I just returned from a retreat. (Now, please don’t run away and click off.)
It was a different sort of retreat. We called it a “Girlfriends’ Retreat,” a mix between a “girls’ weekend” and a traditional churchy women’s retreat.
My BFF in New York City, Kim, and I were in cahoots on this. Being on opposite coasts since our college days we had talked and dreamed about meeting in the middle of the US of A with our besties. Then our other BFFs would bring more BFFs, and so, you get the idea. Lots of estrogen coming together for rich Girltime. Which I am an addict of and strong advocate for.
Austin, Texas was the destination, and 16 girls were set to meet up and breathe in the heat, eat BBQ, and learn to do the 2-step at The Broken Spoke.
But that is not all. We wanted something deeper and richer as well as good old-fashioned girly-girl times of TALKING, shopping, TALKING, pampering, eating, and more TALKING.
Before our plan was on paper, I called NYC Kim and said, “What if we contacted Kristin Armstrong to come and speak at the retreat? She lives in Austin, Texas! It’s a crazy idea that she would say yes (to us strangers), but why not try?” We both agreed to go for it.
Both Kim and I (and everyone who would take the books we handed out) had recently read Kristin’s book Mile Markers, and fell in fan-love with her. Given that we, too, were mothers, runners, and writers, we felt a kinship to her.
We loved her honesty and transparency, her style of writing, and her intentionality in life and in motherhood. What we also felt extremely like-minded about was how she cherished her girlfriends, and that she called them “sacred and mandatory.”
We were drawn to her. And God authored the idea of bravely asking her to come and share her wisdom with our precious friends.
The short story is well I wrote to her…and SHE SAID YES!!
Kristin said in front of everyone that she receives many letters, but that with mine, it was compelling, and she could hear my voice coming through. (What every wanna-be writer wants to hear!!) It was like God hugged me through her and told me to keep writing.
And I’m still dizzy from the weekend away. And not from hitting 6th Street college-town-craziness on Saturday night.
My head and heart are just spinning around with all the one-on-one talks I had with UH-MAZING women who inspired me in an incomprehensible way.
I’m gushing even more about Kristin Armstrong, and what she brought TO US. That she cared deeply about being there. We were not just another speaking engagement and honorarium to collect. She had been praying for our group, and even had her friends praying for our group. She came in to share her heart and wisdom, but NOT TO BE ELEVATED in any way. And she was gifted. She is gifted by God. In “getting” women, how we are, what we need, what our souls long for. She was genuine and honest and funny, and so wise for being so young.
AND despite any hardships she may have been through in her life, she had no edge to her. She was soft, full of grace and composure. A breath of peaceful, fresh air. This left me inspired to be SOFTER, and less sarcastic, in my home life, especially.
I left with many points of inspiration:
- To be intentional about my time and my kids’ time (that I might BE WITH THEM, not just watch them grow up)
- To continue to write, write, write
- To be full of grace with my kids
- To not be so irritable with my kids or Chris
- To be more in prayer
- To remember always that girlfriends are sacred and mandatory, for life
- To plan more events like this one where women connect openly, spiritually, and beautifully, AND have some girly-fun!
When God authors a dream, it does come true. So now I ask and pray, what’s the next one, Lord?? (I think I have a few ideas…)