Last weekend I went to the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, WA (about 35 minutes from my house) for our church's women's retreat. I was really excited to getaway and have some time to refocus! My roomie ended up getting sick and had to back out at the last minute. I was okay with that, I told the Lord that if He wanted me to Himself that weekend, that was fine with me. Instead though, He arranged for another friend to stay in my room with me and it was wonderful!
The theme of the week was renewing and renovating ourselves. Our Pastor's wife was the speaker and I totally dig her style; I very much an engaged the entire time she speaks and that says a lot for a normally pretty easily distractible kind of girl. :)
As Linda, our speaker, shared her heart I was so moved by her transparency. She shared a testimony of God's faithfulness in her family's life and like most testimony's, it started with a tragedy of sorts. Not a death or anything, but just a series of events that that turned her world upside down. As I sat there, with tears streaming down my face, I was so challenged. I leaned over to my friend and whispered, "we are all just a bunch of fakers". It's so true sometimes. I feel like so often we as women pretend to have it all together, pretend that our marriages are perfect, our children are obedient, and that we have everything under control.
This past summer, I feel like I went through a series of events in my own life (blogged about here and here) that left me so stripped that transparency was inevitable. And for those events, I am grateful. As painful as it was, it was so worth it. I am a better person for it. I got to a place in my life where I had been so rejected by others that I decided that I just didn't care anymore about what they thought. I had this precious baby girl and an amazing husband. That was enough for me. Just before and during much of my pregnancy, I feel like I became a little secluded, a little anti-social and really let my insecurities take over. After going through a refining time this summer, I decided to step out and really stop letting the devil hold me back from living up to my full potential. I think I always thought in my mind that *someday* when I lose weight, THEN I will be more involved and have more friends and people will like me more. Or someday when Brett doesn't work weekends and we have a more *normal* life. I decided to start investing in friendships that were mutually beneficial, surround myself with women who aspired to be great wives and mothers and loved the Lord. I also decided that 2010 was the year that I was FINALLY going to get healthy. I really felt on my heart that I needed to be transparent in this issue so I started a blog about it! It has been SO freeing for me, I can't even tell you. I have had so many people encourage me and even say that I inspired them to start working out or getting healthier which is CRAZY to hear.
As our Pastor's wife wept and shared her heart, I was filled with so much admiration for her. The more I learned about her faults and failures, the more I related to her and felt like I could learn SO much from her. Another good friend of mine shared this weekend as well and it was the same thing when she spoke; I was filled with so much admiration and respect. I think sometimes that we feel that if we get too *real* in life, people are going to judge us, think less of us, etc. Well, some people probably are. TOO BAD FOR THEM! I have found transparency to be freeing; fakin' your way through life is exhausting in my opinion.
I believe that us women need to be here for each other and stop judging each other. Instead of being quick to judge and gossip we need to pray for each other, offer support and spur each other on towards becoming better women.
Can't wait for next year's retreat! :)