Last weekend was the annual Biblical Womanhood Retreat and it was incredible! All of the IMPACT girls including Mary Michael, Lyndsay Currier, Katy Thompson and all of our mentors went to The Summit for the weekend. In case you’re not familiar with The Summit, I’ll give you a little background information about it. It is a property that has (an absolutely BEAUTIFUL) three story house, pool, a pool cottage, carriage house and acres of land with yet another, house on it located in Fort Payne, Alabama. Apparently, the house was previously owned by the bass player of the band Alabama and after he sold it to another buyer it eventually ended up in none other than Truett Cathy’s hands. It’s used as a retreat center for different groups like us, youth groups, pastors and such. Basically, it is gorgeous and was all ours for the weekend! We had a guest speaker come whose name was Jena Forehand and she brought along her son’s girlfriend Kelsey Payne to lead worship for us. We were unbelievably blessed to have these two! Mrs. Jena is a hugely sought after speaker and Kelsey has a beautiful voice you wouldn‘t hardly believe. The theme of our weekend was “Glory” and we had three different sessions entitled “Glory revealed”, “Glory restricted” and “Glory regained” with a last wrap-up “free” session where we could share anything that was on our hearts or had learned that weekend. We even did a craft one afternoon! Karen came up with the idea, which was for each of us to make “truth books” out of scrap booking material called “The Hope of Glory”. We put together these little flip books which on each page had a lie, like “I am unworthy and unacceptable”, the truth, “I am worthy and acceptable” and scripture that reaffirms that truth such as Romans 15:7. Our weekend in a nutshell: powerful sessions, bonds with each other made even stronger, really good food, being waited on and spoiled by The Summit dining and housing hosts and some hearts were authentically changed, literally not figuratively.
My heart was one of those changed and so I’d like to tell you my story. After getting over the fact that I was in a gorgeous mansion of a house, it was about time for our first session to start. I sat down on the front row basically just going through the motions of a typical retreat and Mrs. Jena got up and started to share some of her story and spoke to us about what the words “woman”, “female” and “Eve” really mean. I was captivated, completely locked in to what she was saying. It wasn’t that the words she spoke hit home or were convicting for me, it was something else. After session number one we were encouraged to take a few minutes to reflect on all we heard. As I sat there it hit me why I was so engaged in what she said and it was that I saw she had the same God-given qualities I have in me, just further developed. I know this sounds a little weird so I’ll try to explain a little better. Mrs. Jena has a fight in her and so do I, but unlike me she fights for the things that really matter rather than just being stubborn. She can communicate and commands the attention of an audience with her stories because she’s totally genuine, opposite of when I have to sometimes force vulnerability and transparency out when speaking to a big group. She’s confident, but not prideful. Lastly but most importantly, she is one hundred percent sold out to her King. She believes in God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and that the work of the devil is real with all of her heart and it’s obvious. I admired this the most because how often do I hold back because of the fear of how it will look to be consumed with God? All this realized and it was only the first session! The next few sessions were just as powerful and I started to start to realize something else. I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced this, but when I know I’m supposed to do something like pray, speak or whatever it may be, and the Holy Spirit’s telling me to do it, I physically feel this quickening in my chest. Call me crazy, but it really, really happens! Well anyway, I got this feeling in every single session, and for no apparent reason. So what to do about it? Well, for the first time I started to open myself up and instead of instantly talking and asking God what‘s up with this, I just waited and listened. Here it is, this is what God says when you let Him talk. The Lord has something that I’m going to do in the future, that I’m specially created for that is huge. He has began to train me for whatever it is this weekend, and no, I don’t have a clue what it is. How huge though! I was pretty unsure about this, like we all tend to be when we really hear the Lord what the Lord‘s saying, but He reaffirmed himself loud and clear. After our third session we all entered into a time of serious prayer. Kelsey, the girl that led worship, came over to me and grabbed my hand and asked if she could pray for me. While I was a little taken back, I definitely said yes. Every single word that came out of her mouth was everything I had thought, tried to say but couldn’t find the words to say and wondered about that weekend dealing with God’s newly revealed calling on my life. It all came from the mouth of a sweet girl that hardly knew me! Talk about reassuring! So as we’ve come back I have had to constantly remind myself to fight harder each day to keep this fire inside of me and remind myself to walk by the Spirit, not my ways. It’s definitely tough, but it’s what I was made to do and be. Anyway, this is just one story from this weekend, but whoever you are I encourage you to reach out to some of the other girls and hear their stories too, you won’t be disappointed.
– Nikki Gentry
Class of 2011