Rae* was my hair stylist and we lost touch. Last year we reconnected at the World Impact Women’s Retreat. Since then we have had the beautiful privilege of spending time together. We have spent time building our friendship, she has come over to my place and cut my hair, and this year she brought friends to the Women’s Retreat with her!
There is something special that happens around the dinner table. I watched this with Rae and her friends the first night of the retreat. As we sat together over a meal, I was overwhelmed by their joy. They were filled with laughter, hope and the love of Christ. I realize that if you do not know their background, this is not a surprise to you. Women at a women’s retreat are joyful? Of course! But this particular group of women are all recovering addicts. They have lived hard lives filled with hurt and brokenness and darkness. When Christ broke through their lives changed so drastically that hope and joy and peace are what they are now known for.
I had one meal with these ladies and their love for each other was so genuine. They shared real concerns and points of insecurity. There was no commiserating or wallowing in these issues, instead they spoke truth into each others’ lives. I was filled with awe. One meal with them and I was convicted about the way I love my friends, the way I complain instead of choosing truth. Rae and her friends reminded me that I need to choose joy even in the hard times.
Rae is now a friend. I cannot imagine a better person to teach me about joy. It was great spending time that weekend with her, more than an hour here or there. This year I was one of the speakers and I could see her beaming, she was so excited to hear me talk about the Gospel. She cheered me on and encouraged me after! I am so grateful that the Lord has placed her in my life. I am also grateful for the women’s retreats—it’s a time away from the city for women to bond and see Christ active in their sisters’ lives. Please pray for Rae as she and her husband continue to serve Jesus in the local church.
*Name changed for privacy.