Good morning Monday!
Today is the day to SIGN UP for next years Art & Faith Creative Retreat in Italy! I am thrilled to be doing this again with Jeanne Oliver and Stephanie Ackerman and really thankful to all of YOU who have expressed interest in joining us! As I was thinking about this in church yesterday (no my mind was not drifting, the pastor was talking about our ministries :) it really AMAZED me how the Lord has brought all of "this" together.
Little did I know years ago when I taught a class at Kim Caldwell's event in L.A. and met fellow teacher Jeanne Oliver that our lives would intertwine so much. Now I KNEW we would be friends because their was an instant connection of joy and laughter... but how the Lord would grow our friendship in such a beautiful place as Italy and in such a beautiful way, I am in awe of how he connects all of us.
Stephanie Ackerman had been someone I knew about in the mixed-media world for a while and ran into at the CHA trade shows each year. I admired her and knew she was someone I wanted to teach with as well. So thankfully she said yes in 2015 and the Lord really brought us closer on my first ever Art & Faith retreat. She is such a genuine person who has a heart for others and I am blessed to call her my friend.
As I look back on all the retreats I have done in Italy (and France) I am truly in AWE of how the Lord works. We really think these little dreams of ours are just that... a little dream we'd like to have come true. What I BELIEVE they are... are the Lord whispering on our hearts what He wants us to see that He has for us! That He has such AMAZING things for us, GOD SIZED DREAMS for us... if we only say YES and allow HIM to work things out! If we prayerfully give our dreams and desires to Him, He wants to take them and use them and show us how they really are His way of showing His love and power through them, and through us!
To look back and see that my little dream of teaching in Italy has not only fulfilled MY DREAMS, but it has also become something so much bigger then that... it's just a big WOW! It has brought each one of the ladies dreams come true of going to Italy too... It has brought these ladies together and made deep connections with people they would have never met before... It has made lifelong friendships and memories they have for the rest of their lives... and it has allowed the Lord to work in our lives together in His way that is so much bigger and better then anything out there!
This is not a sales pitch, this is REAL. This is what blows me away. I believe this is my ministry... that this is what I am called to do. I have a feeling the Lord is also preparing me for more of this. For a while now I have felt this and at church yesterday it was so evident. He wants to use us to share His love with this world. That is the Great Commission right? Well what that looks like is different for every person. Some feel called to go to Africa, some share the Love of Jesus at the office or by bringing coffee to someone and chatting with them... I know He has given me this DREAM (calling) to be used and my prayer is that He will show me when and where to GO.
If you feel lead to come to Italy with us next summer I KNOW the Lord will show you. I also know if that is the case, then He has a reason for you to be there and you will be amazed at what He wants to show you!
I want to also let you know that He is working in my heart to have these Art & Faith Creative Retreats in other areas of the world. So if Italy is too far and/or too expensive for you, I totally understand. (I guess this is an "anti- sales pitch" and I probably shouldn't be saying this) but I am prayerfully considering doing many more of these retreats and in places maybe closer to home for you. I also say this because I don't have huge retreats... they are small compared to other retreats and I love that. In Italy I can only bring about 25 people together because of the logistics. But I also love that size because we can all get to really know each other and make those connections that are a big part of why I love what I do. So I would like to keep all my retreats small and I pray each time that whoever the Lord wants to be there, He will make a way for them to come.
And if that is YOU... then I can't WAIT to meet you!
So I pray you will be able to come next summer and we will all learn more about what the Lord wants to do in our lives through this.
And for a FUN Giveaway, I thought it would be great to give a Kit from my last Art & Faith Creative Retreat with Cori - The Reset Girl! All you have to do is leave a comment on THIS post on what would be a DREAM location for you to come join me on one of my retreats?! I'll announce a winner THIS FRIDAY!! (sorry, only open to U.S. residents)
Have a GREAT day,
P.S. This is the type of fun you're in for!