All month we’ve featured testimonies from our speakers and blog writers who attended A Beautiful Weekend! One of our favorite parts of A Beautiful Weekend is the testimonies we receive from the women who attended. Many women walk away from a Beautiful Weekend changed, healed and set free from hurts in their past. To wrap up our month, we wanted to share some testimonies we received! We hope that these testimonies give you encouragement!

 “God made me see that there is healing, that He does love me and that I can do all things through Him.”

“God helped me to realize that I am on the right track and I CAN have faith in Him because HE IS my Father!”

“I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace and a greater acceptance of myself.”

“I came feeling like I didn’t deserve His love and that I wasn’t loved. But NOW I know that He loves me and my word was “DELIGHTED IN”!

“I came with a weight in my heart and confusion of what I was going to pray for 1st. After the break out session of “Kissing myself goodbye”, I made a decision to give not only my daily situations to God but my life…”

“God confirmed me one more time that I am not alone and I won’t be…He is walking by my side.”

“I let go of some traits that I thought “made me”, but all along they were holding me back. I left them at the altar and don’t plan on letting the enemy make me pick them back up.”

“God gave me reassurance and confirmation of the reasons why He has entrusted me with so many of His precious gifts.”

“I came face to face with God and left things at the cross that I haven’t been able to let go of.”

Share your testimonies and comments below on your experience at a Beautiful Weekend!

 

by Tammy Berard

At a Beautiful Weekend, I had the privilege of leading a break out session on parenting. As a previous teacher and administrator, guiding and nurturing children has always been a passion of mine. Leading the breakout session was a great experience and I saw God work in such a mighty way! 

About 13 years ago, my husband and I grabbed a hold of “Growing Kids God’s Way” when I was pregnant with my first born. We started to follow the philosophy and began facilitating the class at church a few years after my daughter was born. I became a parent coach for a couple of years (picture “SuperNanny”) and was able to help families deal with parenting dilemmas and conflicts in their homes. 

A couple years ago, a friend introduced me to a new parenting book, “Loving Our Kids On Purpose” by Danny Silk. I was so blown away by the love and freedom this book offered. It completely changed the dynamics of my family and how we parent. It freed us to focus more on the relationship with our children and less on their obedience. Don’t get me wrong, we still require obedience but the approach that we take is so different and so much more like God’s approach to parenting us.  I brought the new curriculum to Pastor Chris in Married Life and we began facilitating the class on Thursday nights last spring.  It has been so exciting to see other families changed for the better as well. I felt called to lead this type of breakout session at a Beautiful Weekend because I wanted to share what I have learned through this curriculum to other mothers! 

Through teaching this curriculum, I found that as parents, we sometimes focus on the behavior of our child rather than our connection to them. So many times we lose our cool when handling conflict. What if we were able to manage ourselves while our children were messing up? They are learning about life right in front of us. They are professional mistake makers, yet we act shocked every time they make one. Don’t you want the lesson they learn form leaving their bike out to be that “I don’t get to ride my bike!” and not “Mom is going to scream at me?” I sure did. I allowed God to work in me and help me deal with my fears and control issues toward parenting. Now when my son leaves his bike out I can say with empathy, “I am so sad that you made that choice son.  I am going to miss watching you ride your bike for the next few days.” That is so much more effective! I try not to make their problems my problems. No making phone calls to get my daughter’s homework assignment from a friend’s mom because she forgot to bring it home. Just an empathetic, “ I am sorry you forgot your homework. What are you going to do about it?”

Life is full of pressure, unkind people and temptation. Because of this study, it has opened up our eyes the way we manage our home. We were encouraged (as well as many other families) to let our home be a place of peace and safety for our kids to be themselves; mistakes and all. We are able to guide our children through their decisions and help them learn the natural consequences of their choices…I mean, you can’t really control them anyway. The only thing you really control is you, so why not help them learn to control themselves?  We all may not agree on everything everyone says about parenting, but we can always take what is useful and apply it to our familiy. It is worth the effort and sacrifice. We are raising future world changers…and we just might have to change first.

