Last month, approximately 480 women traveled to Waxahachie to experience what is known as RELEASED. Beltway Women has sponsored this unique retreat for the past six years, and each year we are more encouraged (and humbled) by the way that God shows up. I mean…how does He continue to do it? How can each year be better than the previous year? Those are the questions we have at the beginning of each retreat season, but as we press into God and seek His face, He unveils the plans and strategies that facilitate a moving of the Holy Spirit that we haven’t experienced previously. God is good!
The reason we use the word RELEASED to name this unique experience is because we know that the Lord desires to heal (Psalm 103) and release us from our past failures, hurts and abuses…and then in turn release us into the destiny that He has planned for us. The RELEASED retreat is a freedom weekend (Galatians 5:1) that takes women on a journey of being reminded that the Lord created us unique, with the feminine heart of God. Not only does our Creator pursue us with His great love and sacrifice through Jesus Christ, but He also desires relationship with us and sends His Holy Spirit to minister this truth to us, then He desires to partner with us to advance His Kingdom. This year, our women heard messages on God’s pursuit and how He transforms us, identifying barriers to our destiny, overcoming those barriers, identity in Christ, spiritual mantles, unveiling your beauty, and irreplaceable role in the Kingdom. In the final session, women were challenged to JUMP into where the Lord is calling them.
Each speaker shared her personal testimony of ways that the Lord has transformed her life, and how God asked her to JUMP out in faith to make a difference in someone else’s life. Video testimonies were shown of how God is partnering with our women in freedom areas, missions, spiritual gifts, social justice arenas, outreach, and community leadership. In each instance God did a significant work in someone’s life, which transformed their heart and gave them the desire to share that with another person. God is moving in awesome, miraculous ways in the Kingdom and bringing souls to Christ as people become challenged, move beyond their comfort zone and reach out to them!
Judy Caps, founder of HOPE ministries from Mt. Pleasant, shared how a dream she had one night, opened her heart to a connection with a single mom, which catapulted her into the ministry she now leads helping single mothers find housing, community, jobs and Jesus. Judy brought 12 of her HOPE ladies with her to the retreat and they were then blessed with the encouragement that they too have a place in this Kingdom to bring the answer for someone else!
Misty Heifrin, who grew up at Beltway but now lives in College Station, brought a group of 10 ladies from her church to experience RELEASED this year. Their husbands attended Boot Camp last year, and they saw the transformation that took place in their men, and they wanted the same! What a sweet blessing to reconnect with Misty again and be a part of transformation that God is sending to their church.
Since our return, I have received 29 personal testimonies from women who have been challenged and set free! They are sharing what God did, and where they are planning to JUMP in the future. Nine women who attended are already stepping out and have agreed to lead a summer Bible study or book study group! I have personally met with 15 others who are stepping into service team areas and leadership roles next year, and I have plans to meet with 9 more! Two of the women are already praying into leading a retreat of their own in their home town next year. One of the reasons we continue to do this retreat is because WE SEE THE FRUIT! John 15:16 states “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” God is about the fruit! Each year, God moves in our hearts, convicts, heals, sets free, then empowers women to step out and help others. That is a dynamic of the Kingdom that is priceless to watch and a great investment to make in our people!!
Each year we work towards raising up new layers of leadership, and finding new ways that women can serve at the retreat and within Beltway Women. After last year, 71 new women took the challenge and agreed to be Small Group Leaders for this year. Did you hear that?? Yes, I said 71! They committed to three equipping sessions in order to lead well at RELEASED. We were able to partner them with other women, and the majority of our 42 groups had two leaders this year. We also added to our Prayer Partners team, and they as well were trained and spent hours observing at the altars each Sunday in preparation for our special weekend. All total, it took 161 people on our serve team to pull RELEASED off. We are already brainstorming for new areas of service for next year!
We know that the Lord has blessed Beltway Park with a piece to the Kingdom that He desires to share with the nations. We have seen that firsthand as we took a RELEASED team to Cambodia last year and ministered to 150 women. I truly believe that God is NOT FINISHED in this area, and that we will travel to even more places in the future. No matter the country or culture…the Holy Spirit translates the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it’s beautiful to watch!
I am so blessed to be a part of a church that has leadership that truly seeks God and His heart for people. Our leadership allows us to try new and sometimes unconventional methods to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the Kingdom. Yes, trust me…we have fun at RELEASED, but everything we do (even an intro that includes your Women’s and Freedom Pastors rapping) is to allow as many women to experience the heart of God, and encourage them to face their fears and step out in faith! Beltway Women…you have been RELEASED!