The Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Lipscomb university for the last three years has divided men and women for one evening in February to dig deeper into the topics that men and women face in relationships. They have playfully named the evenings, Galentines for the ladies, and Man Time for the men. Today’s blog is going to share a bit more about Galentines and how it was designed to share a new perspective on beauty, and understanding the power of God’s redeeming love.
On February 23, the Lipscomb women headed to Doris Swang chapel to enjoy an evening offering hope, and encouragement. Through several testimonies and a time of fellowship, students learned about finding their beauty in Christ. The Director of Women’s Spiritual Formation in Athletics and event creator, Shannon O’Brien said,
“This year’s Galentine’s is exposing how words & actions have shaped our value both in compliments and criticism; and to come away from this evening ultimately knowing that we are beautiful in Jesus and that He can restore & redeem the darkest of situations. For girls, Valentine’s Day obviously has such a stigma about love, kisses, hugs and boys…particularly them being ‘Prince Charming’ and being chosen by them. I just think it’s really important for women to come together and know that they’re chosen & loved by Jesus.”
The night’s speaker, Kate Hughes, shared very candidly her own story of brokenness and rejection as a teenager that eventually led to redemption as she met Christ in college. Kate shared about her personal journey of shutting off and going with the flow of life. She shared that as she shut up, she shut down.
“No one knew what was going on inside of me. It wasn’t like The Little Mermaid that I’d watched on repeat growing up. I was hiding behind a smile really.” (Kate Hughes)
During the evening, Kate provided an opportunity for the girls attending to answer a few guided questions and then share a bit of their story with a couple of people sitting near them.
Shannon O’Brien said she hopes that beyond the cookies, chocolate-dipped fruit and chapel credit the evening offers, students would go away with a sense of encouragement and hope.
“If [they have] something that they’ve kept really quiet and felt like they’ve had to hide, I hope this gives them the courage to speak up and know that God can redeem them from any shame.” (Shannon O’Brien)
Junior Brooke Gordon said she felt that Kate Hughes’ story provided her with a genuine perspective that she had not heard before.
“I thought it was encouraging to see a face to vulnerability, because as Christians, we often hear that as a concept and to see how you can share about redemption through vulnerability was helpful.” (Brooke Gordon)
At the end of the evening, speaker Kate Hughes encouraged students to find a support system of friends, mentors, professors and counselors, like she did, as they navigate through college.
“I know there’s many stories in the room and I beckon you to let people in, I know that the love of God wants to get in.” (Kate Hughes)
Shannon O’Brien wrapped up the evening by reiterating Kate Hughes’ message and the importance of sharing our stories. Shannon said,
“The very things in life that are “crap,” when “life hits the fan” are stinky and messy; we need someone who can help us navigate out of that. Thankfully we have Savior named Jesus that can redeem and restore what is lost and broken. God grows flowers out of manure. Image what He can grow out of the manure in our life! We need counselors, and mentors to help us till the soil, and allow the opportunity for God to grow beautiful things out of our lives most stinkiest of situations.” (Shannon O’Brien)
Kate Hughes is now a counselor herself at Sage Hill in Nashville. Her heart is to help people process what life throws at them, and in turn find freedom and courage to press on in their lives victoriously. To learn more about Sage Hill Counseling: http://sagehillcounseling.com/ Or to learn more about Kate and her work, visit: Kate Hughes, Sage Hill Counseling Center
Additionally, Lipscomb University students can visit the University Counseling Center (UCC, located in the basement of Elam) for free appointments on weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. To schedule, go to http://www.lipscomb.edu/counselingcenter/request-appointmentor call the front desk at 615-966-6294.
“The most difficult of situations in our life, can become the richest soil for God to grow incredible things from them.” (Ian Morgan Cron)
“You Make Beautiful Things” by Gungor, watch & listen:
(Stay tuned for the Men’s “Man Time” recap in our next blog post.)
Original story written by Katie Bianchini, Junior Track & XC Runner; (story adapted and edited by Lipscomb Spiritual Formation) from Katie’s original post on Illumination Network.