This past weekend, I traveled to Phoenix for the first Blessed Is She retreat of the year. This year’s theme is SHINE. And it truly did shine. I’ve been spending a few days unpacking the weekend — how God spoke to me, the fruitful conversations I had with other women, the community, and my dear sisters. Not only did I get to spend time with some of my best friends, but I made new relationships with some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met.

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While there are many little takeaways from the weekend, there are a few that stand out.

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Friendships rooted in Christ can withstand time, distance, and stages of life.

The women I’ve encountered through this ministry are from all over the country. We are in different life stages. We are single or married, a religious or a lay person, we have small kids or kids in college. We have different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different ideas. But we are rooted in the same thing — Christ. That is the firmest foundation of all.

Jesus loves me and He wants me to let Him love on me.

Throughout the weekend, a profound image kept coming to mind. Jesus, staring at my face, into my eyes and just adoring me. He saw past my insecurities, my sins, my failings, my self-doubt, and pierced my soul with His gaze. He wanted me to know that He loves every single cell of my body, every single piece of my being. And He wants me to let Him love me. Instead of turning my gaze away in shame or fear or doubt, He wants me to let Him love me and He wants to shower me with His unending, perfect love. He told me to stop averting my eyes and just His love wash over me in every moment of my day.

Sometimes I need to let it go.

I’m a very methodical and measured person. My days are often planned to the minute. But constantly holding it in and holding it together, is a recipe for failure and pain and anxiety and emotional numbness. Sometimes, I just need to let it go. So I did. I threw my hands up in praise and sang at the top of my lungs. I got down on my knees and worshiped Him without caring who was watching. I wept and laughed and allowed my heart to burst open. I danced. I let loose. I partied. I celebrated. I enjoyed. I indulged. It was like an emotional reset. Letting go is hard for me, but I need to do it. And what better way to let loose than singing His praises then having a couple of Manhattans with my girls?

It was a healing and restorative weekend. It was enlightening and it illuminated what was missing in my life right now. I was reminded to lean on Jesus, to trust in God’s timing, and to invite the Holy Spirit into my every moment. As I enter into Lent this year, I will open my heart to Jesus’s sacrificial love.

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If you have a chance to make it to a Blessed Is She Shine retreat, I highly recommend it. It will be the best weekend of your year. Also, if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of this year’s Lent devotional. I’m looking forward to spending this Lenten season going through the journal with thousands of my sisters in Christ.


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