Well, God did it! The Wash Over Me ladies’ retreat was a great success! God’s presence was there and the women were greatly encouraged, which is what I prayed for! About 20 women came both days, enjoyed the fellowship, the relaxing neck and back massage Friday night and the delicious brunch Saturday, and were blessed by the anointed teachings. Thanks so much to all of you who prayed!
The retreat was a “Queen Esther” theme, so we decorated with purple tablecloths, small square mirrors on the tables with heart-shaped, crystal candle holders, purple votive candles and decorative stones on the mirrors.
Several weeks ago, one of my speakers, Patty Bartlett, had told me about some treasure chests she had seen at a store in Nevada, MO, and I knew immediately they’d be perfect decorations so I drove to Nevada and bought them. On Friday night, I talked about these treasure chests in my presentation – we are God’s royal treasure chest. Within us is the person, Spirit, and power of Jesus Christ, a great treasure, and our precious spiritual gifts from Him that God wants us to use for His glory. (On Saturday Patty, who has an herb and essential oil home business, taught on essential oils and the Holy Spirit as THE essential oil. Diane Bishop taught on being empowered by God’s grace and on forgiveness. They both did an awesome job!)
After I got the treasure chests, I then called my friend Genevieve Burke to ask if we could use her Premier Designs jewelry to display on the treasure chests, and I could help promote her business in return. She thought it was a great idea and was very excited. The decorations looked beautiful on the tables with the purple tablecloths. Genevieve also provided a drawing for someone to win free jewelry, and our daughter Heather won! (Yes, fairly! She was so excited and ordered it yesterday.)
There is a lot of work to do for a ladies’ retreat that requires planning, organizing, decorating, and advertising. Diane and I went around town several weeks ahead of the retreat to ask the local businesses for donations for the ladies’ gift bags and door prizes, in exchange for us promoting the businesses at the retreat. God’s favor was with us, and the businesses were very generous with their donations. The ladies were excited and blessed over their prizes, and we were so grateful for our sponsors!
I was also thankful for our worship leader, Carolyn Bolinger, who led us in sincere worship and praise to God for both days. There is nothing like the presence of God! She was an answered prayer for our retreat. She also prayed an anointed prayer of financial blessing over an attendee who needs a financial break-through and over everyone there, and she ministered in prayer to different women on Friday night after I taught. Carolyn, God bless you! You have such a humble, pure, beautiful heart!
On Friday night, we prayed for the women after my teaching time, and it was just an incredible time of being in God’s presence. At the end of the retreat, I asked for everyone to write down their feedback about it, and one attendee, Frances, wrote:
“The meeting was exceptional – whatever need was present was no longer a need as we left. The Holy Spirit did a work that we know not of – blessings to those who helped make a special day and love to all.”
Something that was in my heart to do for the Friday night “beautifying” session was for a masseuse for the ladies, so they could just relax after the teaching time. I wanted every woman to feel accepted, loved, and ministered to while there. Our daughter Heather had treated me once to an hour-long massage at Unwind Massage, and I called Bonnie who gave the wonderful massage, and asked if she ever did massages for retreats. To my delight, she agreed to come on Friday night. I had no idea she was a Butler girl, born and raised here, which I thought was so cool- but God knew! He is amazing how He orchestrates things.
Here is a picture of Bonnie giving one of the ladies a massage on Friday night. The women LOVED it. Bonnie even gave away two free massages as door prizes. One attendee said, “”I was most blessed getting away with other ladies, and just being pampered and taken care of. We were ministered to, blessed in the Word, and allowed just to receive.”
There is nothing like friends to help you out in a time of need, and I couldn’t have done this retreat without mine to prepare the food for the Saturday morning brunch and get everything ready – juices, hot herbal teas, hot coffee, bottled water, grapes, quiche, breakfast casseroles, coffee cake, chocolate cake, gourmet fruit muffins, spicy pita and tortilla chips, salsa, hummus, croissants and jam, deli meats and slices of various cheeses, a veggie tray with ranch. It was all delicious!
The week of the retreat, one day our daughter Heather’s lower back had bad pain suddenly in it as she sat down at her kitchen table. She was supposed to do a funny skit with me at the retreat Saturday and then break into zumba aerobics to entertain the attendees, so I was not surprised the enemy was attacking her. Patty, Diane, Carolyn, and I had been experiencing warfare all week prior to the retreat! Whenever you step out and do things for God, the enemy doesn’t like it!
