A few friends of mine had joined a group last fall called Birds On A Wire. When the spring semester registration time rolled around they asked me to join. Since I’m always game for connecting with other mothers, growing my faith, and spending time with good friends I signed up. I also signed up for the Birds On A Wire weekend retreat before ever even attending a single group meeting. I knew my friends planned to attend and figured I can always use a weekend away with the girls.
I didn’t know going into the weekend exactly what it would hold or just how much I would enjoy myself, but it surpassed any possible expectations. I had the pleasure of spending days surrounded by strong, beautiful, caring women as well as feeling closer to my heavenly Father. Pretty powerful stuff I have to say.
I thought about doing a full play by play recap, but that’s not really my style. I personally prefer to focus on the highlights, the things that struck a chord with me, and the insights I gained through the experience. Come along with me as I reflect on such a wonderful weekend?
1. Not having to cook makes me feel pretty darn pampered.
The Winshape Retreat Center where the events were held did a fantastic job of spoiling us with delicious food morning, noon, and night. They served up a delicious meal for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner while on their grounds. They had the most guest service minded people caring for each woman along the way. An entire weekend with such treatment? Makes you feel appreciated and special…something that a lot of times you’re on the opposite end of as a mom.
2. I need to get outdoors more often.
The grounds of the retreat were beautiful, nestled in the Berry College campus in north Georgia. We were surrounded by fields, open skies, mountains, and lots of nature.
On Saturday afternoon during our free time, my friends and I went exploring. We visited the Old Mill on the Berry College campus and the House of Dreams. Many of the grounds and sights were built by students of Berry College in the early 1900s. The school and area continue to emphasize that sense of community and a simpler way of life. Surrounding ourselves with that all weekend had me craving more time doing favorite pastimes of hiking, being in nature, and taking a slower pace in life.
3. Getting ridiculous is very freeing.
The first night of the retreat, the head of Birds On A Wire, Karen, and her group had planned a hilariously unexpected evening of fun for us all to get to know each other a bit more. We learned this crazy dance called the “Wop” (apparently it’s the new hit thing) to loosen us all up because we knew how ridiculous we looked. We also took the first night creating crazy outfits and stories for a fashion show using only the contents of a bag we received.
These activities served to break us out of our comfort zones, break down barriers, and really get us connected with each other before heading into some deeper stuff for the weekend.Learning that we can all let loose, act silly, and not judge each other for it freed us the rest of the weekend.
No woman is perfect. We’re all a little crazy in our own ways. Yet we can still be who we are, who God created us to be, and love each other for it. FREEING!
4. We need boundaries.
Saturday morning included a few various sessions followed up with good group discussions. Part of that included a discussion on boundaries. We went over various areas where we, as moms, sometimes struggle to set boundaries. The session summed up that having zero limits to what we think we can handle inevitably will leave us pouring ourselves out so much that we end up empty. Hmmmm? Sound familiar? I guess God wanted to confirm that message He’s been sending one more time. Haha!
5. We each get filled back up in different ways. Find yours.
After learning about how we can pour ourselves out too much, it was time to determine the best way to fill ourselves back up again. What do we need in order to have the strength for all that we and others expect of us? God’s strength. I know that too well. Karen discussed that while we know we need God, sometimes we don’t know the way we personally connect best with God. Because we are all different!
We took a survey to help us determine our personal styles of connecting with God. The results didn’t really surprise me (I love worship and connecting in prayer/study – aka I’m a relational person with God).
Even though the results didn’t shock me, it felt good to affirm the ways I connect best so I can focus on those areas when I start to feel drained. Here is the survey we took if anyone is interested.
6. When you find friends who bring out the best in you, surround yourself with them and find ways to grow closer to them.
I’ve only really gotten to know the friends I shared time with on this trip in the past five months. Already I can tell God placed them in my life for a reason. I need good, close girlfriends. For a long time I only had one really close friend (who is still my best friend), but I recognize how much I hope to deepen these other relationships and thank God for putting them in my life. If you’re reading, ladies, know I love you!
Told you…pretty stellar weekend with lots of good reminders. I hope they were good ones for you too. And, if you’re in the north Atlanta area, I can’t rave enough about Birds On A Wire and think you should get involved. Who knows? Maybe we’ll bump into each other at next year’s retreat! I know I plan to be there.
How do you rejuvenate and “fill yourself up”? What’s the last way you got ridiculous with some friends?