Well, the retreat is over and everyone left this morning. It is such a sad time when we have to say goodbye to another group. Last night was the final dinner together and we enjoyed a little surprise as well. It was such a GREAT group of people and we are so thankful for another week the Lord blessed us with. Our prayers are always that the people who the Lord is calling to be here come and that throughout the week they are able to draw closer to Him and get out of this week what God is wanting them to hear...
I hope that is what happened and I am hopeful that it will stretch out into their future and their lives going forward. They all have enriched my life and shown me that God is so in control of this "dream job" and that is truly is a JOY to serve others during these retreats. But it's also so evident that He places us in the right place at exactly the right time because He has something to show us. Mostly, the Lord wants so show us how much He LOVES US but also that He does have a PLAN and even through the struggles and trials in life He brings others into our lives to share our burdens. To help us through hard times and that it ultimately is His gift to bring us together. I am so unbelievably sure of that... and it's why I always cry after these retreats...
because of the STORIES.
I could go on and on about one woman telling me she "needed to hear that" or another lady saying she doesn't have very many women in her life and she now has a whole group of ladies! Or that one lady was so down on herself and how she felt she was "weird" until another lady who came was JUST LIKE HER... and she realized it was OK to be who she is! Or how one has struggled with a certain problem and two other ladies were going through the SAME THING. So as we pray each year for the people to come, I am in AWE of how the Lord orchestrates it...
I say all this because I want that for YOU. I'm not trying to sell you on a week in Italy. You could go by yourself and see Italy. I'm wanting you to come spend a week getting to know the Lord and what He has for you here. Because if you are feeling it on your heart to come... than He does have something here for you. And you will go back you changed. I just heard it last night... "This was LIFE CHANGING"
So please pray about it, seek the Lord's will, and if you feel the Lord prompting you to come next year, then come. There WILL be room for you. If you sign up NOW... as in REGISTRATION opens in less then 3 hours... OR if you can't sign up for a while. I truly believe if you are meant to come, there will be a space for you!
Registration will be OPEN for sign ups at 6pm Italy time (which is 9am PST and NOON EST)
You can sign up on the SIGN UP button at the top of this website. Click on SIGN UP and then REGISTRATION and you will see all the information and this image:
You'll go through the process to pay your non-refundable deposit to secure your space in next years retreat! I am excited to see who will be here with us next summer in Italy!
Here's a little SNEAK PEEK of the teachers and what they do:
I will be teaching Bible Journaling as well as a Traveler's Notebook class, and Sarah Bechler and Simona Angheleri will be teaching with me! I will post next week more information about each teacher, but I wanted you to see a little of their work now. Simona is from right here on Lake Como!! She is such a beautiful lady who is a watercolor artist and teaches all over Italy. She is also a very talented Baker and has a wonderful Instagram you NEED to follow! Sarah is from Michigan and we connected a couple years ago and it's such a great story I have to share it in depth next week! But Sarah is also an amazing artist and has her own company called Old Glory Woolen Company and I am excited to be adding a new art form to next years classes!!
I am excited to see who will be here with us next summer in Italy! Here's a photo from this past Thursday when we visited Villa Balbianello.
We had the LARGEST group ever this year... 33 people... but it was such a beautiful group with families and husbands and so much laughter and friendships that developed!
I wanted to leave you with the last part of the Pray. Wait. Trust devotional from this past retreat. The last day is on trust and that I know that is a hard thing to do... So I hope you have time to go through each day and see what the Lord is speaking to you through it.
Day 7 ~ Trust…
Trust is having a sense of reliance on Him working things out. It’s where our faith becomes real, or tested. We need to trust that God never fails and the final results are in His hands. It’s giving up our own desires to let Him work it out according to His much better plan for our lives!
Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be still.” Are we trusting in the Lord enough to “be still” (to wait) and then willing enough to “go” or “act” when He says it’s time?
I found this beautiful breakdown of Romans 8:28 by Liz Higgs
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28:
1. And we know…can be confident, well assured… that we can TRUST that everything we are dealing with is temporary and purposeful.
2. in all things…everything, every details is in His hands and it all matters to God so pray about all of it and wait on his timing. Trust Him with all of it. KNOW that He’s got all of it… God is in ALL things. He isn’t just “holding them” he is doing something about them!
3. God works…that’s the assurance…God has it and is working on our behalf! Making all things work together… He designed us, he knows how to keep things together, how to orchestrate it all, he is Always working and in it with you!
4. for good…everything fits together as God works it toward something good! Even if it doesn’t appear good now. He is hands on… cleaning, straightening, organizing… (like cleaning a closet where it’s looks worse before it gets better)
5. for those who love Him…Does He do this for everyone on the planet? No. It is only for those willing to open the door to their messy lives and say “Lord come in, I’m glad your here… please help me clean up my life and stay forever.”
6. who have been called…not only missionaries & evangelists… simply being called to be a part of God’s family. When God reached out, you said yes, by the power of the Holy Spirit and accepted His invitation to live according to His plan for you life.
7. according to His purpose…“We are the clay, you are the potter.” Isaiah 64:8 We are His workmanship. Whatever He is making is good. Because it is purposeful and some day we will be a finished vase or flower jar or beautiful pottery.. standing in His glorious presence.
We may not understand why we are going through difficult circumstances… but sometimes God is using those circumstances to in turn help others through them. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can then comfort others. Maybe He is remodeling you. Maybe God is increasing your capacity via adversity. Maybe the problem you never thought you could overcome will turn into an opportunity to help others. So give everything to God in prayer!
We need to pray, seek counsel and trust His wisdom & power.
We’ll never have all the answers. Maybe trusting in Him is about having the faith to embrace the uncertainties of life. We won’thave all the answers. But remember that God has a way of making the uncertainties and troubles in our lives prepare us for future opportunities.
Romans 8:38-39 ”For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Prayer not only strengthens our relationship with God, but when we pray with other believers, prayer also strengthens the bonds between fellow Christians. It is an amazing witness to His power and strength. Prayer helps others know the love of Jesus. Prayer can clear human obstacles out of the way in order for God to work. It is not that God can't work without our prayers, but that He has established prayer as part of His plan for accomplishing His will in this world.
~ Ask God to make you sensitive to His working in your everyday life.
~ Thank Him that He is working on your behalf, even if you cannot see the answers to your prayers yet!
Do you believe what He has for you is good?
That may be a hard question to answer… but it is a test of our faith. I pray you come to the place where you say YES to Him working His will in your life, and receive everything as a gift of love from Him.
What might we miss if we don’t Pray… wait… and trust??
Next week I will try to post as many photos as Italy's Internet will allow... from this weeks retreat.
Hugs to all,