Surrendered Heart is the next step in the Captivating Heart Retreat Series. Stripped down, focused and intimate, this retreat is a weekend away with other women seeking deep healing and deep communion with God. Taught by Marilyn Hodgin, Judy Turner of Christview Ministries and Strings Attached’s own Cari Kaufman, we are incredibly excited about what God is inviting us to. Surrendered Heart takes place at St Scholastica Retreat Center in Ft Smith, Arkansas, May 13-15, 2016. For more information go to www.captivatingheart.com. This event is designed for those ladies who have attended Captivating Heart or a similar Captivating based retreat or who have been through the Captivating:Heart to Heart DVD series.
Ya’ll, I can’t hardly wait! Captivating Heart this year is going to knock your socks off! God has taken this team down some new roads to some new experiences. We hope to facilitate an amazing, life-changing encounter with the living Lord of lords in October and I. Can’t. Wait!
Would you come?
Oh….ladies…Jesus is tenderly inviting you….Would you say yes?
For all the details, hit the Captivating Heart site at www.captivatingheart.com/events. Scholarships are available if finances are an issue, simply send and email requesting a scholarship application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There were 31 of us….women from all walks of life….beautiful women who came for rest…who came for restoration…who came for redemption.
And after a year of planning and and working….the weekend was amazing!
We had adventure..
We had friendship….Join us for the rest at www.captivatingheart.com…
Where to begin….there are loads happening around here (with me…and with the ministry!)
So I will sum up the goings on!
First, Captivating Heart is coming to life!
Captivating Heart is a retreat ministry based on the bestselling book, Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. Captivating is based on the message that there are core desires of woman’s heart- to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to be the beauty of the story- and that unlocking and understanding these desires are the secret to the feminine heart. The core message of Captivating is this:
Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation. The desires that you had as a little girl and the longings you still feel as a woman are telling you of the life God created you to live. ~ Captivating
I have felt a strong desire for several years to bring this message to my community in a way that is affordable and accessible to women locally, so a team of twelve other faithful ladies and I have been working diligently to provide just that…and it’s coming together! I am so excited! AND I so want you to join us! There are tons of ways to register:
1) You can go to the events page and click on the “register now” button under Captivating Heart…
2) Check out our online home at www.captivatingheart.com. You can find out all the information and register right there online! Special shout out to Madwire Media for donating design hours to create our site!
We’re hosting our first fundraising event!
To raise funds for Captivating Heart and provide scholarships to those who could not otherwise afford the retreat we are hosting a Garden Party on June 9 from 10-12. We would love for ya’ll to come out….you can purchase your ticket to attend and find out more about the event here:
Fundraising has begun in earnest!
So if you can’t make our awesome ladies tea (I’m super excited to wear my new garden hat!) and you want to donate to our cause (please, please, please consider it!) then, we have a way for you to do that as well through our totally secure fundly site…We’d love to partner with you to help make this happen!
Hmmmm…I think that those are all the exciting updates I can think of right now, but the truth is I’m super tired and I need to rest up for a brain scan tomorrow….beauty sleep for pictures, you know? (beneath this false bravado is a girl secretly asking for your prayers…I really detest having someone inject radioactive dye into my head, strap my head into a cage and stick me into a really noisy, very tight-quartered tunnel.) Thank you so much in advance for your prayers and love! Hopefully, I will have more to share this weekend!
