It was an unforgettable scene as 135 women gathered on the beach of Inspiration Lake, surrounded by the staggering beauty at Rockridge Canyon, to witness a Holy Spirit moment. There could not have been a more beautiful way to end a retreat that was so meaningful than to come together to cheer on the four women who had decided to follow Jesus in the waters of baptism. As they told their stories earlier in the morning, we laughed and cried. God had moved in their lives as He had in each of ours. With outstretched arms we collectively committed to praying for them as sisters in Christ before we headed home. Our hearts were full. God had truly moved in our midst.
It was really what this weekend was all about. There was a resounding theme in our services – that God is at work in each of our stories. Throughout all our services we felt the Lord tugging at our hearts as one by one women of different ages, and seasons of life came forward to share the story that God has given them, and we saw how He is at work in each of our lives. Some women faced grief, others the overwhelming burden of fractured families, some had walked through seasons of rebellion and others the pressures of motherhood and marriage – and yet there He was…beautifully threading the tapestry of His love though every women’s story - giving every story a greater purpose.
Some of the most meaningful moments were in the times of laughter around the tables at meals, the singing around the campfire, and the sheer craziness of our “sixties” banquet. We laughed until we cried as we realized how we long for relationship, we long for community and the opportunity to connect with one another in a place that is removed from the busyness of our day to day lives. We gave ourselves permission to pause and rest - whether that was an afternoon with meaningful conversations around a table, a walk in the rain with a friend, or a ride down the zipline. It was good to just be together.
We were reminded of the verse that this retreat was birthed out of in Matthew 5:14 where Jesus says,” You are the light of the world”. Every single one of us drove away from this weekend with a renewed assurance that was reflected as we read through Psalm 23, we have a great Shepherd. That He is the one leading us and guiding us through all the circumstances of our lives. And our lives will shine brightly when we live out of the confidence of trusting in, and walking with, our Shepherd.
Yes- it was good to get away. We need each other and we all need more times of retreat in our lives where we simply pause and focus our gaze on Him. He truly is the one who restores our soul.