The first weekend in November, our team of 14 staff women and a handful of the best volunteers ever loaded up our cars and a 15-passenger van with food, tents, and supplies and drove to Oconee State Park, located in the corner of upstate South Carolina. We glamorized an old barn and pitched 20 tents before dark. The theme for our region-wide women’s retreat this year was Glamping--glamorous camping. Around six o’clock, students poured in from Western Carolina, Wofford, Presbyterian College, and Clemson. They loved all of our decorations--the mason jars filled with spray-painted tree limbs, the mini-muffin bar, the pretty table cloths with tea cups for centerpieces, the stage we had set up like a living room for our emcees and speaker. Our goal was to make everyone feel welcomed and loved, especially since we couldn’t make them feel warm!
Debbe Mays, the Marriage and Families Counselor at Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church, was our speaker for the weekend. She shared with us about perfectionism--how everyone is a perfectionist, but no one is a healthy perfectionist. The sessions provided the perfect conversation piece for the weekend. All of the students and staff felt the freedom to admit their imperfections and discuss how Christ’s perfection allows us to rest wholly in Him and be accepted by our Father God.
During the afternoon on Saturday, groups of girls took to the hiking trails, steered paddle boats on the lake, or relaxed in hammocks. After our delicious soups for dinner, we watched the Parent Trap 2 and had a Spa Night. Girls painted nails, braided hair, and enjoyed the face scrubs and hand scrubs we provided.
Sunday morning refreshed all of us; we gathered around the lake for a time of reflection and praise and worship. Girls discussed in small groups what they had learned over the course of the weekend. I was encouraged to hear students process and share with one another on a deeper level. Our prayer for the last six weeks of the semester is to be able to continue to dialogue with the girls about what we all learned and to build strong relationships with those we met on the retreat. Please pray for God’s Word to take root in their hearts and minds!
- Abbye Epting