This past weekend, we had a retreat with the women who are participating in our program this year.
Content, crafts and conversation. The three C’s of successful women’s times.
My friend, Gina, shared about being loved–a topic near and dear to the heart of every woman alive, no matter their age or marital status. We have a deep need and desire to be loved.
Our world defines love in a variety of ways. Much of that comes from finding validation for who we are, an acceptance of how we show up. Good days and bad. Great hair days and bloated body days. Our best selves or our own worst nightmares.
Women especially need to feel validated to feel loved. We hear the voices that speak words into our hearts from our pasts, the media, family and friends.
“You’re too much.”
“You’re not enough.”
“You’re too heavy.”
“You’re not pretty.”
“You’re not what we need.”
“You’re going to fail. Why bother trying?”
Voices that become easier to listen to over time. Voices of reproach and rejection.
It’s a lot easier to believe the bad than the good. And yet love can be strangled by the lies we choose to listen to.
After listening and sharing our thoughts, we moved into a time of crafting. We each chose a word or short phrase that reminds us of who we are or of significant times in our lives. The words were traced onto boards and painted as an expression of a truth we were choosing to believe.
No matter how loud the voices are in our heads and hearts.
I was surprised at the variety of ideas expressed that reflected what we yearn for.
Discussions continued to happen as women fell into a gentle camaraderie with one another, being real, exposing more of their stories, sharing thoughts not always easy to share.
We were becoming a safe place for one another.
I didn’t make a board–this was taking place at my home, so I wandered around making sure everyone had what they needed, from supplies to coffee, and remarking over the beauty of their work.
A part of me didn’t want to come up with just one word. I was afraid I wouldn’t see that word develop. There are days when the lies that whisper in my heart are screamed through mental bullhorns.
On my kitchen blackboard is the word “Hopeful”. One I had Deb write (she has beautiful printing) months ago. I looked at that and realized that is my word.
I’m hopeful that I will grow to be all that God has made me to be. Hopeful that I’ll mature and not be so quick to complain or criticize. Hopeful that I will be content with who I am and not constantly compare myself to others I was never intended to be.
An upward focused word that reminds me tomorrow is another day. Clean slate. New chances.
Isn’t this what we all need?