Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” — Matthew 11:28
So I did a thing…
I spontaneously registered for a women’s retreat in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It was being hosted by Esther’s Daughters, Inc. One of my sisters in Christ informed me of the event after I expressed the desire to attend a retreat (without my family) before 2022 was over.
I knew my going would be a sacrifice in THREE areas:
1. Financial – Who isn’t on a budget these days? Inflation, gas prices, etc. almost stopped me in my tracks.
2. Time – Meshing schedules with my husband was no easy task. He ended up canceling and rearranging some things on his agenda.
3. Emotional Ties – My little one has never been away from me for more than 24 – 30 hours and cried on more than one occasion at the news of my getaway.
The week leading up to the retreat, I felt SO TIRED and CRABBY. And then I considered canceling when doubt crept in. What if the retreat didn’t make a difference in my life? What if my family needs me more? What if? What if? And more “What If’s?” filled my mind.
And then God stepped into my swirling thoughts. He reminded me that He provided this open door, at the right time, for me to #rest and it would be up to me to receive this beautiful gift. I had a choice… Because if Jesus himself took moments to “retreat and rest” in His earthly ministry, who was I to question the notion of doing so as well?
It was very early in the morning and still dark. Jesus got up and left the house. He went to a place where he could be alone. There he prayed.Mark 1:35
And so I talked to God and He gave me insight as to how He was going to meet me individually, but most importantly corporately among the other women who attended. I packed my bags, filled my gas tank, and made my way up to the mountains for the next 48 hours.
It was a 2.5 hour drive and SUPER FUN as I rode with the sister in Christ who told me about the retreat. We talked, worshiped, and stopped at Wings and a Prayer in Pocono Mountains before we arrived at the lodging house. NOTE: my buffalo wings were AMAZING!!!!
We took our time – which is something I’m prevented from doing sometimes when I’m coordinating multiple things throughout the week: work duties, my daughter and husband’s summer schedule, household responsibilities, family time, etc.
The slower pace felt good…
The ambiance of the lodging house property was extremely peaceful with a water brook and plenty of seating to soak in all of the mountain beauty. I had roommates and all of the women were friendly and welcoming. One of my roommates prayed with me on the first night (as she was led by God to do so). I rested well that night and was ready for an early morning walk the next day (Saturday). We had three impactful sessions (based on Genesis 3) and a time to worship that invoked vulnerability and a desire to be transformed by a gracious God. I cried SO MUCH (happy, cleansing tears) and was ministered to by some amazing Bible Teachers and Leaders. The power of God moved MIGHTILY in our unified group and I was completely “undone” in order for God to “make me over again” in His Word and Presence.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.Psalm 133: 1-3
We ended Sunday with games and a sermon (based on Genesis 3) rendered by an amazing woman, wife, mom, and Bible Teacher who poured into us in a way that I will NEVER forget. God, His Word, and the Holy Spirit met me right where I was in my seat and I am SO GRATEFUL.
Returning home was bitter sweet, but at least I got to do so with not only ONE but TWO sisters in Christ on the drive home. And yes, we stopped at Wings and a Prayer again for lunch, laughter, and fellowship.
I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story…