Saturday, January 17, 2015
Heard, Known, and Loved
Even if I had any preconceived notions about your typical retreat (I have been to Created 4 Care once last year, and our own local Loving God's Children last year too) this was nothing like it. This retreat had the same premise as others in that it was meant for feeding your soul. Meeting with other people who have walked all different kind of paths and yet all so differently.
This was based on need that was seen among fellow adoptive and foster moms. A need to be heard, to be known, to be loved!! You see although there are many many many similarities in parenting any child there are some differences when parenting a child through foster care or adoption. There is always a sadness to their story and then to yours as well.
It may come from loss of a dream to have biological children, it comes from the child's loss of their first family, it comes from parenting a child that has experienced such loss, it comes from a world shattering decision that a family can no longer parent a child for at least a time and possibly forever for safety, it comes and it hits the adoptive family sometimes upside the head. What that does to a family can rock them to the core. It challenges everything you thought you knew about parenting. It challenges your past and brings up all the junk you have tried to hide away for years! It can rock your marriage! It can put dividers up in your home!
My friends this has happened in the adoption and foster care world and when it did...... a life ended, a beautiful and amazing life..... gone. This tragedy ROCKED so many to the core! It ROCKED US because.....what if that were us? Could we drown so much that we too would think that there was no who would see us.....maybe not even God?
This retreat was to focus on small groups with leaders who just knew they were to guide discussions and yet let the Lord take over. To allow each individual to be heard!! To let the stories- good, bad, and ugly to roll off their tongue. To allow crying, healing, and prayers to be answered. To just be! As in for real ourselves! How many times have you had a whole weekend to seriously just be yourself- no barriers, no fakeness, no pretending your life is perfect! You can seriously feel free to allow yourself to be REAL!
In return your sisters became real too! They became your pillars that supported you and held you up and there was no judgement because we ALL HAD JUNK TOGETHER AND WE LAID IT BEFORE THE LORD TOGETHER!!! There was an afternoon of choosing something you struggle with (I am honest pretty much every one of those would fit me), but I chose one. Turns out I was NOT ALONE in my struggles!!! There were others LIKE ME - ok not exactly like me ;), but they had struggles. They understood and encouraged me!! They got me!! My small group got me!! They understood!!
You know part of carrying burdens is learning how to deal with them, sometimes how to heal, and sometimes how to live with pain and let it change us into God's beautiful masterpiece. We may even share them with the Lord, but having Jesus with skin on to share them with is amazing! It is a way for us to truly be HEARD, KNOWN, and LOVED!
Not sure what the future of OASIS Meeting is? I am praying like crazy that in the coming years there are many all over the country! Why? Because I want my sisters to know- all of my sisters!! Because that lie that satan tries to tell us that we aren't good enough, look what we did to our family, look how we are so bad at handling it, look how no one else understands...you are a failure and there is no way out- is just that- a lie. THE TRUTH IS WE ARE LOVED SO DEEP WE SOMETIMES CAN'T SEE IT! This retreat helped me SEE IT CLEARLY!
A huge shout out to all who helped with the retreat! You are in my heart and special to me in a way that is hard to describe. Thank you to all the wonderful ladies that came! To all those that couldn't come, but prayed for us! For all the husbands including mine that helped with the children back home and allowed their wives to get some much needed time. You are all wonderful!!
***Side note about the pictures- the decor in the first picture was made for me by a friend Sara Friendshuh who I met at OASIS. She had made one for a giveaway at the retreat- that I didn't win, but she chose to make one for me. No strings attached just because she wanted to! THANK YOU!!
The bracelet was a prize I won - and of course it was from 147 Ministries with Gwen Oatsvall and Susan Mayernick :) whom I love and have met! I love it because it reminds me to pray for them and the missions they are doing.
The books- I won for having the most children and the most adopted children ;).
The bracelets were ones given during the retreat.... it's a long story of why I have 2, but let's just say I feel extra loved by 2 amazing women who gave them to me!!! Thank you Amy Levy and Esty Downes :).
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