*All images in this post courtesy of the gracious and talented photographer – Emily Schelling*
I recently learned from my beautiful Spiritual Life Coach (and friend), Lenay Vale, that the word inspire originates from a word that means “to breathe in the Divine breath”.
I love that definition because it fully describes what happens every time I meet with her for private sessions. She creates a safe space for me to breathe in the breath of God and listen to what it is He’s saying to me about my life, my relationships, my business, MYSELF! It can be a vulnerable and stretching process, but one that is so worth it. (Just a note: She’s accepting new clients and you don’t have to be local! Learn more about working with her by clicking here.)
So when she told me she was thinking of hosting a women’s retreat I think I screamed while jumping up and down. I could barely contain the excitement I felt at the idea of gathering with MORE women who were eager to breathe in the Divine breath of God. There’s something so powerful about women who care about connection, community, and each other.
This past weekend, the Inspire Women’s Retreat happened at a beautiful property in the hill country of Texas. 40 women gathered to “discover what inspired God to create us, where His Divine breath is on our lives, and take a few small steps into the life God has dreamed for us”.
I can’t adequately describe in words exactly what transpired but I want to share what happens when Inspired Women gather to inspire one another because it’s miraculous!
We started with prayer and the beautiful Heather Bedard led us in worship. I can’t describe how gracefully she facilitated Holy Spirit coming to shift our atmosphere. Her voice, her heart, her passion for worship truly impacted every heart in the room. Every woman there was eager for God to show up.
All around the room women laughed, smiled, cried tears of joy and sang their hearts out. I imagine it was pretty close to what Heaven will feel like one day. We had “church” right there in the crowded living room of a rented home.
Rhodalynn Jetton of Wholehearted & Courageous and also Wildflowers & Flamingos started the morning with an incredible talk about stepping into our “wild”. Y’all, when I saw the “I Am” board she created with the words “Wild & Free” on it I almost fell over. Many of you know that God has been speaking those words to me so clearly lately – calling me to forget about what others call rebellion and stubbornness and recognize the pieces of myself that are essential to who I am, my true self, what Rhodalynn called, my “wild”. We find so much FREEDOM when we embrace our true nature, our essential selves, the parts of our personality that God designed and truly LOVES! Many of you know that just over a month ago I formed a private membership community called Wild & Free – a place where women come together to learn, to pray and to cultivate a life that is abundantly healthy and happy. Needless to say, meeting Rhodalynn and hearing her use those same words was miraculous confirmation that this is the heart of God for women – He wants us to be wild & free!
Each of us spent time in prayer and listening for a word (or words) from God about our true identity. We were encouraged to write those words somewhere on our body. I wrote mine on the part of my wrist where I can feel my pulse. The ink faded quickly (I’m seriously considering getting my first ever tattoo) but these words describe my true identity – “Warrior Heart” – I’m a woman whose heart beats to know the heart of God and I fight against anything that tries to “tame” or “quiet” my essential self.
Rhodalynn, pictured below in the yellow, (I LOVE her sassy face!) teaches brush lettering. She brought her gifts with her to Inspire and I love the story of how she got started doing this! She uses these creative sessions to inspire women to “discover our authentic mark, and to give ourselves space to become aware of things like comparison and perfectionism that halt the creative process”.
Hmmm, comparison and perfectionism. Do you know a single woman who DOESN’T need to become aware of how those two things halt our process??? You don’t have to wait until the next retreat to spend time with this powerful, inspiring woman. If you’re anywhere near the Austin area, you can sign up for a session right here. I promise, you will leave her presence changed!
The other ladies at the event retreated to the beautiful outdoors to create “I Am” boards. Each of us enjoyed cool breezes, sunshine and the humming of hummingbirds as we clipped pictures and words from magazines that expressed who we are at our core.
This wasn’t arts and crafts time. This was holy.
We experienced inexplicable joy.
We shared connection and a beautiful meal.
We leaned into rest.
For one glorious day, we let our wild come out. Jenny Ortiz (pictured above on the opposite end of the couch from me) orchestrated and executed every tiny detail of a day I will never forget! What a gift when women collaborate and bring their unique gifts to create something extraordinary!
We were free to be who we truly are, to listen to what God says about us and to breathe in the Divine breath of His inspiration. Inspired Women gathered to inspire women – to share stories and laughter, to impart hope and healing, to love one another wholehearted and courageously.
You know the most beautiful truth, though?
This is what God intends EVERY day of our lives to look like!
Oh my beautiful sister, you’re invited to this daily reality and I hope this leaves you feeling inspired to receive that invitation and step into all that God is dreaming for you!