Big News – With Great Joy!

I know, I know. It’s been since July since I last wrote – but I had to take a moment and share some big news!

In February of this year I opened an email from my long-time friend, Carey. She hinted that God had placed a big dream on her heart but He also kept mentioning my name with the idea. The more she journaled and prayed, the more she couldn’t shake the thought. Here’s the start of her email:

Idea: You and I co-own and lead an Arizona Women’s retreat.

Deep breath!

She proceeded to list several reasons why she felt led, called, and why we might make a great team for this endeavor. Carey and I had worked together in ministry for years and had plenty of opportunities to lead and plan under pressure. Our styles tend to align, and our passion to see women encouraged and challenged to rest in the Lord definitely aligned- so I prayed, prayed with my husband, and then we started the first of many conversations that eventually created WITH JOY RETREATS, LLC.

cargingCarey and I (and our fabulously supportive spouses) are co-owners of a little company that seeks to provide respite and renewal to women through weekend retreats.

More than that, we’ve rented a site, booked some amazingly gifted people, and are now ready to invite 54 women to join us April 10-12, 2015 for our first retreat in Prescott, Arizona.

Here’s our official mission statement: With Joy Retreats creates a sacred space to rest, learn and worship. Speaker Ginger Ciminello and Life Coach Carey Bailey provide fresh Biblical perspectives for applying the transformative power of God’s truth to our day to day reality.

What can you anticipate during a With Joy Retreat?

  • In-depth Biblical teaching
  • Practical resources
  • Personal reflection
  • Guided worship through music
  • Creative outlets for practicing spiritual disciplines
  • Opportunities for new friendships
  • Laughter!
  • Authenticity and intentionality
  • Room to pause and be present

Registration for our first retreat, BE, opens Friday at 8am PST. There are only 54 spots. First come. First served.

Check out our gorgeous (if I do say so myself) new website for further details and info. I hope you will consider joining us or sharing this event with a friend who might benefit from time to rest and retreat!

Following,

Ginger

Dear Carey.

A two week series on learning from the past and looking to the future…

Dear 16-year-old Carey,

A fumble may be small but you can learn from it. An outright mistake may be large but don’t worry, it actually helps you grow. And while you were a really good girl who strove for perfection at all times there is one thing in hindsight that I would warn you about. Try not to take this too personally. I am not criticizing, just trying to help you get the most out of your early days.

In first grade his name was Andy and he lasted all the way to 3rd grade. In 4th grade his name was Jason, in 5th grade his name was Grant. Junior High there was Chris, Matt, Lee, Alex, Bobby, and Graham. You really like liked Graham a lot and would probably consider him to be your first true heartbreak. In high school there was Matt number 2 and then Ryan. Ryan stuck. You kept him around till you left for college. Can I stop there? You get the picture, right?

Let’s talk about this. A boyfriend is nice. It is fun to say you have a boyfriend. It is nice to hold hands with someone in the movies, it is cool that you never have to walk to and from each class alone, and that you can stay up late at night sharing hopes and dreams on the phone. But let me tell you a little secret. A boyfriend is not needed for survival. I promise! There doesn’t always have to be a boyfriend. And while the Bible does speak of leaving your mother and father for a spouse there was no need to go on a quest for “the one” at age eight. That is just plain silly! I understand your love of dreaming and grand fairy tales.  You dreamed big. Dreams of marrying your childhood sweetheart, having kids, and telling stories that made peoples heart melt. You were crossing your fingers for romance, love notes, surprises, and things written for soap operas. I love that dreamer side of you. Don’t lose it, just use it in other ways.

Here is what I know now. Enjoy friends! Enjoy your girlfriends. Have sleepovers, stay up all night, talk on the phone, giggle, go to the mall, and bask in the sun (with sunscreen, of course). Hang out with your family! Go to church together, have lunch with them, go on road trips with a smile on your face, play with your siblings, appreciate that they are there. Don’t let boys make you so nervous! I know now that you always liked having a boyfriend because it kept you safe. You didn’t have to put yourself out there because you were “taken.” They may be boys but they are just human beings that you can learn from and have as just friends. I say all this because I know without a shadow of a doubt no matter how much you try to fashion “the one” for you it won’t do you any good. You are not the one in charge. God has to pick him for you.

16-year-old Carey, your style led to heartbreaks. You experienced more heartbreaks than needed because you were trying to control the boyfriend situation, make it work, and ignore the stop signs that God was throwing in your way. The thing you can be certain of is this: don’t worry! Don’t worry about the future. It will come.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act” Psalm 37:7a

It just won’t be in your time. It will be in God’s time. And it certainly won’t look as you planned. It will look as God desires. And this Carey, allowing your life to look as God designed for you, is the grandest storybook story that can ever be told.

Enjoy the journey.

With Joy, Carey

Bio: Carey C Bailey

I am a lover of grace through Christ, a wife to the hilarious Mr. Bailey, and a mother to two precious children of God. I host an online community for mothers called Cravings: desiring God in the midst of motherhood. After having kids, I realized I had to make a shift in my personal devotional time. The days of chillin in my comfy chair reading my Bible, journaling, and sipping hot tea were gone. I had to make it easier not less meaningful, just easier.

My goal at Cravings is to walk with moms in creating a powerful relationship with God in the midst of motherhood. My promise is that Cravings is a place of inspiration, encouragement, and community. I want you to be able to walk in and out of each day satisfied because The Bible, not cupcakes, filled you up.

Cravings first product, daily devotional flashcards, will be in stores in August. Stop by and stay awhile.

Stay connected with Carey: website / blog / facebook / twitter