directors this weekend with our youth's annual fall retreat to Asbury Hills and I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all. 

This weekend was just what I needed. A step away from real life and reality and step into God's beautiful creation, with a fantastic group of youth, my husband, and no cell service. Is it time to go back yet? 

This weekend laughs were abundant, tears we cried, disappointments were shared, raw and honest testimonies were shared and the Lord was at every turn. My heart was at such peace this weekend. And I hope our youth felt that way too.

We couldn't have asked for better weather this weekend we hit the mountains at just the right time because all of the leaves were changing and the views were nothing short of stunning. As I said, this was our first trip as youth directors and I am so thankful for the time we got to spend with our guys and girls this weekend. It was such a great opportunity for our friendships to grow, to learn more about them and to connect with them on a different level. 

I never knew that the Lord had plans to lead Josh and I into youth ministry, but after this weekend, I can fully say that I'm so glad that He did. In an effort to be very transparent, planning for this trip was daunting. Between lining up a van, securing a cabin, getting permissions slips signed and turned in, to planning every program that took place this past weekend, it was tiring just planning the trip. But once we got there and everything began to fall into place, I was at such ease and peace, knowing that the Lord was in control and that the weekend would be better than we could have even imagined. 

My eyes, heart and mind were opened to situations going on in my life and situations going on in the lives of my youth this weekend. We took a night hike and ended up on the dam overlooking the lake and we all laid down and talked to God. Without words even being spoken out loud, I knew the Lord was moving in the hearts of those youth. I was honored to cry alongside and pray alongside all of them. 

We all have so much junk in our lives that sometimes we just need to rid ourselves of, and this weekend was the perfect opportunity to do so. In one of my prayers this weekend, I urged the youth (and myself and Josh included) to find God wherever they are. Whether that's kneeling at the foot of the cross or whether that's at the end of a long, scary road, with the cross barely in sight. Wherever our journeys are at this point and time, God will meet us there. He knows our needs, wants, desires, successes, failures, and sins...and He is there to grant us everything we need and give us grace when we need it most. 

Sitting at my desk this morning, I'm longing to be back in the mountains with that group. Reality is hard, for everyone. But I'm so thankful to have people to go through life with that are encouraging and prayerful...and I pray that our youth group knows just how much we love them and how often we cover them in prayer. When we first got this job, someone told me that before I knew it I'd love these kids like they were my own, and I absolutely do....I absolutely do.

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