Grace and Peace,
“The ways we find to numb our aches, our longings, and our pain are not benign. They are malignant. They entangle themselves in our souls like a cancer and, once attached, become addictions that are both cruel and relentless. Though we seek them out for a little relief from the sorrows of life, addictions turn on us and imprison us in chains that separate us from the heart of God and others as well. It is a lonely prison of our own making. Each chain forged in the fire of our own indulgent choice. Yet, “Our lovers have so intertwined themselves our identity that to give them up feels like personal death… We wonder if it is possible to live without them.” (the Sacred Romance.) Yes, we are, each of us, to greater and lesser degress still in bondage. But the good news is that “God has not deserted us in our bondage.” (Ezra 9:9)
We need not be ashamed that our hearts ache; that we need and thirst for much more. All of our hearts ache. All of our hearts are at some level unsatisfied and longing. It is our insatiable need for more that drives us to our God. What we need to see is that all our controlling and our hiding, all our indulging actually serves to separate us from our hearts. We lose touch with those longings that make us women. And the substitutes never, ever resolve the deeper issue of our souls.”– Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge
To understand addiction of any kind, we must accept that all of us have vices….”other lovers” we turn to; to hide, to indulge, to control our lives; “other lovers” who are not God. This realization can helps us return to the heart of God….this ache, this longing is designed to drive us exactly there….to God–the only one who can fill the void.
It seems like a surreal lifetime ago, but it has only been a short month since I boarded a plan to Buena Vista, Colorado to take part in Ransomed Heart’s first Advanced Captivating Retreat. I attended my first Captivating Retreat in April of 2010, and it rocked my world. When I learned of the opportunity to enroll in the lottery for this retreat, I didn’t hesitate….ok, maybe I hesitated for a minute thinking about the expense, the time away from family, the difficulty on my husband and- oh yeah, how far behind I would be on the laundry when I returned after 4 days in the Rockies, but that was literally only for a minute. I was elated when I was accepted.
I had no idea what to expect coming into the retreat. What I experienced was far beyond anything I could have imagined. I suppose if I had to choose a word that summed up the long weekend it would be redemption. God was about redeeming memories and breaking bondage in a big way.
I learned so much about God’s true nature, about who I had shaped God to be and about what I needed to do to line those two images up that it is still, even weeks later, difficult to put into words- and the reason that I have struggled to post of late. So over the next several weeks, I will try to share what I experienced, some of the music that has traveled with me home and other bits of insight I picked up along the way.
Oh…I have so neglected posting to this blog! So sorry, guys! I will be posting, more often than not, over on www.carikaufman.com. Please visit me there! But, in the meantime, I wanted to share with you a journal post from my time at Captivating in April.
Big fluffy snowflakes fall, muffling the sounds of four hundred women beginning to stir. The beauty of the mountains surround me. We have all come here together seeking the same answer to the same question, a question every woman bears- “Am I captivating?”
We all ask it different ways-but it is the ageless question on every woman’s heart. On mine.
“Lord, am I beautiful? Am I truly yours, Lord? Do you really love ME so much that you would send you son to DIE…FOR ME?
I wish I could say that I am a woman who didn’t need that question constantly answered. I wish that the blessed assurance that I am God’s BELOVED DAUGHTER– bought and paid for…no RANSOMED..by the blood of Jesus Christ would sit, would stay put in my heart forever. But the understanding of that sacrifice escapes daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes by the minute.
The world and the enemy of my soul they tell me it’s not true, they tell me I am not lovely, I am not captivating, I am not beloved….even worse- they tell me I am not His.
And I wish, God, I pray, that I did not believe that lie so often. So Lord, I come to ask you , “Do you see me? Am I lovely? Am I yours, Lord?
In this room, where others are asking the same question in each their own special way…I hear You shout, not whisper, but cry out a definitive, “YES!“ And my heart cries out in joy…in response.
I see it now, all around me…your extravagant love for me…like a beau bringing flowers to his lady. I see it in the fluffy snowflakes on my eyelashes- like kisses from God. And in the beautiful smiles of the sister hearts I meet all around me. And the breathtaking views of the mountains. And the vivid blue of the sky. And I hear it in the 400 voices raised in song and worship, and the shouts of praise and the whispered prayers of intercessors.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for meeting me here. For bringing me here. For loving me here. I love You.
“I kept running around it in large or small circles, always looking for someone or something able to convince me of my Belovedness. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved”. Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.”
-Henri Nouwen, The Life of the Beloved