My first time going on a Resurrection retreat was overwhelming to say the least.

Hearing that thousands of youth from all over the region would be in one place made me both excited and slightly terrified. Worship to me was supposed to be a calm, peaceful experience. Why were there all these bright lights and speakers so loud that the music shook my whole body? At first, I didn’t know any of the songs, and I was certain that being surrounded by strangers in a mosh pit at the foot of the stage wasn’t really my thing. Yet I soon came to realize that that was the beauty of it. Because by the end of the weekend I was at the very front singing along to every word.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what the speaker said that weekend back in 2013, but I do remember feeling like I took a step in my faith. Since then, every Resurrection I have been on has yielded the same result: learning something new, and growing spiritually. This year, we talked about grace, a topic with which Jenny has made us very familiar. Ultimately, everyone has a different faith story. Some people experience big, light switch events, while others figure it out a little bit at a time. The common denominator in both of these scenarios is the presence of God’s grace through it all. From cradle to grave, it is there; before we are even born and well after we are gone. And at Resurrection, there is something for everyone to learn no matter what part of the faith journey they are on. 

I always look forward to our yearly pilgrimage to Pigeon Forge. The drive through the mountains always seems to bring back great memories of past Resurrections. To me, it is about the fellowship more than anything else. Because when you grow closer to others, you grow closer to God.

– Mac Chandler, senior

Focus Verse – 1 John 4:13 “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”

SLA is always a weekend I look forward to throughout the year. It is a time of fellowship, togetherness and growing closer in a relationship with God, as well as friends. I was especially looking forward to this weekend because of the busyness of my schedule; including school and extracurriculars. I needed a time to take a breath from my ongoing schedule and re-familiarize myself with my relationship with Christ.

Enjoying time together at SLA 2018

Throughout the weekend, we discussed how we are all children of God and we’re made in God’s image. In small groups, we talked about our daily routines, such as brushing our teeth and making our bed, and how we can incorporate a small act of stillness to be with Christ during these ordinary acts. This mindfulness for a few minutes everyday will slowly feed into our daily routines and help us have the right mindset for the rest of the day. I loved this new idea and now, being a few weeks after SLA, I have taken time to be still with God for a few minutes everyday, which has incredibly changed my perspective and given me a pair of fresh eyes each day. It has allowed me to see God perform in different ways throughout my day and it has shown me how we really are made in God’s image.

One thing that really stayed with me from SLA was the idea of the Holy Spirit. We discussed how God presents himself in many different ways throughout our lives; the Holy Spirit being one of these ways. After this discussion, we began to pray with our hands open, instead of clenched together. This different way of praying felt refreshing and made me feel more open to God. By opening our hands, we are giving up our burdens to God and letting him take control; though, with clenched fists, we cannot receive his Grace. SLA has always been my favorite weekend of the year.  It feels like coming up for a breath of fresh air after ‘drowning’ in everyday obstacles.

– Mary Kate Holladay, Sophomore