About a year ago, I attended the leadership retreat for the Captivating Heart Women’s Retreat. We were preparing the final details of the 2014 retreat and it was also a chance for the leadership team to come closer together in Christ.
I can’t really adequately describe how passionate I am about the Captivating Heart message-how God sees us, how my identity as a woman reflects God’s eternal beauty. It’s where I first came to the idea of being enough.
Once I better understood who I am in God (and who I am not), I started to better understand the idea of worshiping God. It makes perfect sense, really. If I better understand who I am and who God is, it will be a more fulfilling relationship.
Back to this leadership retreat. This group of women are the only people with whom I feel I am completely free to explore who God is and how I relate to him. There are no “shoulds” with this group. It was during this leadership retreat that God really blessed me with the idea that I can worship him in any way that I can and want. But also that I should worship him with all that I have.
You see, I don’t enjoy singing during corporate worship. I never have. I’ve always done it because I was “supposed to” and I would get dirty looks, nudges and gossip if I didn’t. I can assure you, I was not thinking about God during those times. I felt frustrated, confused and never really understood what I was singing. Singing was a performance to show I was complying with religious beliefs. It wasn’t about rebelling, it was about not connecting to the music. I loved the melodies, but the words just felt like repetition to me.
During last year’s leadership retreat, I decided it didn’t matter if I was being judged (and the great thing was, I wasn’t being judged. No one nudged or scolded me). Instead of singing along, I really followed along with the lyrics. We had all the words typed out because some of the songs were new to us. I drank it up. I read the words and highlighted pieces that meant the most to me. I was able to analyze the meaning and truly see the power. I still had the melodic backdrop of others singing.
During our sharing time afterwards, I was in tears. Grateful tears. I felt like I had truly connected with God during the corporate worship time. Whenever I’ve connected with God through music before, it was always in private and again, when I wasn’t expected to “perform.”
Why am I sharing all this?
The 2015 Captivating Heart Women’s Retreat is approaching Oct. 16-18. We invite all women age 17+. We will be at the same place we go every year: New Life Ranch. People have come from as far as Colorado and St. Louis so you don’t have to be from Northwest Arkansas to attend!
This year’s retreat will be different than previous years. Every other year we’ve used video, music, and teaching to express the message of God’s grace and love for women. This year will be a lot more experiential. We’ll still talk about the Captivating Heart message (inspired by the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, including dispelling the myths we’ve been fed and subconsciously agreed to. But we’ll take it a step further.
With a new understanding of our identity, we as a group will explore how our newly discovered identity changes our perception of who God is. We will explore different ways to experience God, to worship God. This includes dance, art journaling, more small group time, and so much more. Now don’t let that freak you out. This is about worshiping God, not about doing something well. Trust me, I can’t draw and a girl in a wheelchair trying to dance just looks goofy. But it’s a way to explore new (to us) ways to connect with God.
The tickets for this event are $179 but we have scholarship available (register at the Captivating Heart website). That includes meals Friday night, Saturday, Sunday morning and Sunday lunch. It also includes the cabins, curriculum, and other materials.
I hope and pray that someone reading this will join us in this journey. You won’t regret it.