I am getting right to the content this afternoon, so I hope you’re ready for it!
In case you’re new around here or missed my previous session posts, these all stem directly from the discussions I attended during a women’s weekend retreat hosted by my church earlier this month.
I have received a lot of great feedback on these posts, so I am continuing on to finish off the series with a discussion recap all about being an influence and empowering others. Let’s light it up!
Session 4: Embracing Your Role As An Influencer
I, along with the other girls from my cabin, entered the auditorium Sunday morning for our final session. Going into it was bittersweet, just as most things are when you realize it will be the last time you will be doing something you care about.
After the fun intros, games, and music on stage, the speaker approached and I knew we were all in for it. The speaker’s name was Anne, who also happens to be our senior pastor’s wife.
I had the honor of bunking with Anne in our cabin that housed twenty. After spending a couple of days with her in cabin huddles, I gathered that she is a very special, generous woman who is set out to make a difference in people’s lives.
The last session of our weekend was all about embracing your role as a light to others. What we, as women, do and can do to have an impact on other people’s lives.
She started the message with a visual that made me laugh.
She found a double seated bicycle and sat down on the front of it. She played herself while her friend, Kristen (from session three), played the role of Jesus who took the back seat. She pretended to ride like life was great, showing how she had control on everything.
She then switched places with Kristen. Now she (Jesus) took the front seat and Anne was on the back releasing control, all while saying that is what we’re supposed to do, right?
I got a kick out of what happened next, as she went from trusting her friend to questioning her by climbing on her back, gripping the front handlebars, and trying to do anything to regain control.
Picture a close to five foot woman in wedges climbing on a person on a bike, and you’ll understand why I was laughing!
The point was to revisit the first year’s retreat theme of Releasing Control (The R. in R.E.A.L.) and to ask us where our spot on the bike is.
Are we the driver or the passenger?
Now that she had our attention, she pulled up a slide of her sister who sadly passed from lung cancer in her forties. Her name was Jean, and just like in most little sister’s eyes, she was perfect to Anne.
They weren’t always the closest of friends, but as they grew older she learned just how much Jean had an influence on her life, and in the world.
She went on to describe a special relationship between Jean and her (at the time) teenage son. She was the mother of four boys and brought them all up with a strong faith.
While she was going through chemotherapy, Jean had to take a flight across the country and sat next to a woman who seemed miserable. Throughout the flight, they talked about how hard her life was and Jean became a shoulder for this woman to cry on.
There she was – a woman battling cancer and unsure of her time left on Earth – being a light in a total stranger’s life. Because it was more important for her to listen and encourage this woman than it was to complain about her outcome.
Before they landed, she led the two of them into prayer and never knew how much she changed that woman’s life that day.
After a few more stories about how absolutely selfless and amazing this woman was, Anne shared that Jean passed. And that she was able to meet the once hopeless woman Jean talked to on the plane at her funeral.
This is when I lost it. What an incredible story! And it just goes to show that you never really know just how much something small to you can be huge to others. How you can completely change someone else’s life without even knowing it. How easy it is for us to become influencers!
With a crowd of women in tears, we closed the session with music and were told to look under our chairs. Each of us were given a lantern and took turns lighting candles until the whole place was illuminated.
It was a truly magical.
Being in that room with those women and hearing that message was the perfect way to close an amazing weekend.
I have received a couple of emails sharing your stories and interest in getting more involved in your churches and hopes to attend similar retreats, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Not only did I have a fantastic time getting out of my comfort zone, but I formed a close and personal bond to the women in The Hood (our cabin) I still keep up and in contact with.
In fact, I’m meeting with one of them for lunch tomorrow!
I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of something this enlightening, and am so happy you all encouraged me to share the details of our sessions. I really enjoyed writing these posts!
I guess that can only mean one thing for the future… be prepared for more Coffee Talks!
Previous Session Discussions:
• Session 3: Embracing the Role You Never Wanted
• Session 2: The Comparison Game + Embracing Your Role As a Friend
• Session 1: Embracing the Here and Now
Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in the morning!
Runner Girl Eats
I really love these posts you’ve been doing. It is so important to remember how we affect others. One of my favorite sayings to think about when I am having a difficult time is “Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is facing their own battles”.
I’ve loved this recap you’ve been doing. Each session has hit home for me. This one is a struggle because it’s so hard for me to see outside of myself when I’m going through difficulties. It’s so convicting to hear about a woman going through chemotherapy comforting another women during her hardship. I don’t know that I’d be that selfless. This is a good reminder how I influence others’ lives and I want to influence them for the better. Thanks for sharing all this great info with us! I’m sad it’s the last one. 🙁
I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying them! Sounds like I need to keep up with the Coffee Talks 😉
If you keep posting them, I’ll keep reading them! 😉