I’M NOT ENTIRELY SURE WHAT I WAS THINKING WHEN I TOLD VIRGINIA CRAIG I WOULD ATTEND THE NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN WOMEN’S CONFERENCEAT WARM BEACH THIS WEEKEND.

The timing wasn’t exactly the most convenient, as the conference fell over a weekend that was just 3 days before I have to leave town for the Christian Women in Medianational convention where I’ll be moderating the panel on “Building Your Brand.

I packed up to go, leaving for the conference center on Friday morning… yes another day away from the office and my overwhelming “to do” list that continued to loom over me. I would be returning to two days back in the office before leaving for Dallas. Was I crazy? How could I gain anything at all from this weekend with so much still left to do?

Well, what can I say? I’m always talking about how faithful God is and how He can be trusted. He proved it once again. This was a retreat that’s been going for over 30 years. 35+ smaller churches from around the northwest region come together for a weekend of worship, solid teaching, fellowship, and encouragement—along with some fun and relaxation. Virginia had told me what a treasure the retreat was and I was intrigued to go and see if this might be something the women of The Summit could attend in the future.

thought I was going to check it out for the church. As a new pastor’s wife, I certainly feel a responsibility to do my due diligence before making a recommendation for the flock my husband oversees. And I came away blessed to have watched God doing something special in the lives of many women.

But as the weekend progressed, I knew He was working something new in my heart. The theme was “FLOURISH” and it was really something to ponder for me. I am flourishing in so many areas of my life, as the Lord continues to redeem it and restore all that was so tragically lost. But flourishing for me this weekend meant just being one of the 230 women who gathered to be fed and encouraged, and/or to be a blessing to others.

I wasn’t in charge, I wasn’t on stage, I wasn’t speaking or teaching, I wasn’t leading a group of women, I wasn’t blogging, I wasn’t on assignment, I wasn’t looking for authors, I wasn’t on the lookout for God to do something that I could share on Facebook to encourage others. I was there to be refreshed. To be out of the “pastoral life fishbowl” for a moment. To receive. To just BE.

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8

That was the scripture for the conference.  And I flourished this weekend in the house of God with women I’d never met before, and may never see again this side of heaven. But it was sweet. And it was encouraging. And it strengthened me for the days ahead.

I REALLY NEEDED THIS.

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