Coming up on the women's retreat weekend, I was feeling a little conflicted. Two of my friends, who I look forward to rooming with every year weren't going. I have always enjoyed this time to spend with them- talking, worshipping, eating, learning together. But it was not going to happen. On the other hand, I was super excited for the speaker, Nina, she is a very dear friend from my growing up years whom I don't see very often anymore. So I signed up to go, and asked my sister, Sandy, and another friend, Anna, to room with me. It was a little hard leaving this time, since I had just returned from a weekend in San Diego with my two closest friends from high school, and I knew Ed was feeling a little overwhelmed being alone with the kids again. Also, we passed the one year anniversary of my dad's death the day after I returned from San Diego, and 2 days before I left again. I was still feeling a little shaken from all the emotions running through my mind. Yet, I was really looking forward to learning from Nina, and spending time with her.
The weather was absolutely the best I have ever seen. We always go to the same place- Harvey Cedars Bible Conference on LBI at the Jersey shore. Most years it is chilly, sometimes rainy- it is only the first weekend in May. But this year it was 85 and sunny, sunny, sunny! I really enjoyed my time with Sandy and Anna. We ate together, talked, laughed, and I was completely blessed by our time together. We just soaked in the sun and Nina's lectures.
It was absolutely the best lecture series of a retreat, in my memory. The theme was "Making straight paths in a crooked world". Nina wove in practical applications, was honest as she shared struggles from her own walk, challenged us in the way that we thought about Scripture, about our Shepherd. The best way to summarize all that Nina talked about is through a line from this song, that she shared with us,
"When my world is shaking
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands"
-JJ Heller and Katie Herzig
In so many ways my world has been shaken, starting about 8 years ago - my family, friendships, church family, basically, my life. This weekend was such a good reminder that I am in His hands. It is a long journey ahead in this crooked world of ours, He is with me, alive in me and lives through me so that I can bless others. I have a renewed desire to pursue a knowledge of Jesus, to be a woman who knows her Saviour well.
Here are some random pictures from our weekend:
Someone found this little turtle on the walk. I took him inside the last lecture, and he became very animated midway through, trying to crawl out of my pocket, across my notebook, down my legs. I released him, although I knew the kids would have loved to see him.