Good Beautiful Easeter Morning to you! I wanted to give you and update on our retreat this weekend! Our day started on Friday night as the boys came over to our house to spend the night for our early morning departure. Needless to say, not much sleeping went on, but they had tons of fun! Saturday morning started with a big EARLY breakfast and getting ready for our photo shoot. The funny thing is. . . . . .guys are just as bad as girls when it comes to getting ready! Blow dryers, hair gel, ironing, etc.!!! We finally made it to our first destination about an hour later than we had planned, but God was in control. We went to Toccoa Falls College for our photo shoot and was it ever beautiful! Chris was my assistant and our driver and he did a marvelous job! The boys did a great job of deciding what poses they wanted, minus a few exploration jaunts. . . . .but they had fun and that is what we there for! We then left for Franklin, NC where my parents live. Beth and Larry Rymer, my parents, live at a place called the Christian Training Center where they are on staff. We had lunch and the boys gave a wonderful little acoustic concert for some of the other people who are on staff there. After the concert, the real work began. The boys, Chris, Chelsea and myself commenced to raking up rocks, cutting down trees, and disposing of debris. One of my intentions while there was to show the boys what it truly means to serve. There was a lot of work, but with many hands we were done in no time! I could not have been prouder as I watched us all work together to accomplish our goal . . . . .after all, this is what ministry is about . . . . .working hard even when it is something we may not like doing, but doing it for the glory of God! As we finished raking up rocks, I had each of us pick out five rocks. . . . .not just little rocks, but rocks that represented the burdens we had in our lives. I had three not so big rocks, and two pretty large ones. We left mom and dads and went to a waterfall near the Inn. To get to the waterfall we had an approximate 15 minute climb. . . .well, with me along it was more like 20-25 all uphill with rocks in our backpacks! As we hiked up, we took time to stop and reflect, pray, and encourage each other. When we finally reached our destination, and could breathe, we sat and reflected on what God had revealed to us as we climbed and talked to Him. This was a beautiful time of seeing God reveal things to the hearts of precious young men! Chelsea who was also our tour guide to find the falls, also shared some of the things God has been showing her over the two weeks she had just spent there with mom and dad. After our sharing time and a time of prayer, each person went off to a place by themselves to just listen to God as they sat at His feet. As we listened to hear God, we also took our rocks and made the decision of whether we were going to lay them down and let God take control, or whether we were going to hold on to them and carry them back down with us. Personally, my two biggest burdens. . . . .they were hard to let go of! As I looked at those rocks. . . .with many tears. . . . . I knew I had to lay them down . . . . but it took a while to let them go! As I was pondering what to do, God spoke directly to me. . . . you see, my biggest rock was Chelsea and all we had been through while dealing with anorexia. God told me that I had carried this burden long enough and that He was taking care of her as He had this whole time! He assured me that He was in control and that she was going to be ok. He has such big plans for her life and God wants me to sit back and watch what He is going to do! God gave me such a wonderful blessing in Chelsea and in all of my children, grandchildren, and my wonderful husband. I am the one who chooses to carry burdens that God never intended me to carry! Each of the boys took their burdens and threw them away to allow God to work in an even bigger way in their lives through trusting God! I know without a shadow of doubt in my mind that God has such a big and wonderful plan for each and every one of us. . . . . and for the band that is made up of such wonderful young men! I forgot to mention that God has blessed us with a new member as well, Zach Rudolph. Zach brings new life to their music and pushes each member to stretch themselves to be better musicians! He is also a great source of fun and laughter in his uniquely Zach way! God is great and He knows what we need and when we need it! We finally hiked back down the mountain picking up ones along the way who went further down the trail to hear God. As we drove back home, God kept reminding me that He is in control . . . He is working in each life. . . . . and that in the end . . . . . they are still boys, that He is building into Mighty, Godly Men! May God bless you!
~Father God, I thank Your for this beautiful Easter day! I thank You for loving us so much that You gave us Your Son to live and die as a sacrifice for MY sin! I thank You that He willingly became that sacrifice that I may live in Heaven with You for eternity! I thank You for where You have brought me in my life and for the MANY blessings You have bestowed on me! I thank You that You ordained our day yesterday and that You are going to use it for Your glory, honor and praise! I thank You for allowing me the privileged of leading these fine young men into a time of worship with You! I pray that You will use us for Your glory and Your honor! I praise You for the time I was able to spend with my family and for allowing us to be used to bless others! I pray Father that You will continue to bless my family, the band, their families, and the many thousands of people that You are going to put in our path along the way! I love You, I praise You, and I thank You. . . . In the precious, blood bought name of Jesus I pray. . . . . Amen! ! !