By Linda Ruth Paskell
This most recent New Life Women’s Retreat was the first one I have been to in over 20 years! Some things never change. The warm welcome, the creativity, the worship and teaching were all so reflective of the gospel warmth and hospitality that New Life has always been known for. The attention to detail, from the hand-crafted goodie bags that greeted us, to the closing circle of women sweetly singing the Doxology together, consistently set our gaze upon Jesus and brought glory to God in unique and original ways.
There were countless sweet moments with many dear sisters throughout the weekend. It was a joy to take time away from the responsibilities and demands of life, so that we could focus on genuine conversation and connections with one another without the usual distractions. For me, one of the highlights was the intimacy of our small group. There was something so lovely about a group of women who don’t necessarily know each other, being willing to come together, to engage in spiritual conversations and to be vulnerable with one another because of Who we know! We were able to learn a little bit of each other’s stories, and pray together. It was so refreshing and inspiring. This does not happen in the world. This was the Spirit of God.
The last time I “hung out” in a hotel bedroom with a bunch of gals sprawled out on a bed, in chairs and on the floor was in college! We were not reading Scripture nor were we discussing the things of God. This was much more enjoyable! It was fun. It was easy. It was real. We laughed. We had a few tears. We met with Jesus together. We were sisters from different backgrounds at different stages of our lives, yet we were able to listen to each other, come alongside one another and really enjoy one another’s company. This group of ladies became “home base” throughout the weekend as we reflected on the teachings and the challenges we all face in being still and finding quiet time with God. We were not alone in our struggles.
There is much more to say about this beautiful weekend, but in closing, I would like to thank all of the women who labored so diligently to provide us with this privileged opportunity of prioritizing time with the Lord. I believe God truly delights in seeing us relaxed and confident in Him! I am already looking forward to the retreat next year!