Thursday, October 9, 2014

Adventures in Women's Ministry Continued / The Retreat

When God started putting together a Women's Ministry Leadership Team, He started it with a few who had a burden for other women to have Godly women to "do life" with. (If you haven't read my first post on Women's Ministry, start there.) Our first few "meetings" were really basically prayer meetings. We all had a desire to do this only according to God's plan & will. We began by offering a couple of Women's Bible Studies & also, working to spread the word about the women's opportunities that were already available. (An ongoing Bible Study offered on Wed. mornings, another one on Wed. nights, Mission Action...)

God started defining the ministry areas of the leaders. He also sent us other leaders to fill in the gaps & meet needs. Through interaction with God & the sharing of testimonies, we were able to see the specific areas & needs for which God has equipped us to minister. 

Some specific areas of Women's Ministry God has equipped us for:

-Women's Bible Studies
-Missions (Acts 1:8 format)
-Spiritual Growth, Discipleship, & Mentoring
-Kingdom-building Event Planning
-College-Aged Ministry Concentration
-Minister's Wives Ministry Concentration
-Coping with Infertility or Loss of a Child
-Coping with Divorce (as a wife)
-Coping with Divorce (as a child of divorced parents)
-Coping with Rejection
-Coping with Molestation
-Coping with Adultery
-Coping with Rape
-Coping with Remarriage

Our biggest focus in the ministry has been the Ladies Retreat that is later this month (Oct. 24-25). We began praying about this retreat since the end of the last retreat in 2013. Early this year, the Lord revealed to us that, while we enjoy & benefit from an outside speaker, He wanted us to keep this year's retreat "in-house." God has recently done this mighty work by forming the Leadership Team & He has equipped us to minister to His people. This year the focus will be on the ladies of our church family fellowshipping, getting to know each other, breaking down any barriers that we may have, getting rid of any notions that any of us have it all together, & allowing us to unite & start doing life together. God has placed us in this family together. It is our job to know each other, love each other, & be Jesus to each other.

The plan for this retreat is to be an intimate setting. We will play together, worship together, & pour our hearts out to one another. Some of the Leadership Team will be sharing their testimonies. There are too many of us for all of us to share (we would need a few more days!), but we're going by God's leadership & plan to know what needs to be shared.

In preparation for the weekend, some of us put together an excerpt from our testimonies. We are all just normal people with problems, but God has transformed our lives through His power & might! Here are some of them:

"I was rejected at birth, sexually abused, then promiscuous...but God pursued, redeemed, accepted, & transformed me!"

"I was a young mother of 2 with 1 on the way when my husband left. I felt broken, abandoned, scared, lonely, & hopeless...but God transformed!"

"I was a natural born do-gooder, rule follower, & people pleaser. I thought I had it all together until God showed me my heart. While I looked good on the outside, inside I was idolatrous & self-righteous...but God transformed!"

"I was tormented & paralyzed by doubt & fear...but God delivered & transformed to a faith walk secure in the finished work of Christ & the living power of His resurrection!"

"I grew up in a Christian home. I've been a 'good' Christian & doing all the right things, but living with small acts of disobedience kept me from hearing the Lord speak to me...but God transformed & is transforming!"

"I was plagued by anorexia & dealing with the aftermath of rape. I was left in the pit of depression wanting to die...but God breathed abundant life into me, redeeming & transforming me!"

"I spent years feeling like a disappointment to my earthly father, so I struggled to accept the unconditional, immeasurable love of my Heavenly Father...but God transformed me."

"I lived a life filled with trials. I grew up with a verbally abusive step father. As an adult, my husband left me & our child. I later remarried the man God had for me, but the trials weren't over. I got pregnant with our child, but she was stillborn at 30 weeks. I became pregnant again, but had a miscarriage. The trials were almost too much to bear...but God transformed & later gifted us with a  precious little girl. He is still transforming & has taught me that He has a plan. He has also shown me that those trials have only drawn me nearer to Him."

Ladies of PHBC. Our defenses our down. We are the epitome of "In my weakness, He is strong" (see 2 Cor. 12:9-11). We want to show you our weaknesses so that God may be glorified. Come be a part of the Ladies Retreat. Let us share our hearts with you & let's start doing life together.

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