Be united with other Christians. A wall with loose bricks is not good. The bricks must be cemented together.
Corrie Ten Boom
Many years have passed since the days of fearing I might be institutionalized in one of those big brick houses on the edge of town where I lived. And much healing has taken place in my life since then.
One of the dreams the Ruby Buckle team had was the hope of hosting retreats. Eight months after the first packages of cards and gift bags were sold, we were inhabiting a big brick retreat house just 40 miles east and a handful of blocks north of the very same highway as the state hospital I once feared.
We crossed the threshold of the retreat house with much joy and great expectation. I didn’t head in there alone or afraid. I was united with a team of fellow Christians that share the same passion and love for women’s ministry, prayer and discipleship. We were cemented together with hearts united and covered by the prayers of so many who love us!
There are 18 beds in the historic house, built in 1907, and it was our hope when the plans were being established that it would be filled. Friends both old and new, traveling from as near as down the road and from as far as the Netherlands, joined us for the weekend. Every room was occupied.
We arrived with open hearts, our copy of The Holy Spirit Book by Roy Lessin, and our Bibles in hand. A few photographs were captured on the front porch, and we were seated at the tables for our “Hopeless Romantic” dinner party.
It has been said that laughter and tears are the warp and woof of life. Many who joined us had journeyed through deep waters in the days and months leading up to our gathering, and some of us had been shedding tears along the way. We kept tissues nearby that weekend, because a few more tears were shed as life stories were courageously told and prayer needs were honestly shared.
Tears are the material out of which heaven weaves its brightest rainbow.
We laughed and cried together and left there with some new friends and closer relationships with the old ones, because the Spirit of the Lord was there with us. We dug into God’s word together and some dirt as well – potting soil composed of peat moss and vermiculite for growing lush plants. In addition to leaving our gathering with hearts and souls refreshed, we each left with our own Chinese Coin plant to water, nurture and grow.
We also committed to sharing faith, hope and love via handwritten notes with women that we love and hold dear, trusting that God will bring fruit from words of love and encouragement shared.
I will be forever grateful for my friends who made this dream become a reality. Meg, who runs the workshop where our production takes place. Danielle, who partnered with me in prayer and shared her God-given teaching gift to bless us all. Suzanne and Judy, for serving as chef and sous-chef and blessing us with beautiful food at every meal. Amy, Joy, Jessica and Geri for being our “angel captains” and leading small group discussion and prayer times. And each and every person who joined us!
I’ll close with some beautiful words from “The Ploughman’s Rest” a blog written by Chris Thomas, that we challenged each other to contemplate at the close of our gathering:
The year in front of you is filled with mysterious wonder. What will it hold? What can be accomplished in the garden where God makes fruit grow? What can be built for the kingdom on the foundation of Christ? What depths can be experienced in your friendship with the Father? Who can you learn from and grow in grace with? Who can you embrace and invite to follow you as you follow Jesus?