We prayed for Heather. She was still able to do the skit and the zumba, and everyone really enjoyed it and laughed. We actually had a technical difficulty with our cd player for the skit/zumba song and Heather and I were trying to wing it for a minute until it was fixed (someone had accidentally pulled the plug out of the wall), but everyone thought it was all planned as part of the skit, LOL! I think God allows these kind of things to HUMBLE me and to deal with my perfectionism struggles! :O Heather’s back is now better, but please pray total healing for her as she still has some pain. She may have hurt it in zumba last week. She tried to just take it easy last night teaching her zumba class. (Her version of easy isn’t mine! I was praying she wouldn’t overdo it!)
Heather also surprised me in the afternoon after we had given away the door prizes and gift bags by announcing, “We have one more door prize! It’s for my mom – happy birthday, mom!” She had bought me 3 beautiful, long-stemmed red roses and then the entire room sang Happy Birthday to me (it was yesterday). I was embarrassed, but very touched. What an unexpected blessing! I have a wonderful, thoughtful, precious, beautiful daughter!
We had teaching sessions Saturday afternoon. My “sister” friend Debbie Campbell-Nagel makes one strong, good cup of coffee. Thanks, Debbie, for keeping the coffee going all day for the ladies! And thanks, Theresa, Heather, Shawna, Hannah, Gen, Nina, Patty, Debbie, Herb, Diane, and Carolyn, for being such servants with the clean-up afterward – without you all, I would have been there all night cleaning up!
Thanks especially to my speakers Patty Bartlett and Diane Bishop, who encouraged and blessed the women so much. I could NOT have done this without you! The Lord bless you for your hearing ear and your faithful obedience to Him. I know the spiritual warfare in the weeks preceding the retreat was not fun, but thank God for the victory in Christ!
Several women said they want me to do a retreat like this again. Here are the attendees’ encouraging feedback comments about the teaching sessions and the retreat:
“I liked the “realness” – the authenticity. This was not a show orchestrated for man’s glory, but a time with God orchestrated by women being obedient to Him.” ~ Jane Hulme, Raytown, MO
“Several times God used something to minister to my needs. In a prayer, in a message, and in personal ministry.” ~ Ruth Christian, Pecular, MO
“The best was allowing the Spirit to move through the women attending and the fellowship.” ~ Marla Kash, Butler, MO
“I loved the speaking on oils (Patty Bartlett) because I believe in God giving us things to heal from nature. I liked that we were able to eat and pray together. I loved Diane’s talks – she was interesting, informative, funny. Everything Diane talked about spoke into my life experiences. I felt God in the room.” ~ Shawna Raab, Kansas City, MO
“What I liked most was Beth Jones’ teaching on Esther and the treasure, and Diane Bishop’s teaching on forgiveness and bitterness. Nothing could have been done better. I enjoyed the whole weekend. It was good to meet each woman. I received healing and blessing from it.” ~ Anne Pedersen, Kansas City, MO
“I was most moved by the teaching on forgiveness. There were people in my life that I was needing to forgive.” ~ anonymous attendee
“I loved everything! I loved the testimonies of each and every woman. I loved the talk on forgiveness and grace. I loved the food. I loved no judgment!” ~ Joanice Walker, Kansas City, MO
One woman sees this retreat happening again and growing bigger. She’d like us to include booths representing various women’s businesses. “I would like to see this in the future as a 24 hour/over night with different events and booths that help women in healing.” ~ Nina Erickson, Butler, MO
“The time we took aside to pray for another’s need was the best. Everybody really came together and related then. Beth, you did a great job of putting this together. I had a great time.” ~ Genevieve Burke, Butler, MO
If you missed the retreat, I sure wish you could have been there! I had so much fun at my own retreat. 🙂 I stood back after the retreat, thinking about it all, in awe that God had put this into my heart and helped me and others pull it together beautifully- He showed up, and these women – some I knew and some I didn’t, and we were all incredibly blessed. How thankful I am to Jesus for all He is and all He does. All praise and glory go to Him!
“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.” ~ Psalm 63:3
One of the songs I played on cd was How He Loves by the David Crowder band. Listen here at You Tube to the lyrics, and just enjoy God right now. Thanks again for praying for the retreat. The prayers worked!