Wow! I'm exhausted! BUT it's the kind of exhausted you can't really be upset about, because you know that it's from something great that happened.
This weekend was our spring retreat, which has been, by far, the biggest task I've been in charge of since coming to Chattanooga. 3 months of prayer, planning, and promoting went in to this bad boy, and on Friday morning, it was hard for me to believe it was finally here.
Thursday, Ryan flew in to town (5 hours later than we scheduled his flight to arrive) and we headed to meet the band at all of our favorite place (heavy sarcasm) Waffle House. While Ryan and I waited for the band, it was great to catch up with one of my favorite people and hear what's going on in his life, and his hopes for the weekend. That kid is wise beyond his years and it always challenging me in my faith. Watch out people, the Lord is going to (and already is) do big things in and through that guy!
It was a great night with friends, catching up and gearing up for the next 3 days!
I was definitely starting to get really excited... and nervous.
The next day I headed up to where the retreat was being held and started getting things ready for the band to get there to set up, and then later for my students. I think I felt like I needed to worry in order to be prepared for the weekend. How weird. BUT the truth is, that my friend at work Stephanie, and all the students and a couple of our youth volunteers, and I have put in a lot of work to make this weekend happen, and honestly, I got there Friday, and there wasn't a ton of stuff I had to take care of. The band guys and Ryan got there, set up the sound system and all their gear, Seth and our friend Michael got the projector to work, some of my students came up early after school and got to decorating, and before I knew it, it was 5:30 and our two church vans were rolling up and 50 students started piling out.
Friday was great. Worship was powerful, and really set the tone for the weekend. Ryan, and Seth, and the guys all did an incredible job in the worship sessions. Ryan brought it, like always, and Seth was sensitive to how students were responding during worship. It was great. Then later that night, I was relieved that no one got hurt while playing capture the flag in the pitch black! Haha! One of my seniors was so excited about being in charge of the game, and I just didn't have the heart to be super overly ridiculous and say no... so instead, for the past month and a half I just prayed hard core that the Lord would keep people safe.
He did! They had a great time and I was blessed to get to watch a 17 year old step up and lead and take ownership of something!
Saturday it rained like CRAZY! I mean, like hardcore. Thankfully, the camp we were at had a huge covered pavilion, and Alex was soooo wonderful and helped bring some enthusiasm to the games. I was so worried about the hours between 1-5 because of the rain. I didn't want anyone to be bored. I brought all the supplies for us to play "Human Foosball," (thanks fuge!) which was so much fun! Basically the students were in rows, set up like a Foosball table, with the adults playing goalies. We used a giant beach ball, a small beach ball, and exercise ball, and just spent an hour laughing together... then we played battleball (dodgeball). Before I realized it, it was time on the schedule for their freetime, and I couldn't stop smiling about the great time we'd just had together.
Saturday night was so powerful. Ryan challenged them to share Christ with people in their lives who didn't know. At the end he had them stand up and share the name of someone they were committing to share Christ with. Then the band came up and Seth led them in a song, and oh goodness, I had to stop singing on stage at one point because I got emotional watching these student, whom I've grown to love, worshipping God with all that they had. My students, on a typical Wednesday night, aren't the most expressive in worship, and looking out on Saturday night, it was like a different group altogether. I got emotional just telling Stephanie about the weekend when I got to the office. It was powerful.
Today, I'm just so grateful that I had this weekend with them. I'm so grateful that the Lord provided an opportunity to spend time with students, getting to know them, while sharing the Gospel. I'm grateful that I have a group of friends that I can trust with the spiritual growth of my students, and who went above and beyond what was asked of them for me, and for my kids. It meant so much to me to see the guys, and Rebecca love on my students. Even with the rain, I don't know how it could have gone better. The Lord moved and now I'm praying that the momentum that was started there will continue.
Thank you to all of you who prayed for us this weekend. I couldn't have gotten through it without you all!