Community Exists Through The Storms of Life

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Real Community Exists through the Storms of Life.jpg

For the past 6 weeks, my life has been topsy turvy and I’ve had little time to really capture it in writing. In reality, this  part of the story begins last September, when I received a call asking if I would lead the prayer sessions as Real Refreshment. Honestly, I was in shock. I love Real Refreshment and never in a million years would I ask for such an honor (or even consider myself worthy). That’s Elizabeth’s job. She’s the Prayer Warrior I desire to be. She walks beside Rachael Carman, who knows God’s word in and out, and fights battles no one knows exist with Zan Tyler.

Me? Who am I? I only wrote a little prayer journal to get Homeschool Moms focused on what’s most important in their homeschool. (and it isn’t academics).

So, I said Yes.

And God sent me on a journey that kept me on my knees.

You see my Mother-in-Love was diagnosed with leukemia 4 years ago. In January, she moved from chronic to acute stage and we drove to be with her as she began her chemotherapy treatments. That trip was a few weeks before Real Refreshment in Atlanta. As we drove, I asked my husband if I should call and tell them I needed to bow out.

His answer – “NO. You need to go. You always come back with a refreshed heart and this year, I know God has something special in store for you.”

So, I packed my bags the day before Real Refreshment in Atlanta, and enjoyed an evening with my children. During the night, my little guy had a tough night with a cold and slight fever. Still, my husband told me “I’ve got this, you go.”

And I went.

I was so blessed to be around other Moms who also needed to be refreshed, renewed and surrounded by others who are walking this journey with them.

I had my presentations ready, I had prayed and I knew God had everything under control. I knew I could not do this on my own and I even told Rachael – I was the last person she should have chosen… and you know what she did? SHE HUGGED ME!

Throughout the first day, I sat and talked with other Moms. I listened to the wisdom of the other speakers and I waited.

Rachael Carman introducting Rebecca Brandt for the prayer session at Real Refreshment Atlanta 2014.jpg

As I walked on stage and Rachael introduced to me she whispered ‘Rebecca, can I share a little about your story as I introduce you?’

Now, my heart was racing. That wasn’t part of my presentation. It wasn’t in the prayer. I knew that if she did – it really would be God because all of the prayer, etc would have to be changed.

“Yes”

And so, I stood in front of 100 women and shared. Some of those women knew me but never saw the story hiding behind the mask. They didn’t know the journey my husband and I had been on and as I shared, tears fell and my heart became more free than it has ever been. Through that freedom other Moms were able to be free. Many came to me and shared their own stories, their prayers and just a ‘thank you’ for being real – without complaining.

As the weekend ended, I decided to finally call home. The call was not a happy one. My Mother in law was not doing well and my heart became heavy.  So, I put on my clothes and walked down the hallway for breakfast. It was the most beautiful breakfast ever. We all sat there sharing, hugging and giggling. And then I had to share about the call.

“Just let us know and know that we will be praying for you”

And the call came we were praying would be delayed by a few months. We hopped in our car and traveled back to see my Mother in Law one last time before she walked into the arms of our Savior.

During the drive, I received messages and emails from friends I met in Atlanta and from those I was supposed to meet in Baltimore. Their prayers, love and desire for us to make it in time and know we were and are loved was overwhelming.

What I learned this year at Real Refreshment is there is a beauty found in the hearts Moms who are real and yet accountable to God for their words and their actions. I learned the beauty of not complaining but sitting at the cross and knowing that God is in control of our lives.

I learned that real community doesn’t begin when you enter a door and end when you leave it. Real Community exists no matter where those doors are. Real Community exists through the joys and storms of life. Only time and distance can keep us apart, but the heart of Real Refreshment is to grow a community of women whose strength shines the beauty and grace of Christ that is so bright the world knows – we are the women raising a generation of children for the glory of God.

This is a real community that shares laughter and tears. It’s a community I am blessed to have been a part of for 3 years and I can’t wait to see how God uses it in my life and the life of my friends for however many years He grants me the privilege to enjoy it.

Even now, as I sit here trying to fully comprehend the fact that a woman I have loved for over 20 years is no longer here, I am overwhelmed by the love and genuine concern my Real Refreshment friends have for me….

Will you join us?

 

**Photo of Rachael Carman and Rebecca Brandt courtesy of RealRefreshment.com
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Comments

  1. Rebecca your words blessed me so much that weekend at RR more than you know and more than I could tell you with my words. I love the light of God that shines through you. Praying for you always my sweet friend!

    • Well, I’m still praying for you, LaToya. You are a very special friend and one day, we will get rid of this issue with chocolate!

  2. Oh friend! I’m so sorry for your loss, but so blessed by your testimony! RR sounds like a fantastic retreat. :)