Life gets hectic and filled with stress from every angle. It wears on you after a while. That's why when you CAN get apart for a time of rest and relaxation, it is not being lazy, it is being good to your body, your mind and your soul.
God has graciously blessed me with the most magnificent treasure. I know I've mentioned it here before, but it is a special group of friends that we affectionately call Divine Divas. For most of us, our friendship dates back 30+ years! We have a shared history of church fellowship, watching our children grow up...go off to college...get married...and have babies! We have been there hosting the showers and been there when parents have been buried. We have laughed together and cried together. We have agonized for each other in prayer. We have a bond that cannot be broken and the tie that binds us together is the Lord Jesus Christ.
I had the privilege this weekend of being with 7 of these precious women. Oh what a joy and delight it was. With the backdrop of a beautiful lakehouse and a setting that only God could orchestrate, it was a perfect weekend. We all needed rest and we all needed time alone with the Lord. It was a laid back weekend filled with lots of hours of sitting on the deck overlooking the lake talking. Now for you men, that will be hard to comprehend how you could talk for HOURS! But believe me when I say, we had no problem! My husband thought we were going to scrapbook. When I told him this was not a scrapbook weekend, he curiously asked me "Well, then what are you going to do for 4 days!!?" I said, "Talk, eat and sleep". He just shook his head, unable to figure out how we could possibly find something to talk about for FOUR days! But we did and we were still talking as the last of us pulled out of the driveway!
Laughter is good for the soul and laugh we did. That is one of the joys of a shared history...you have so much to call upon. We reminisced and relived old memories. But we also had plenty of current material to keep us in stitches too.
I arrived in a state of complete stress and agitation after having wasted hours trying to complete a project to share with them that just would not come together. I was still fuming when I arrived and one of my dear friends sweetly told me her husband (the aforementioned Bible study leader) always used to tell her "Just let it go". Somehow that phrase kept being repeated all weekend and became our theme....JUST LET IT GO!!!!!!!! So "let it go" I did. I went to the dock, stretched out on my back and just let the Lord wash all over me. Still and quiet, gently rocking from the waves, just looking up into the blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds. Aaaaaahhhhh...there is nothing quite like it!
In addition to time spent sharing and enjoying delicious meals and plenty of CHOCOLATE (women HAVE to have chocolate or the event is not complete), we also found time alone with the Lord. My heart was so warmed as I would come into the main room and see these women absorbed in Bible study or a devotional or just reading the Word. It was not planned. Just one by one as they would come down from getting dressed for the day, they would grab their Bible or devotional book and get a spot to be alone. Some were curled up by the fire. Others were scattered along the deck outside, wrapped up in afghans. But it was a precious site for it reminded me that this was not just an ordinary retreat. These were all my sisters in Christ, bound by a tie stronger than history...we are bound by a third cord...Jesus. And that is what makes it So very special.
Before we left, as we always do, we spent time together in prayer, lifting each other up to the Lord, then closed by singing Bless Be the Tie That Binds.
What we have is rare. We talk about it often. It is rare for people in this transient society we live in to maintain a friendship for a few years, let alone for decades. It is rare for friends to really bond and spend the time together we do. We meet monthly for dinner and again one day a month with our grandchildren for Grandmothers' Day. I guess you could say we work at this thing called friendship. It is like a delicate flower that must be tended and nurtured for it to flourish. But we cherish what we have and we do not take it for granted. It is a blessing beyond compare.