We have a special post for you today all about our time at the Connect marriage retreat! The Connect Retreat is for couples who are both in business either for themselves, or together, but we quickly found out it was MUCH more about our marriage than our business! #refreshing. We started following Zach and Jody Gray about 3 years ago when we first started our business. They are amazing photographers, educators, and mentors in the photography industry, and their love for others is just incredible. We are so thankful they started this retreat, and followed the vision the Lord gave them to see other marriages thrive. This retreat was life changing for us!
The Winshape Retreat Center
Connect is held at the beautiful Winshape Retreat Center in Rome, GA. The Winshape is like a little slice of heaven on earth, even staff there makes you feel like you’re living in the Truman Show- everyone is so nice it almost seems unreal! Driving up to the Winshape is like going back in time. There are huge trees, historical buildings, and churches greeting you upon arrival. The Winshape is located in the heart of Berry College, the largest college campus in the world, sitting on 27,000 acres of pristine land!! The buildings of Winshape were converted from the campus’s working dairy farm to the beautiful pearl white and red buildings you see today, after being purchased by Chick Fil A. It is the perfect place to get away and reconnect with your spouse! I was able to enjoy the Winshape last month for the Pursuit Conference, and I couldn’t wait to be back with Devin! It was SO refreshing for us to disconnect from everything in order to reconnect with each other! It’s rare for us to go a week without wifi and television 😉
The Connect Retreat Speakers
We had the privilege to hear from so many amazing speakers during Connect! Zach and Jody Gray , Nathan and Jenni Oates, Katelyn James and Michael, Jordan and Amy Demos, and Jeff and Julia Wood were all phenomenal and had so many amazing things to say about marriage and overcoming trials that are inevitable. They didn’t just talk about the surface level trials- they talked about the deep, rooted issues that we all deal with – because we’re human- and how to recognize them in our lives, and push past them as a team. It was inspiring getting to hear from so many couples that we look up to not only as photographers and business owners, but as people who genuinely care about others. These couples have walked through some of the deepest, darkest struggles and they were real and vulnerable with us. That’s what made this conference so special- we weren’t hearing from them as the leaders in the industry. We were hearing from them as people who have leaned into the Lord and each other during the hurt and the struggle and the pain, and they are stronger because of it. The music was led by Tim and Stephanie of CopperLily. They are amazing musicians and we had the joy and privilege of getting to know them during our small group times.
Our Small Group
Small group time was definitely one of the highlights of our time at Connect! Led by the dynamic duo Jordan and Amy Demos. They are just as legit in person as you see! They did an incredible job facilitating the conversation and making us really feel valued and heard! Their vulnerability allowed for the group to take the conversation deeper than we could have thought and brought us closer than we could imagine. We became amazing friends and feel like family. We are so thankful we were able to get to know other couples by sharing about how the Lord has been working in our marriages and businesses. The main talk of the day was a catalyst for small group discussion, and we realized we weren’t the only ones struggling with insecurities, shame, fear, and control. We were able to get to know others on such a deeper level and it was so restorative to be able to encourage each other and speak life and truth into one another’s lives. Our group had Tim & Stephanie from CopperLily and Michael & Jenna from The Beards Photography! We couldn’t have dreamed of a better group. Seriously, we were all in different places in our marriage but God perfectly put us together to build great friendships and encourage each other to walk through all types of things together. We are so thankful for our small group!
We also had the opportunity to get our pictures done, and take pictures of, the INCREDIBLE Matt and Carissa Kennedy. They are leading educators within the industry that we have learned so much from as we navigate owning a business. It was truly an honor to be able to capture the love between Matt and Carissa.
We can’t wait until next year!!