Monday, March 18, 2013

What Is a Girlfriend Get-Away? This is how we roll.

Girlfriend Get-Away was a wonderful weekend away from reality to refuel, reconnect and restore. Any time you get a group of women together and God is present, it’s a good thing. There are tears. There is laughter. There is worship best of all.

Never in a million years would I have put this group of women together. It was an eclectic, unpretentious, unique group of women with one thing in common – we love God. That bond alone can overcome many issues.

When I started preparing for the weekend knowing that I would be telling women my favorite attributes, qualities or characteristics about God, I had my list ready. But the week before, God pointed out that while those were my favorites He wanted me to lead the women to discover what their favorites were. Then He showed me the qualities that He wanted me to bring to their attention. You see, it wasn’t about me and my love for Him at all. It was about Him. So Saturday morning after quiet time, I led the women through corporate prayer. What we praise God for and the reason we worship him are the reasons we love him. Corporate prayer time was amazing. When the praise goes up, the Spirit comes down. I love that about him. I reminded the women of the intimacy that God wants to have with us being the lover of our souls and how He works outside the box to reach us, to grow us, to deepen His relationship with us. He is an intimate God.

I had asked Stacy to share a favorite verse, and this was going to be outside her comfort zone, but she agreed saying it wasn’t about her. She was wanting to share Jeremiah 29:11, and no one will argue that this verse is wonderful, but God kept leading her to Lamentations 3. God’s loving kindnesses never cease. His compassion never fails and is new every morning for us. She pointed out that the Lord is our portion, and she discovered that her portion was her salvation (Psalm 73:26). She was led to verses 22-33 in Lamentations 3. He spoke to her about where she was in her life – in a waiting season. Verse 26 says to “wait silently” without complaining or whining. What she revealed spurred another woman who realized this was something she needed to dig into deeper on her own. What Stacy didn’t know was that God had led Sandra to that same verse for part of her time.

Sandra covered sanctification—what it means to be sanctified. She said we tend to be attracted to our opposites because they have strengths where we are weak. Her favorites about God were his mercy, his patience, his grace and his accessibility. One of her verses Deuteronomy 4:7 in the Message translations talks about what an intimate God we have and that He is not like any other god. Intimacy – this is not a fluke or coincidence. Neither was it a fluke or coincidence that God led her to Lamentations 3:22-33, nor was it a fluke or coincidence that God led her to choose God’s accessibility as one of her favorites.

Lori gave her favorite verse which was Psalm 121 – the whole chapter. Keep looking to the hills which is where our help comes from. She pointed out that God is always with us wanting to protect us and our strength. He is always accessible, and He knows us intimately.

What Sandra didn’t know was that Traci was led to speak on God’s accessibility to us. Traci gave some of her testimony about losing her spouse Tommy and the struggle she’s gone through, but that through it all, God was accessible to her even when all she could say was, “Please. Please. Please.” How the Spirit intercedes for us when all we can do is cry and groan. She pulled the verses Hebrews 10:19-23 not knowing that Sandra had chosen those verses too.

There were such good discussions during these Bible study times. I absolutely loved hearing these women talk about their love for our Savior, Jesus Christ.

There were two other ladies there that I’d like to mention. First was Tonya. I had met Tonya twice before, and the lady who had invited her had to back out because of a family commitment. Tonya came not really knowing anyone. She will tell you she was nervous, but God told her to come, and she obeyed. I admire her courage and her obedience. It would have been a completely different weekend had Tonya not been there. She is a riot!

And then there was Cris. Cris was so funny and didn’t even know it at times. Her words brought healing and encouragement. She really only knew me, and yet she came. This just amazes me.

At the end of this weekend, each of the women agreed it was a must. We have to do this again in the fall. We have to invite our girlfriends to come with us. Our goal is to fill two lodges with women – that’s 28 women. That is more than 3 times the number of women who were there this time, but we are trusting God to lay women on our hearts to invite. If you would like to come, please let me know. E-mail me, call me, text me – something. And if you get invited by one of these ladies, you need to know that God has laid your name on her heart and that she has prayed for you before she asked you, so you better think twice before turning her down. You won’t be turning her down. You’ll be turning God down because he obviously has a blessing for you that weekend, and you will miss it.

There was time to do our hobbies. There was time to take hikes. There was time to see the antique car show that was in the park. There was time to be alone. Our last night there the electricity went out. The whole camp was pitch black. Traci started a fire, and there was so much laughter and singing it was hysterical. Just to clarify, it wasn’t praise and worship songs. We got on a Ray Stephens tear and some other songs came from those. Like I said, we laughed, and we laughed a lot.

I praise God for being present. I praise God for sending each of those women. I praise God that they want to do this again. I praise God for the great weather. I praise God for the safe travel. I praise God that our families supported us and allowed us to have this time to reconnect, refuel, recharge and to get restoration.

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