Looking Back at the Fall Delight Retreat

A few months ago, at this very moment, I was plugging in my laptop in a cozy little upstairs nook of a giant house and preparing to speak about the gospel, productivity, how those things relate, and why it matters. I was in the hills of Tennessee, pouring my heart out at the fall Delight Retreat.For those of who you have been following me for a while, you already know about Delight. I've written about it several times in the past, and it's been a huge part of my life for a long time. But for those of who you don't know, Delight & Be is a 501c3 non-profit organization for young Christian women pursuing the creative arts. It's made up of artists of every kind - from designers and chefs to photographers and songwriters. Twice a year, these young ladies gather together for a weekend of fellowship, friendship, worship, and education.

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In 2016, I was asked to help lead at the fall retreat, and I immediately knew it was exactly where I needed to be. In January, I led a photography intensive at the Delight House in Washington, which was hands-down a highlight of my year, and I knew the retreat would be another. The intensive in January was a small group of photographers, whereas there were about 60 of us gathered together at the retreat this fall.

It was an entirely different experience, but one that I was honored to be a part of.

I arrived on Thursday morning to help set up and welcome the girls as they began to arrive that afternoon. That night, we spent most of the evening hugging familiar faces and getting to know new ones. Most of the girls already had relationships with each other online, and it was really fun to put real faces with names and finally meet after months or even years of communicating online.

The next day, we had a devotional time followed by group sessions, breakout sessions, and a styled shoot led by the wonderful and talented Julie Paisley. On Saturday, Keary of Grace & Salt spoke, and the girls spent the entire day learning, shooting, and growing closer to Jesus and each other. On Sunday, we spent the entire afternoon photographing the girls all dressed up for a giant styled shoot, and it was SO amazing watching them use their talents to serve each other and build one another up.

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And ya'll. These girls are some of the most talented young creatives I've ever met.

These girls are literally the next generation of artists and leaders and educators, and many of them have more talent at 16 years old than I can even wrap my head around.

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But more importantly, these girls passionately love Jesus, and it was so apparent in the way they shared their hearts and sought to know Him better throughout the weekend. Each and every one of us walked into that retreat center on Thursday with our own set of problems and worries and struggles, but we also came with a desire to know God more and be with Him and other believers.

Honestly, that was the most beautiful part of the entire retreat: watching young ladies passionately pursue their Savior and spend time in community.

The Delight Retreat was a picture of the church coming together; a foreshadowing of what heaven is going to look like someday.

And it was an honor to be a part of that.

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Stephanie Nunley is a wedding photographer living in Northwest Arkansas with her handsome husband and her incredibly cuddly cat. Most days you can find her in leggings and an oversized sweater, chasing her dreams and serving others with reckless abandon. She believes Jesus is the answer every time, and is passionate about the gospel changing every aspect of our lives. View her work on the website or follow along on Instagram.