Breakaway 2017

 

It is hard to believe Breakaway 2017 has come and gone. We shared a wonderful couple days together with spouses from around the country. The event was featured in an article on wesleyan.org that we wanted to share with you. Click here to see a recap of this time of refreshment and renewal for pastors’ spouses. 

We also wanted to share a testimonial from the event. Julie Lamb, a pastor’s spouse and worship leader from Colorado, made the trip to the Indianapolis area for her first Breakaway and wrote the thoughts below about her experience at this year’s event.

I am flying home after Breakaway, a gathering with Pastor’s spouses, where truth was spoken over us and tears were shed in vulnerability. Our hearts grasped — for some, perhaps for the first time — that our identities are not anchored in others’ expectations of us or in the roles we tend to play that were never meant to define us. We paused for a few days to breathe and allow God to redefine us… letting go of mistaken identities… leaning into who God uniquely designed us to be.  My heart is encouraged…lighter.

God set us on a journey in ministry of restoring a portion of His Creation back to Him, and the privilege and responsibility could not be more real. I am grateful for the team who poured their time and talent into crafting an event that encouraged and challenged us, men and women gathered from all across the country where they serve on the front lines of ministry. I am grateful for Whitney Wheeler’s courage to tell her own story. I am grateful for new friendships that were forged and for old friendships that were reconnected. I am grateful for a prayer partner to connect with consistently upon returning home.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in attending Breakaway.  Would it be worth buying a plane ticket and all the travel expense to travel from Colorado? Would it be an event where everyone talks about surface realities and doesn’t really dive into the heart of what we’re navigating in our own contexts?  Would I come home exhausted?

What I experienced was a breath of fresh air.  We were offered an opportunity to navigate how God has wired us each individually in how we connect with Him through Gwen Jackson’s session on her new book Unforced Rhythms. We were drawn in as Sherry Gorveatte shared experiences from her journey of ministry and reminded us of the truth that God’s image is impressed upon each of us.  We were given space to enjoy some down time, the gift of Sabbath built into the weekend. The food was great, the breakout sessions were inspiring, conversations were life-giving, and I left with an encouraged and rested heart.

The PSC team has been so blessed to hear these types of responses from those who were able to come to Breakaway this year. Whether you come to an event or engage with Pastor’s Spouse Connection through online opportunities, we count it a privilege to be able to walk this journey with you. We love and appreciate you for who you are and are so grateful for the many ways we see you allowing God to work in and through you.

Now Go. And Do.

About a month ago, pastors’ spouses gathered at The Wesleyan Church Headquarters for Breakaway, a Pastor’s Spouse Connection event. The team that worked hard to put this event together had been fervently praying God would meet us there in amazing ways. He did just that, and we have heard many testimonies of how God used Breakaway as a “defining moment” in the lives of spouses. A great article recapping the event was posted on the Wesleyan Church’s website which you can read here if you have not already had the chance to do so. Breakaway provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with God and each other, and we look forward to more of these opportunities in the future!

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As the event drew to a close, we were blessed to have Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, speak in the final session. Having been a pastor’s spouse herself, she easily identified with those in the room and her words were heartfelt, spirit-filled, and inspiring. At the end of her message, she spoke words of commission over the spouses. This was a powerful moment as we prepared to head back to the places God has called us to serve. We wanted to share those words with you here today. Wherever you find yourself, be encouraged! God loves you and has called you. Live with his kingdom purposes in mind!

I commission you in the powerful name of Jesus. Through this commission you will live in your world as an ambassador of the Kingdom of God.

I commission you in the work of healing and serving and loving and reconciliation. You are an emissary of justice, and your work from now on is to put things right, to call those things that are not as they will be.

I pray that the God of hope would fill you with peace that passes all understanding. I pray that you will be drawn into community so rich, so deep, so diverse that you will disagree and fight and remain in fellowship together anyway.  I pray that you would have your toes stepped on, your feelings hurt, and that you would forgive. I pray that you would be given the gift of realizing you were wrong about some important things. I pray that you would be quick to seek forgiveness and make it right when you are the transgressor…

Now go. And do. You know Jesus – you have experienced the power and the grace with your own life; you have felt it in your own heart. Now go – heal, disciple, minister, love, loosen chains, throw open doors, bang your own pots and pans.

Speak, breathe, prophesy, mark exam papers, run a company or a nonprofit, clean your kitchen, put paint on a canvas, organize, rabble-rouse, find transcendence in the laundry pile while you pray in obscurity, deliver babies for Haitian mothers in the midwifery clinic, run computer companies, work the love out and in and around you however God has made you to do it. Don’t let the lies fence you in or hold you back.

Love your spouse, love your babies, love the poor, love the orphans, love the widows, love the powerful, love the broken and the hurting, love your friends, love yourself, and love your enemies. Love until you come to love the whole world in the fullness of God, in the full expression of the image bearer he created you to be – just that; no more, but certainly no less…

I call you to realize you are more than you know…God is still living out His story through you…let go and let him do it…constantly seek to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit…may your soul long for prayer and for the scriptures.

May you make room in your life to be inconvenienced and put out, and may you be Jesus with skin on for a few people. May you be fearless, and may you eat good food…

…we will walk it out together. We are part of the redemptive movement of God in the world for his daughters and his sons. You and me – we are Kingdom people, an outpost of redemption, engaged in God’s mission of reconciliation.

Blessed be his Kingdom, now and forevermore.

Peace be with you, my friend. Peace.

lyon_joann

 

Words of Commission from Dr. Jo Anne Lyon at Breakaway 2016. Sections from Sarah Bessey, “The Commissioning” – Jesus Feminist