“Parenting with Love and Logic” by Foster Cline is also another insightful book on parenting! What books have given you parenting tools? Share your comments below!

 

Tammy has been married to her college sweetheart, Raymond Berard, for 17 years. They have three children ages 12, 6 and 3. Tammy is a previous teacher and school administrator who now enjoys being the keeper of the schedule for her busy family. She is also the current leader of Beautiful Moms and hosts a small group for Married Life. She loves to shop, cook, dance and cheer on her Gators!

by Leah Martorana

This year at Beautiful Weekend we were challenged to expect BIG things from God, to expect Him to show up, and to expect a miracle.   Wow!  The challenge wasn’t to gain some insight, to take great notes, to learn about being a better wife or parent.  The challenge was to expect to hear from God in a miraculous way. 

As the weekend progressed I listened to ladies share their stories.  Amazing things had happened in their lives!  There were ladies who were rescued from drug abuse, who survived a tragic death of a loved one, who overcame past abortion, who were and who were miraculously healed.  Each story was so inspiring! But as I listened, a lie began to build in me.  I suppose it started a long time ago but it grew louder over the weekend.   It said, “you have nothing important to say.” And, “you don’t have anything as impactful to offer as these women do.”   

One night at dinner we opened a Tiffany blue box that contained a word.  My word was “empowered”.  I didn’t know what it meant. I waited all weekend wondering if God would clue me in.  As time passed I began to wonder if He would “make the deadline” of Saturday at 11 AM.  (Sounds funny now, but I really thought that) Weren’t we supposed to hear from God in a miraculous way before the weekend ended??

At the end of the retreat I was a little disappointed that I still felt confused about my word.  I didn’t feel so empowered.  The women who got on stage and shared exciting testimonies were the empowered ones.

When I got home I shared about the weekend with my husband.  I told him about the testimonies.  I told him about my word.  Empowered.  He looked at me in the way he does and said, “Leah, you have no idea the impact you have.”  I started to tear up as the lie was revealed.  This lie I believed as truth. At that very moment I received a text that said,  “You have no idea what you’ve sparked in my spirit from what you said to me this weekend!”

Really?  Me? I didn’t realize it but I had empowered another woman to share her story. A story that was bound to impact countless women. Beyond that, over the next few weeks God continued to show me how I was empowered.  He helped me to realize that my story was a powerful one.  My story is one of God’s goodness and favor because of the generations before me that prayed on my behalf.  Life hasn’t been perfect and it never will be, but I’ve been spared many tragedies and that is a beautiful thing. God can use me.  I am empowered.

We are ALL empowered! How are you empowered? Share your comments below! 

Leah Martorana has been married to her husband, Mark, for 5 years.  They have a son named, Maxwell, who they welcomed to the world in January of 2012.  Leah is the co-leader of Beautiful Moms at Grace Family Church.  Leah also enjoys anything creative, from cooking to crafting. 

by Wendi Braswell

When I met with Kristin months before A Beautiful Weekend, I wasn’t even sure if she wanted me to take part in the retreat, let alone lead a break out session. You see, I’m very successful in my career in fashion, but have yet to share this part of me with my church family. When we were taking about the theme of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, I knew that this was right up my ally! I began listening for what God wanted me to say to these beautiful women.

The theme kept going back to talking about “your beauty battle.” We all have one and I wanted to be as honest as possible. Working with women of all ages, I’ve found they are all very similar and lack confidence with their appearance in some way. I’ve always loved women retreats, time away, no household chores, girlfriend time, and God time. I was so excited to hear what God had to say to me…that big “A HA!” moment that I always seemed to leave with. That very first night I opened that little beautiful blue box to find my word…rejoiced over. Hmmm… I looked around at the women at my table to see their reaction. Did they  feel nothing like I did? To be honest I went back to my hotel room that night to google it. Yes. Google it. Rejoiced over means to celebrate because of something. I smiled and knew at that moment God was saying to me that He is celebrating over me! Wow! Now my word from my little blue box had some power behind it. God has prepared my heart for women to feel valued, loved, special, and to make them feel like they matter. It just so happened I get to do this by teaching women to look their very best.

