I recently attended a women's retreat with about 15 other ladies in Cimarron, NM. Most of them were from my church and others were from other churches in my town or from out of town. During the retreat I knew that I wanted to write about my time but I was almost speechless about this experience. It taught me so many things and the experience was amazing. I have thought a lot about this retreat and the lessons that God was teaching me, oh the lessons.
Our church has been going on this retreat for 4 years and every year I say that I am going to go but every year I come up with some reason that I can't. My girls have swim meets or we are going on vacation etc. This year was no different. My girls had a swim meet and I couldn't miss it because if I wasn't there then everything would fall apart. I know, I heard it. I have control issues. So two weeks before the ladies were leaving to go on this retreat, we had a very emotionally long week. I woke up one night at 2am, I don't wake up at night very often. While I was awake I remember God telling me that I needed to go to the retreat. I went back to bed but I couldn't go back to sleep. I just lied there thinking about how scary it is to go away without my kids or my husband and spend a weekend and room with someone that I barely knew. Flashbacks kept coming back from a similar situation that I had in high school and this high school situation was awful (until I let myself have fun and just relaxed). I knew that this is what was keeping me from going. I knew I had to go. The next morning I sent a text message to the coordinator of the retreat asking if I could still go (secretly hoping she would say no, it's to late, it's full) and she said "Sure! There is room. We'd love to have you go!" I talked to my husband and he so graciously said that he could take the girls to their swim meet and he would hold the fort down. Now I had to go!
I drove my suburban with one other girl close to my age and that was a blessing all on it's own. Getting to know someone that you don't know very well is what God had intended for us. People are a blessing. During the retreat we had 4 sessions of bible study, we worshipped, prayed, fellowshipped, ate, and we enjoyed the beauty of God's creation. One of my favorite afternoons of the retreat, I was sitting outside in a rocking chair by myself watching the rain on the mountain get closer and the temperature drop. As I was sitting there another lady joined me, and then another and then another. It started to rain and we sat, watched and smelled the rain as we chatted. As we sat there I was surrounded by ladies that I look up to, ladies that come to my mind when I think of Godly women. We sat and chatted about life and the wisdom and kindness around that table was incredible. I love "hanging out" with these women even if they are older than me. They make me want to be a better person.
There were a few more highlights of the weekend. One day we ate lunch in Cimarron at the St. James hotel and I bumped into an old friend that was in my youth group in high school and we graduated together. It had been years since I had seen her and there we were, at the same time, outside of an antique shop in Cimarron, NM. Another evening we had a sweet time sharing with each other around the fire pit and it blessed me so much listening to each of the ladies and their struggles and triumphs.
During our bible study time, the more sessions that we did, I could feel God speaking to me. He was speaking to me through His word and through songs. Every session that we did, the ladies became more comfortable with each other therefore the sessions became more intimate. The last session that we did was so emotional to me. I realized that God was telling me that not all burdens are mine to carry. Sometimes He does things that seem senseless to me but to Him there is a purpose. He told me that He is faithful in His promises and that He is there during the good times and during the bad times. He has a purpose and will work out the good in everything. I just need to cry out to God and let Him carry the burden that I am carrying because He already knows the outcome.
Song lyrics speak to me a ton. I love writing song lyrics down and using them in prayers and in worship. One song that we sang everyday is called "Same God" by Elevation Worship. The song talks about God being the God of Jacob, Mary, Moses and David and that we have the same giants, He rests upon the lowly, He opens up the ocean, that God's love will endure through generations and that He will keep His covenant. It spoke to me in a way that I realized that God is still the same God and that He still does these things for us. The song says that He answered prayers back then and He still does now, that He healed back then and He still does now, that He was providing back then and He still does now, that He moved in power back then and He still does now, that He was a savior back then and He still is now. The chorus says "O, God, my God I need You, O, God my God I need You now, how I need You now. O, Rock, O, Rock of ages, I'm standing on Your faithfulness, on Your faithfulness". At the end of the song it says "I'm calling on the Holy Spirit, Almighty River, come and fill me again, Come and fill me again, Come and fill me again." I have had this song in my head since then. I do need my God now and I am standing on His faithfulness. He is the same God that we read about in the Bible. He is the same God that we can trust and rely on. My prayer over the last few months has been for God to fill me again.
During this trip God spoke to me and I made new friends that I would have never had the pleasure of knowing. Being obedient to God, even when it is scary, is the best way. I always have to remember that He is faithful and that He would never steer me in the wrong direction. I will always be thankful for these ladies and this experience. And guess what...my family survived, the girls had a great time with their dad and they swam their hearts out at their swim meet.
Click here to listen to "Same God"