On May 7-8th a group of 45 women met for a retreat at the Berlin Encore Hotel in Millersburg. Weekends like these are some of my favorite types of events! I enjoy being able to get away and have a break from my normal routine and having extra time set aside to spend with the Lord. Also, the opportunity to get to know the women in our church better is priceless for me. Having not grown up at Bethany I’m still working on getting to know everybody in the church and Sundays aren’t always the best time for me to do that. I’m sure you’ve seen me or my husband chasing a toddler down the halls or holding a crying baby (or toddler...let’s be real...most of the time it’s the toddler). Everybody is tired and hungry after church. So like I said, events like this are priceless for me! Without this retreat, I might have never found out that Krista Beachy is literally the fastest Dutch Blitz player I’ve ever seen. Or that Rachel Lapp is hilarious and has an incredible life story to share. When would I have found out that Heather Schloneger dyes her own paper with fruit and other natural things? Or what about how Helen McMullen can manage to go a weekend without her comb and still look as flawless as usual? Time spent together outside of Sunday mornings is so valuable to me! Here are a few things I took away from the weekend in Millersburg. Ang Schlabach challenged us to “meditate on miracles instead of musing on the messes.” We can be quick to think about our problems and situations that are stressing us out instead of remembering who God is and what He has done. Both Psalm 77 and Lamentations 3 both start out with lament but then midway through the chapters the authors switch gears to remember the great things God has done and how amazing and holy God is.
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
Lamentations 3: 19-24 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
One great way to remember God’s miracles and faithfulness is through journaling. Heather shared some ideas on how we can journal not only with words but with other objects that we can cut and paste into our journal to remember specific days or events. For example, at the retreat we had the lyrics for the songs we sang together printed out so she gave the idea to cut out some song lyrics and glue them in our journal. This is something that I used to do often when I lived overseas but over time I’ve forgotten about it. I used to glue bus tickets, photos, and other keepsakes into my journal. When I look back on those journals it takes me back to those places in a more vivid way than a million words could. If you’re needing to mix things up with journaling I would recommend trying it!