The day of my breakout session I had visions of just ME showing up, so I was thrilled to see we needed to add chairs. I should have known God would show up BIG. We talked about our beauty battles; body image, not being worthy, not enough or just wanting to disappear. We talked about our God given body types and how to dress them. When the session was over there was a line of women with various questions mostly about their body type. In the back of the room lingering at the end was a small shy women with tears in her eyes. She began to explain the struggle she is having with this new body shape since her cancer, aging and lack of confidence. She said she just didn’t feel pretty anymore. I knew at that moment my calling to love women and “rejoice over” them was being confirmed. We talked and hugged, and she went on her way more encouraged than when she arrived. The last day Pat taught us that everyday is ordained. I’m thrilled and excited that our  God has big plans for us and rejoices over us each and every day!

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Stay beautiful my friends~
Wendi

To find out more about Wendi, check out her website www.WendiBraswell.com 

 

By Vivian Germain

Wow! What a Beautiful Weekend indeed! I’m still in awe of what God did at the Retreat and how He ministered to many of us. I was truly excited about this year’s retreat as new things were happening before the weekend even began.  For the very first time in 3 years I wasn’t either pregnant or bringing an infant with me, I was not working during the retreat and for the very first time I was teaching a breakout session. I so desired to spend quality time with God at the retreat, to find out what He had for me next and to REST! The season I’m in doesn’t really allow for me to spend quiet times or to rest much at home. I often feel mentally and emotionally exhausted.

It all started the first night when I opened the little blue Tiffany box, and my word was “RESTORED”. I knew then that God was going to restore my rest and renew my strength. But later He revealed a deeper meaning to that word. Back in March I asked Kristin Bonham if I could lead a breakout session at the Beautiful Weekend. I told her that God had placed that desire in my heart and He gave me the topic He wanted me to speak on. I was filled with excitement and nerves all at the same time, but as summer approached and I started preparing my message I began to doubt whether or not God was really calling me to do so. The doubt arouse because a few years ago God placed a desire in me to minister to women but I wrestled with that because I didn’t feel qualified and to be honest with you, I just didn’t see it happening. I told God back then that “If He was really calling me He will make it happen” but nothing really changed Ministry wise after He gave me that desire and this year I have been struggling again trying to find out what my purpose and my calling is. But He reassured me that I was supposed to share my message.

I knew the Beautiful Weekend was going to be amazing because: 1) We had our sweet Pat Layton as our Keynote speaker and 2) I was thrilled that God had opened a door for me to minister. I was even more encouraged when Pat said on Thursday night that we were chosen to be at this retreat and she challenged us to ask God to use us to minister to someone else. The next morning before sunrise, I went to the beach to spend time with God and to pray for the ladies He had Chosen to hear my message. During that time God showed me a different meaning of the word Restored: To bring back into existence or use; reestablish. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant until later that day. I’m amazed by How God moved and used my message for His Glory but I’m more amazed by how He used the ladies at the breakout session to restore me.  When I thought that my calling was lost He brought it back into existence, He reestablished it.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen next Ministry wise, but for now I know that He is El Roi “The God Who Sees me.” Thank you to the ladies that came to my breakout session, thank you for allowing God to use you in my life!

Were you restored during a Beautiful Weekend? Share your comments below!

Vivian Germain has been a Christian for over 20 years and really enjoys the freedom that is in Christ. She brings encouragement to other women by sharing her spiritual walk. Vivian and her husband, Dustin, have three beautiful children; Daniella, Andrew and Matthew. She loves the beach, date nights and to travel almost anywhere.