Sunday, April 26, 2009

Retreat Recap

This weekend I was at our church's women's retreat. It began Thursday and ended Saturday afternoon. What a wonderful time of fellowship we had! We sang together, prayed together and studied God's word together. We even stayed up late, ate junk food and just talked. These after hours "gab" sessions are a fun time to get to know each other and enjoy each other's company. Not only did I agree to put myself out there and give my testimony, I also stepped out of my comfort zone and shared a room with three other women. I usually only share a room with one or two people. Four people in a room means we have to share a bed. I have "issues" with sharing a bed with someone other than my husband. It's just weird to me, but I did it. (it was a king size bed, so it was really like sleeping alone). I was teased mercilessly all weekend about this. Seriously though, I had three really great women for roommates and we got along nicely. I'm glad I stayed with them.

We also performed a skit this weekend. It was a three scene skit based loosely on the movie Steel Magnolias. I wrote the skit and recruited a couple of really funny ladies to be in it. It went really well. Everyone laughed when they were supposed to and completely understand the overall theme. I wrote it to show one woman's influence on a group of women that lasted even after she passed away. (Yes, we had a funeral scene) Our theme for the retreat was "The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood". I'm really thankful to God for answering my prayers that it would go well.

Our speaker Susan Hunt spoke on the topic of biblical womanhood. She was incredible. I could have listened to her speak for another day. Everything she said was thoroughly rooted in God's word. And yet she had a way of speaking that was just easy to listen to. Even though most of what she was saying was contradictory to what the world says, and may be difficult for some women to hear, it was delivered in such a lovely way that it would have been difficult not to accept. If you are not familiar with Susan Hunt she has written several books on biblical womanhood: "Spiritual Mothering"; "True Woman"; "The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood". She has also written a curriculum for teaching God's views on womanhood to young girls. I highly recommend finding out more about her and reading her books.

I gave my testimony on Friday morning. Although it was difficult I got through it and am glad I did it. Everyone was so loving afterward and offering many encouraging words to me. I really did not know what to expect. I never expected them to turn their backs on me after hearing it, but I did think some women might view me differently. I think in a way they do view me differently now, but not in the way I thought. They see me as much like themselevs. Someone who has made many mistakes not only in the past, but everyday, and who values her salvation because of it. I am so thankful to the women there for being so wonderful to me after hearing my testimony. I am truly blessed to call many of them my friends, and all of them my sisters in Christ.

It was really a spiritually uplifting time for me and I thank God for being with us all this weekend.

I have posted my testimony here so you all can read it.
I'm Josey Bozzo and I've been attending Greentree Church for just over 9 years. Last year when I signed up to go on the London missions trip, I was told I should put into writing how I came to know Christ as my Savior. I had never done that before and I found that it was difficult. The story of how I came to know Christ is long and sometimes painful to recall. But I wrote it out like I was told. Secretly I prayed I wouldn't have to read it. Not because of standing in front of people, I have no problem with that. It was because of what it contained that made me nervous. Most of you only know me since I've been at Greentree. I don't talk about the person I was before Christ entered my life very often and you'll understand why as I continue. I have to assume that God wants me talking about it, because here I am.
When I was about 15 years old I had a boyfriend. We had dated for two years and he was everything to me, my whole world. I loved him so much that one night I gave myself to him completely. It was a decision I still regret today. It wasn't long after that he broke up with me. He claimed he “just didn't love me anymore”. I couldn't understand it. I was devastated and utterly heartbroken. I spent the next years of school depressed and miserable. These dark feelings gave way to some very destructive behavior. I began spending my time drinking at parties. I also looked for any boy who would give me attention. All I wanted was for the pain of feeling unloved to go away. Eventually nothing I was doing helped so I took drastic measures.
One night I stole a handful of pills from my parent's medicine cabinet and washed them down with whatever bottle I had gotten my hands on. I passed out on the floor later that night at my friend's house not knowing whether I would wake up. Honestly I didn't care. I know now, that someone did care. There was someone who loved me so much that this attempt to end my life didn't work, and neither did the other two attempts that followed. I just didn't know it yet.
When I was 21, my parents lifted my curfew and things just escalated. I could stay out all night if I wanted, and I did. I was living a truly sinful life by every definition and yet I didn't feel like I was doing anything wrong. It was a great time as far as I was concerned. Right about this same time, as crazy as it sounds, a relative of someone I had dated, suggested I see a counselor. She was a Christian and so was the counselor she sent me to. I wasn't sure about it, but I went anyway. The counselor wouldn't listen to my boohooing about how no one loved me. She told me I was a sinner and that I needed Jesus. That day I prayed and asked Jesus into my heart.
Now I wish I could tell you that at this point my life began to change. But I can't. I walked out of that office and went right back to doing what I had been. I disregarded everthing I had heard from her about Jesus and everything I had done that day. This is where, when I look back I realize just how amazing God is. (as if saving me from suicide before I knew him wasn't enough). Even though I turned my back on him, and ignored the tugging on my heart that told me what I was doing was wrong, he didn't let go of me. He held on to me, kept me close to him, alive and safe for the next few years. He brought truly wonderful man into my life who became my husband and father of our two children. And He brought us incredible friends who invited us to Greentree Church for the Christmas musical. It was only a few months after the musical that my husband accepted Christ and I finally gave Christ the control of my life He deserved.
I used to say that if I had the chance, I would change everything I did. What I've come to realize, is that if I hadn't gone through what I did, I wouldn't be in the place I am now with Christ. Sure I would much rather have happy memories of my younger years. But if having happy memories means I wouldn't be able to stand here today and tell you that I am now thankful for what happened, then I wouldn't change a thing.

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