GIRLtime Atlanta Retreat: My Experience.
Almost a year ago, my big sister, Kerry, shared her vision for a dynamic ministry organization with me. In a few short months, the organizations's name and its mission became clear—Grace In Season, reaching people with God's grace, no matter what season of life a person may be in.
One of the ministry's first program offerings is GIRLtime, intimate and informal sessions where women (of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures, etc.) gather to talk about Grace In Real Life—how to recognize, and access, God's grace in the ever-changing days (or "seasons") of life.
Grace In Season organizes GIRLtime sessions and retreats in various cities worldwide. Since the very 1st GIRLtime session—which was held in Washington D.C. in October 2016—a GIRLtime session has been successfully held every month since then. Past cities include London (UK), Montego Bay (Jamaica), Colton (California, USA), and West Palm Beach (Florida, USA).
This past January (2017) I attended the GIRLtime retreat in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was my first time visiting the city and I had a fabulous time.
When Kerry announced that Grace In Season would be hosting a GIRLtime retreat in Atlanta, I was beyond excited to attend!
The GIRLtime Atlanta 3-Day Retreat took place Saturday May 6, to Monday, May 8, 2017. The theme of this retreat was Exploring the Superwoman Syndrome.
The Saturday session, led by Kerry, included discussions about the characteristics of a superwoman—from looking the part, to being honest about one's Kryptonite (the thing that zaps our power).
We left that session knowing that each of us could access Super GRACE! God's grace covers it all—it gives us the strength to live up to our superwoman responsibilities and it disarms and renders null and void the sources of our kryptonite.
There is so much to love about GIRLtime retreats—candid conversations, interactive workshop activities, and having authentic encounters with Jesus alongside other women.
I've had the pleasure of watching in amazement as women, who have never met each other before, bare their hearts and uncover their secret struggles, completely unashamed.
There was no drama, no unspoken competition, no comparisons, only reaching towards Jesus together. It was a beautiful thing!
What separates GIRLtime retreats from a 1-day GIRLtime session is the jam-packed itinerary that extends far beyond a few hours of learning in a workshop setting.
For example, the GIRLtime Atlanta retreat included going out to dinner after the workshop session on Saturday night.
On Sunday there was a time of devotion and prayer followed by an excursion to play the Escape Room game.
There was a picnic at Olympic Park, which included another discussion. The group also went sight-seeing, touring CNN Studio and Coca-Cola. While I could not attend all the activities it was clear that all the ladies had a great time.
I re-connected with the group just in time for the Cook-n-chat dinner, which was delicious! After dinner there was a pajama party that included games such as Taboo, and quirky minute-to-win-it challenges.
After breakfast on Monday morning, all the ladies hiked Stone Mountain, which proved to be a task. However, there were no quitters among us. We had a brief session at the top of the mountain discussing "The View from the Top."
Later that day we also toured the Martin Luther King Historic Site.
The final session took place in a small park pavilion just outside of the MLK Historic Site.
The content was great. We were reminded that Hope by way of the Holy Spirit allows us to bounce back from hurts and disappointments, that courage takes work, that standing firm in faith is vital to thriving, that Jesus is to be the ultimate source of our strength, and that we are invited daily to draw from God, the ultimate power source.
It was bittersweet moment because we had all grown so close, and afterwards we would be parting ways.
All the ladies stayed together in a lovely house. The rooms had posters on the doors with characteristics and scripture verses presented in superhero comic book fashion.
The GIRLtime Retreat Registration fee included housing, transportation, all GIRLtime sessions and excursions, the picnic lunch, breakfast on Sunday and the Sunday cook-n-chat dinner.
It was a time of joy, prayer, growth, and fellowship.
We laughed, oh how we laughed!
And we cried, tears of relief, tears of compassion and empathy, as we confessed our struggles and helped each other bear our different burdens.
We connected with God and each other.
There are several upcoming GIRLtime sessions and retreats coming up: Orlando (Florida, USA), Nassau (Bahamas), and Nashville (Tennessee, USA). If you're a woman who loves Jesus and loves to travel and meet new people, then I strongly suggest you plan to attend one of the upcoming sessions.