When Women Gather

This is what happens when women gather ...

We celebrate! And talk. A lot.
There's also food and a constant availability of coffee so that's a plus. I cannot even begin to tell you just how refreshing it was to gather with a group of women who were just wanting to be together. It was the vision of the planning committee to create a space that was comfortable and welcoming for stories to be told and received. Fortunately for us, the gifts and talents of strong women with ridiculously powerful God-centered stories are within our own congregation. As we gathered on Friday evening, after speed-meeting and an overload of brownies and gummy bears, two women faithfully shared how God turned their lives around. From drug addiction and the wreckage of control, to living in light of a redemptive God, they shared. Once one person allows the walls to come down from the protective barriers of ,"I must be alone in my sin and therefore need to seem outwardly fine", it's easier for others to let their walls drop. Amen? It just takes one to go first and we are so grateful for the obedience of these women to go first.
Saturday began with a workout that I, personally, was not prepared for but certainly brought us closer. Camaraderie, right? My quads are still on fire. Following the workout, we heard from Marriage and Family Therapist, Christy Maxson, on the importance of identifying mental health as a key component of your overall health. Christy offered many techniques to not only help identify issues we are likely to face, but also tools to utilize when we struggle. One of the tools she recommended was a book called, The Relationship Cure by John Gottman. I'll let you in on a little secret: my husband and I read through this with our counselor at one point and I'd highly recommend it, especially to evaluate your tendencies.

We then were blessed to hear from Mary Freer, a long-time Sierra Bible member, and how God brought her through the death of a son and her husband, while also providing her opportunities overseas to share the Good News of Jesus. Talk about giving your life away for the benefit of others!

Women divided and conquered the break out sessions on prayer and homesteading, which was so fun! I, personally, sat in on the homesteading session trying to learn all I can so I can convince my husband that we definitely need chickens and goats. Fingers crossed you guys, fingers crossed!

From the break out sessions, we walked out to the Promiseland lobby to find a taco salad bar lunch with all the delicious iced coffee and sweet goodies to fill you. What goes better with a full belly than a .... one-mile walk? Did you see that coming? Yep! A group of us then ventured out to the back property, led by Evalyn Levering, introducing us to the nearly finished one-mile walking trail ... the Mark Levering Memorial Walking Trail. You guys. Grab your tissues because it was the sweetest thing to see Ev leading the charge. Walking together was a favorite past time of theirs and what a privilege it is to honor his name in many ways, and now with the walking trail. 
Ending our time together, we gathered back in the Promiseland Chapel as a panel of wise and wonderfully beautiful women shared thoughts on this prompt: If I knew then what I know now. I know, right! Powerful. Even just in my late 30's, there are so many bits and chunks of wisdom or warning I'd give to my younger self. Like what, you ask? Oh friends, that's for another post :)

So, maybe you're wondering why we're sharing this and recapping it all for you. It's not to make you jealous ... but did it? Jokes. I'm sharing it because inside all of these individual and powerful stories that were shared is a much bigger story, right? It's a story we all get to be a part of. It's the story of God's good and perfect love for us and it is every reason to celebrate! 






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