Women, Ideas, and Solidarity; Notes From The 2013 4word Leadership Retreat

Even though I’ve been a Christian for about as long as I can remember, God never stops surprising me. I guess that’s the way its supposed to be.

A few weekends ago I had the distinct honor and pleasure of gathering with a group of amazing women to reflect on the growth and direction of 4word. Sixteen of 4word’s staff, board members, and volunteer leaders from throughout the country gathered together on a South Texas ranch for a restorative and invigorating weekend full of praises and plan-making.4word retreat pic_edited-1

On that first evening when all of the women were gathered around the table for dinner I looked around and thought to myself with a smile, “these are my people!” What a stark contrast to all of those times in my life when I felt so isolated as a Christian “career woman” who never quite fit in. What a blessing today, to be able to look around at an incredibly diverse group of women and to know that they get it, that they get me, and they care about reaching out to others through 4word.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I cried.

More than once.

If you had been there, you might have cried too.

I can’t help but be overwhelmed by what God has done and continues to do in and through this organization and the women who are a part of it. A few years ago I felt called to start reaching out to support professional Christian women, but I really didn’t know how that would look, or what it would require. God knew. At times I’ve found this journey quite daunting, but at every turn, God has faithfully provided. He brought together the right people and resources at exactly the right times, and He keeps doing it. Over and over He reminds me that He is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

For the retreat this year, I had a big “ask.” There were more women coming than we’d ever had before. I knew going in that for me and for every woman there it would be challenging (and critical) to draw ourselves away from the many demands and joys of our everyday lives. Some women traveled great distances to get there, others were in the midst of a volley of work trips. It would be hard to decompress. Leading up to the retreat, I prayed that God would be at work in each of the women attending, and that He would enable us to turn our full attention towards Him and the women He has called us to serve.

As the retreat weekend progressed, I was blessed over and over to see God at work. Relationships developed as women fellowshipped and brainstormed together, formally and informally. I am so excited to see where those discussions take us as 4word moves on into another year.

I’d love to hear your ideas too! What could the women of 4word do to make a difference in your life?