You know the old saying “The best laid plans…”? Well, God has His own plan and it always, without fail, turns out to be the right one. After many months of planning for the Ladies Annual Retreat we, Barb, Bridget and I, arrived at Sandy Cove the weekend of March 5-7 full of anticipation and excitement. We had decided to try some new things and were eager to see if they would work and how they would be received. And I think we were even a little worried that we had somehow forgotten something. As the ladies began to arrive, there were the sounds of welcoming those we’d just seen at church the previous Sunday as well as the squeals of delight at being reunited with those who we hadn’t seen since the last retreat.
There was an excitement in the air at the prospect of sharing a weekend away from home… eating meals we didn’t have to cook, sleeping in beds we wouldn’t have to make and laughing at jokes that only we would get. But all those things, while good, are not the real reason we make that two hour trip up 95 on a Friday afternoon. And maybe I speak only for myself, but at the heart of it what I was really wondering was “What does God have in store for us this weekend?” and “How will He make Himself known to us in a new way?”
For those women of Reston Bible Church who have sat under sound biblical teaching for, well, forever, most of us entered the weekend titled “Love, Loss and Legacy” (centering around the story of Ruth) with our own knowledge and opinions. After all, it is of one of the great love stories in the Bible. What we didn’t anticipate is how the story would change us all individually and so differently. I’m not sure any one of us could have been prepared for all that God would bring to light through Kelly’s study and teaching. Each lady who attended came away with a view of that amazing story through a new lens. Some of us may have learned a hard lesson about forgiveness, others about loyalty, still others about how to just be still and simply hear from God and let Him guide our paths. I truly believe that every lady came away with a changed point of view about those three women in Ruth who began a journey and the paths they each chose.
As we watched the weekend unfold, we saw God use the plans we’d made in ways we couldn’t even have imagined as well as bring some surprises of His own. At first we may have resisted some of those, but as we watched God work, I believe one thing we all walked away with from that weekend was a greater sense of awe for the God we serve… and we could all use a lot more awe.