We planned, we prepared, we prayed and then we gathered for the FMF (Five Minute Friday) Retreat. A brave gathering of seventeen women plus two day guests talked, wrote, listened, ate and slept in a house by a lake in Tennessee. Every moment was ordained by God as He brought us all together because He knew each of our stories and how these stories were ready to connect as one.

FMF retreat

Stepping out to come to a retreat like this is hard for an introvert like me. But God continues to hold my hand and teaches me how to be brave in each step. He cheers me on and reminds me that I can do anything when I ask Him to walk with me. God knows that it cost every woman something to leave home and join together in the house by the lake and He doesn’t take for granted the bigness of this decision.

FMF Planning Committee

As I arrived on Thursday to join the rest of the planning team-Kate, Holly and Jen – to finish up last minute details, I was in awe of how one ordinary house near Nashville, Tennessee can become the beginning of something so much bigger and better than we imagined back in January, when the idea was first born. We prayed for God to show up and for just the right ladies to gather and God did exactly that and more. From one tiny, off the cuff question during the weekly Thursday night Twitter party came a real life small group retreat that centered around faith, writing, friendships and community. Looking back over last weekend, I have learned so much. Here are a few of the things that made a difference for me.

1. Intentional conversations evolve from one on one time.

This small group gathering allowed for one one one conversations where stories were shared and hearts were opened.

2. Our presence is our present to others.

Simply just being in the moment throughout the weekend was a gift that poured out grace and love in the act of being present.

3. A brave gathering allows learning to be enhanced when you have a community to share new ideas.

Talking through our fears, writing woes and joys and taking the time to listen well to new ideas was enriched because we were with like-minded women who had the same questions and dreams.

4. When you ask God for bravery, He gives you that and more.

We all took a step out of our comfort zones to come to the retreat and leave the comfortable and known. The beauty is when we are bold we become known to each other through the heart connections God blessed.

The weekend flew by and all of a sudden the end was near. Last minute pictures were taken, bags were slowly dragged out to cars as each person held a newly written story of a brave gathering in their heart.

FMF retreat 2

And as we said our goodbyes, a piece of ourselves left with each woman and scattered across the United States and Canada. A piece of our story was written in that house by the lake and the connection of who we are joined with the others to create a new story. We allowed each other to be brave and we were made better because of it.

As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

In grace and peace,

Mary

Please join me in thanking our sponsors and speakers who made the weekend even better.

Sponsors:  ViBella Jewelry and Fistbump Media

Speakers:  Trillia Newbell, Ann Kroeker, Charity Singleton Craig, Amy Breitmann and Dan King

We love you all!!!

Come on over to Kate’s to read the other stories about the weekend retreat!

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