“Lord, please give me your words and wisdom to speak into the hearts of these youth.” This is one of my “quiver prayers” as I prepare myself before Sundays with the youth, but especially before retreats. I have always felt I lack the right skills to be a leader in the youth. Yes, I’m a teacher by profession and love working and fellowshipping with the youth, but the idea of praying over them and helping them wade through their spiritual walk intimidates me. I’ve never been great at memorizing scripture and feel like I never can know enough to offer words of wisdom. But I’m always reminded by God that where I feel weak, he can make me strong and use me.
Last weekend’s retreat was the fourth winter youth retreat for Barrett and me. When thinking about joining on this retreat a few months ago, we initially thought that since I am seven months pregnant and insanely busy this might be the year to stay home. I selfishly wanted a relaxing weekend and a nice Valentine’s date. On the other hand, the youth retreats are always an amazing time to connect with the students and with God, and this might be the last retreat that we can both go on together for a few years - I’ve heard having a child changes things :) After discussing and praying about it, Barrett and I both felt at peace and excited about going.
These retreats never disappoint! God shows up and moves in the hearts of the students and the leaders. It’s amazing to see the spiritual growth and development in each of the students. We feel blessed to have gotten to see this growth first hand over the last few years. This group is tight knit, and they continue to surprise us with their willingness to openly share their struggles, questions, and desires to grow close to God. The high schoolers set the tone and create an environment where even the youngest of the group feels at ease asking questions and sharing their thoughts. I wish I could do a better job of describing the feeling you get on these retreats. Experiencing it first hand is the only way to do it justice.
This year a big question that kept coming up in our small group sessions up was, “how do I keep this mountaintop connection with God all the time?” What a great question to hear! Not only does it show how connected to God they feel on the retreats, but also the desire each has to continue to grow and “feed” themselves everyday. What great hearts for God our youth display.
When we get home, we are physically drained, but spiritually full. I encourage each of you to pray that the students can continue to seek and grow a close relationship with God and praise Him for all he has done with our small but mighty CFC youth.