I went on my first Life Teen Retreat as a young freshman in high school. That weekend was the start of my love for the Life Teen movement. Their motto “leading teens closer to Christ” is at the heart of the mission I have been called to today. Leading teens to our Lord is near and dear to my heart, because I was a teen who was led closer to Christ and invited into a deeply personal relationship with Him.
Since that weekend, the Lord has moved and shaped my heart in ways only He is capable of. I still remember pieces of my freshman retreat with great clarity, like the moment I opened my first ever affirmation letter bag with a special note from my mom. I remember my Youth Minister making me feel loved, treasured, and cared for while still being super goofy and relatable. I long to echo the love he showed me. The Lord has entrusted amazing teens to my personal care and I long for them to know their great worth and dignity as children of God.
Last weekend was my 3rd Life Teen Retreat as the Youth Minister at Saint Hilary and boy was it blessed. Now that I have caught up on some Zzz’s and drank a a significant amount of tea, I feel prepped to reflect.
(3 Saint Hilary Retreats with this handsome man! In the first photo he was my boyfriend, in the second my fiance, and in the third my husband!)
Retreats are my favorite part of my job. I love them, because God shows up in such a big way every.single.time. My team and I plan and pray for months. We practice talks, choose ice breakers, and discern which activities. When we arrive, though, God takes over and makes it all happen. The Holy Spirit just moves and touches hearts. There is laughter and there are lots of tears. Students share pieces of their hearts with each other and they feel completely safe and loved by their peers, the Core Staff, and most importantly by our Heavenly Father. There is something about being away from social media and real life that gives the teens peace and perspective and allows them to love and be loved. I can’t help but feel close to God during retreat weekends.
Last weekend my teens and I traveled to Loyola Retreat House. It is beautiful there!
Our theme was “Who am I?” and we dove head first into showing the teens they are good enough, despite what they might hear from their teachers, friends, coaches, and parents. The standards we feel like we have to live up to are too high. We reminded them they are worth more than the view society has of them, because they are beloved children of the loving Father.
What matters is how He views us! God doesn’t see the flaws we see! We are made in His image and likeness. I witnessed the teens start to believe these messages. Wow… And that’s why I love retreats.
Last weekend I saw hearts expand through small group discussions. I witnessed teens be forgiven through the sacrament of reconciliation. I saw teens lay down their lives in adoration. Every moment the Holy Spirit was hard at work and the fruit was so beautiful.
Here is the leadership team that made this weekend possible.
Our handsome gentlemen lookin’ good!
We LOVE to be goofy 😉
Oh, God let the blessings flow this past weekend and my heart is full of joy and gratitude. To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen!