Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Friendship and Fellowship

Last Friday afternoon I drove through the hilly roads of Western PA to a retreat house tucked away at the top of a very special and hard to reach mountain (this year it was especially hard to reach due to some crazy detours!) However, once I got there, I was blessed by the soothing balm of friendship and fellowship.

I have to say, godly friends are a true gift from God. He places them along our way at the right moment when we need them the most. Don’t ever think you are alone. You are not! Though we may go through seasons of loneliness in our lives, we are never truly alone. Jesus, our faithful companion is always with us and in us. In His unfathomable love, God also gives us sisters in Christ to share the burden, encourage one another, keep us accountable, cry, laugh and chit-chat as we walk on our own personal winding roads.

I know this is a broad generalization, but I do believe that as women, friends are indispensable. I don’t know how this thing works in men. I don’t presume to know much at all about the deep jungle of the male psyche, but in my limited experience with two sons and a husband, my observations are revealing that it is not quite as indispensable for them to have friends to talk about things with.

At any rate, my point is that I believe that as women, even if we are shy, reserved, quiet and a bit high in testosterone-meaning: not the grisliest of girls (speaking for myself here) we all crave the friendship of other women. We may have a wonderful husband, boyfriend, clan, children, whatever…but in the midst of all of them wonderful people, loneliness can quickly sink our hearts if we don’t have girlfriends to share it all with.

Opportunities like women retreats offer a chance to connect or reconnect with other sisters in the faith. At events like these one can easily see the relational nature of women. And the New Bedford Women’s Retreat was no exception. As we gathered around card tables and explored the seasons of our lives, women of all ages and conditions expressed their hurts, their hopes, their loss, their fears and all the elements that collide together to form their lives.

Every small group was different, but in mine, I praise the Lord for He provided a group of women who were vulnerable enough to share their situations in a way that allowed me to realize that I am not alone and that I too can open up my heart and see what The Lord has done for me.

I do believe that the time we spend with our fellow believer girlfriends is time spent in fellowship with Our Lord. He has forged such friendships for the nurturing of our souls. He has brought us together to chase away the hurt. He made our paths cross so we can help each other carry our crosses. He arranged it so we could meet each other in order to cry a little and laugh a lot for the glory of Our Maker. Therefore, any time we get together in Him is an act of special worship and praise to the One who designed our relationship.

We talked, we sang, we ate, we laughed and we fought tears in a wonderful display of love and understanding for the humanity of the female condition who seeks God as the ultimate goal. At the end, we left thoroughly satisfied while at the same time thirsty for more. On Saturday afternoon, I drove away from that special mountain lamenting how fast the time flew by and wishing I am able to come back again next year. May the Lord allow us to all continue gathering together in faith, in spirit and in truth.

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