It is amazing how quickly a Mom can be refreshed and renewed when surrounded by other Moms walking a similar path. To me, that proof identifies a truth in this life that can be easily missed – we are made for fellowship.
Two weekends ago, I was blessed by Apologia Real Refreshment. They provided me with hotel accommodations and a ticket to their Atlanta Real Refreshment Retreat. This was the second year they shared this event with me. Both years, I walked away with many thoughts, ideas – and a few convictions. It’s all good for the soul, right. At least for me, I have never walked away from anything that was truly good without some knowledge of areas God wanted to work on.
Both years, I had the amazing privilege to attend with friends who are local (because I am from the area), friends I know around the nation (through my blog) and new friends I met while I was there. Last year, I did not venture out of my ‘circle’ a lot. This year, I made it my priority to get out and meet other Moms – to sit, learn about their lives, pray with and for them – and I can not tell you what a blessing it was!
Yes, I am from the Atlanta area. Well, that’s where I live right now. Because of that, I could relate to many things women at the event were talking about. Local weather, politics, etc. That was such a blessing. To sit and surround myself with new friends in the area that I may not have had a chance to meet otherwise.
One Mom I met was not from the area. She and her sister live in different parts of the country. And – their story was one that I will never forget and I pray God will help me stay in contact with them. These two sisters had a story of love and fellowship that I pray we can all have. One is walking a difficult path. She is watching her sweet little child move from this life to the eternal life we are all born to live. Her sister invited her to Real Refreshment and paid for all of her expenses. As we sat and talked, the love these two share was so evident. It was beautiful to sit, cry and just hear how they wanted to travel this journey of life together.
That resonated with me throughout the weekend. As I sat next to Sisters in Christ and we listened to the speakers share their failures and successes, I was moved. Each person who spoke, sang or prayed for us did not pretend to be a perfect Mom or Wife. They spoke authentic truth.
I shed many tears that weekend – while raising hands and singing along with Anne MacCallum, praying with Elizabeth Smith and Rachael Carman, listening to the (not so but really is ) Ultimate Mom Deb Bell, the ever -ready Zan Tyler, and my new friend Sherri Seligson (who gets to swim with dolphins – sigh!)
Yes, I loved every moment. The moments where I wanted to crawl under the table because I just knew all of these speakers have cameras in my home and they were sharing every bad thing I have ever done as a Mother and a friend and the moments where hands were raised high praising the King…or heads bowed low with tears falling as we sat and prayed at the cross.
It was a great weekend. It was one filled with truth, grace, mercy and sprinkled with a little salt. I came home with a list of prayers to raise up to God. Prayers for others and prayers for me. I love that I also came home with a prayer journal I was able to make the first night. It’s one thing I love – it costs me little – except the time it takes to sit at the cross, hand over my life and become the Mom and Wife God created me to be.
I hope you’ll join me and other Moms next year. And – if you want a sneak peak between now and then, you can catch some of these amazing speakers at the Teach Them Diligently Marketplace Conferences this summer! They will be at those events sharing some special encouragement for Homeschool Moms and giving you a small taste of their Real Refreshment Retreats.
All in all, God did not just use one Mom to help change my life – but many. The pictures above can’t truly capture the love and beauty I felt during the weekend, but I pray they give you glimpse.