In my last blog (check it out if you haven’t read it), I mentioned I would be attending a women’s retreat over the weekend. I was nervous, anxious and dreading parts of it. On the other hand, I knew this was where I needed to be, I was going to meet some amazing ladies and God was going to do mighty, great things.
God never fails. He was 100% present the whole weekend. (And always will be!) I did meet some amazing ladies and deepened relationships. As the weekend progressed people were where they needed to be at that moment, they heard just the right thing at the right moment, swallowed up in hugs, and drank in the wisdom of others at just the right time. All through that, God weaved himself in every person, every conversation, every hug and every tear. (We need to buy stock in Puffs!!) It’s one of those times where we are shocked at God’s power and presence. When really, it should be anticipation of His mighty power and grace. An, “Oooo, I can’t wait to see what He does!!”
By Saturday afternoon I was feeling the affects of the late nights, lack of sleep, spiritual growth and emotional drain. I was close to my, “I’m tired and want to go home, hard to be nice to others,” attitude! That evening we ventured out on a little hayride. We stopped in the middle of the ride and sang a few songs. A couple of them were hymns that I grew up on and knew well. (All 10 verses!! haha) At this point, I’m pretty emotionally drained. The 2 hymns we sang were ones I knew. Shouldn’t have been a problem. But I was on the struggle bus! Mark (my late husband) and my father (also in heaven) loved to sing. They both had beautiful voices, loved to harmonize and loved the hymns. During both hymns I could hear them harmonizing and singing along. I was glad it was nighttime and it was dark, because the tears were flowing! (Again, need to buy stock in Puffs!) Nobody noticed and that was ok with me. Again, I was on the verge of not being able to be nice! We wrapped it up, loaded back up and finished our hayride. But the singing wasn’t over yet! Thankfully, they chose fast, fun, church camp songs to sing. Me, not in the mood to sing, sat and listened. My friend sitting next to me was really getting into the songs! (Even just thinking about it brings a smile to my face!) She belted out the lines, at the top of her lungs, as she leaned her head back for all the world to hear! I loved it. Her letting loose and yelling out the song brought laughter and joy to my drained heart and soul. It was God using her to fill me back up with laughter and joy. Just what I needed at that moment! God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.
Our theme verse for the weekend was Joshua 1:9. “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
All the ladies who attended, I believe, lived and breathed this verse the entire weekend. We all had to be strong and courageous to be vulnerable and let others in. We all had to put aside fear and discouragement so God could fill us up with His love, comfort and peace. We all experienced His promise that He is with us wherever we go.
We laughed and cried, hugged and prayed, sang and ate….. and ate some more. Through it all, His presence, love, comfort and peace overflowed each and every one of us.
Sunday afternoon rolled around and we had to go back to reality, back to living our everyday lives, back to the routine of life. As we do so, I encourage everyone to hang on to our mountain top experience. Lean into God’s presence. Go boldly where He is calling you to go. Find your laughter and joy in the midst of your storm. And by golly, let loose and belt out, at the top of your lungs, His praises! (My hayrides will never be the same without her! LOL)
I dedicate this post to the girls I had the honor of spending the weekend with. We are forgiven, We are worthy. We are loved. We are sisters in Christ.
Thanks for sharing a moment with me. We are in this together in Him.