A Beautiful weekend consisted of laughter, tears, smiles, friendships and memories. But most of all, it consisted of Gods presence. Many women walked away from a Beautiful weekend changed, healed and set free. During the month of October, we will hear how God showed up in mighty ways at A Beautiful Weekend from our bloggers and speakers. We hope that a Beautiful Weekend changed your life just as much as it changed ours. 

By Leslee Stewart           

There’s nothing like receiving an unexpected gift. From untying the ribbon, to opening the present, there’s always a little excitement in seeing how someone has chosen to surprise you.

On the first night of this year’s A Beautiful Weekend, the ladies came into the grand ballroom to discover a surprise gift at each place setting – a beautiful, Tiffany-blue box, tied up with a white satin ribbon. We were told we couldn’t open them right away…oooh, the suspense! The ladies around me began to wonder what was inside. Jewelry? A chocolate truffle? Money?

When we were instructed to open them, we were surprised to find a laminated card on the inside with only a single word printed on it. They explained that the Beautiful Weekend committee had prayed over a list of words they believed God wanted each woman to have – words that describe how our Heavenly Father sees us. They then gave each woman one of the words as her gift from God for the weekend, and instructed us to ask Him to show us why that particular word was meant for us.

When I opened my box, I saw that my word was “Embraced.” At first I wasn’t sure exactly why I had received that word, but I did as I was told and just asked God to show me throughout the weekend why He chose that word for me.

It didn’t take long to begin to see why that was my word. For the last year, God has had me in a season of surrendering things to Him – my children, our finances, my job – it has felt like pretty much everything that has been important to me, God has asked me in one way or another to lay it down and trust Him to deliver it His way and in His time.

For a self-diagnosed control freak like me, it hasn’t been an easy road. But all along the way, when I truly surrendered my plans, my ideas, my ways in exchange for His plans, His ideas, His ways, I was overwhelmed at the outcome. Debt that I thought wouldn’t be paid down for years; we suddenly had the finances to pay off. A challenging relationship with my children began to be healed and restored. God even asked me to let go of my job in ministry to focus on being more available for my family; a decision that wasn’t easy, but one that He blessed once I surrendered it to Him.

So when I opened the “word box” at the weekend, I half expected mine to say, “surrender.” But God began to reveal to me was that He was replacing my time of surrender for a season of being “embraced” by Him. Even though where I sit today doesn’t necessarily look like what I thought it would, He wants me to embrace it – Embrace my Place. He has called me, equipped me and prepared me for exactly the season I am in. Now my job is to embrace it and not spend my time trying to get ahead of Him, or hurry Him along. There is a tremendous amount of peace that comes from knowing I’m right where I’m supposed to be – embraced by Him and exactly where He wants me.

Thank you God, for my word – Embraced. Thank you for loving me enough to see past my control and fear, and place me right where you want me to be. You adopted me as your daughter, embraced me as your own, and now I choose to embrace the season You’ve set me in. Help me to have patience to wait on Your perfect plan and timing, and to always trust that You have nothing but good in store for those who love You. Amen.

Leslee Stewart is a wife, stay-at-home mom of two boys and former communications executive. She and her husband love the adventure of parenting and sharing their journey with others. When she’s not cheering her boys on at the ball field, you can find her in the aisles of HomeGoods adding to her throw pillow addiction. She loves cheap jewlery, junky old furniture and can sing all the parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” 

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