Ok, so I wrote most of this right after the retreat, but haven't quite finished it until now. So please excuse the time lapses =P
This weekend was just so good =)
When I was in youth group, you always knew before hand who would cause drama, who the worst issues would be between, what girl(s) you wanted to avoid, and so on.
These girls though, just wow. Even when they were annoyed by each other, they resolved it. That was a total and complete, and very pleasant, surprise for me.
There was a challenge proposed for all of us, and that was to abstain from wearing makeup the entire weekend. Which, although a few girls had a pretty difficult time with it, we all managed to do. And gosh, they are so beautiful! All of them, so lovely.
And that's just the outside, each and every girl on this trip has something precious in them that is specific to their individual selves. I can't get over how they loved each other and were really vulnerable with one another. They all actually WANTED to learn. They all WANTED to be there and to get something out of it. Incredible. I never showed that initiative when I was their age. I am just super impressed with all of them =)
It was so beautiful to watch them open up and really be honest with God and themselves and the leaders, as well as the other students. And oh lordy the leaders! What women of faith! Seriously, the ladies leading this thing are steadfast and passionate and loving. They are so committed to these students. They all pray for them and invest so much in all of their lives. The huge thing for me to see, and I think probably for the students as well, was the leaders, most of them anyway, tell their stories. Hearing about the lives of these women, what they've come from, and where they're at now was so powerful. It was like their openness and honesty gave the girls permission to do the same, to be vulnerable as well.
Purity is a huge thing in this generation. It's like everything that is popularized is out to destroy innocence. It's sick, and actually really pisses me off. How dare anyone even think about impressing on any girl that she is somehow below some standard. And I'm going to full out rant if I keep going here.
The Men's retreat was awesome too - I mean, that's what I hear anyhow, I wasn't there after all =P
What the guys focused on was asking the two questions, "is it wise?" and "is it loving?" when thinking about how they relate to girls. They did a lot of...well, guy stuff. You know, paintball, beating on each other a little, male bonding...I'm sure it was fun for them =)
Really what I feel like this generation is SO in need of is people who will stick it out with them. People who are willing to be there for them and be willing to be a good role model for them. Which I guess is really what everyone wants/needs, but I think this group of middle/high schoolers needs it especially. There's a whole generation that comes from brokenness, and there's this desperation for acceptance. I love their openness =)
Really, what I think it comes down to, is the beauty that is born from pain. The redemption that comes from seeing a broken heart turn into a healing heart is stunning. And that is just a little what I think God had in mind for this retreat, to start some healing. To mend some trust. He is so good =)