(I'll add in a few pictures from last week as well, and maybe one or two from a previous year.)
This time, four ladies went from our church. We ended up in the same cabin with three friends.
"Rest" was the theme of this retreat and something I needed badly. Our speaker, Jen Cox, based her messages in Matthew 11:28-30:
"Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
"For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
Just think ... getting into the yoke with Jesus and letting Him take the lead, plus learning to know Him well, will bring rest to our souls. These were messages I needed to hear.
As always at The Wilds of New England, the setting was beautiful, the music honoring to God, the fun time hilarious, and the food delicious.
Of course I spent some enjoyable time in Cool Beans, the coffee shop.
|This is an older photo of the fireplace in Cool Beans. There's now a moose head in the middle with a deer on either side.|
|The conversation starter ...|
My most surprising "friend moment", though, really begins 34 years ago, in 1982. In a small town in New Hampshire, a young Christian couple lived around the corner from the local hospital. In the ICU, a young man lay comatose, his deeply concerned parents at his bedside. They spent every day there talking, praying, and playing Christian music in hopes that he would respond. When the young mom around the corner learned of this, she began a ministry to that hurting older couple, often bringing them lunch, always praying for them, serving in whatever way she could. There was to be no "happy ending" in the storybook sense, for the young man (who was my brother) did not recover -- yet, there was a truly happy ending for him in that he is in heaven, completely well.
From that day to the present, this dear woman (now a grandmother, living in another state) has sent a note to my parents every year in early October, the time of my brother's homegoing. When my mother died, I let her know and the notes continued to my dad. Recently, I sent this dear lady an update on how my dad is doing, and she sent me such a nice reply ... words that the Lord used to encourage my heart. So imagine my surprise then, at the retreat, when my daughter pointed across the room and said, "I think that is Mrs. _."
She was right, and before the retreat was over we had been able to talk and share a hug. At last I could share my appreciation in person for her years of ministry to my parents. And as I think about it now, I realize that this lady personifies the word I have chosen as my word for 2016 -- faithfulness. She has been faithful to serve others, faithful in praying, faithful in remembering. All, of course, because God is faithful.
Throughout the weekend I had many other moments with friends, some of them at meals. I would be remiss if I didn't share some of the pretty decorations in the dining hall.
|A look at part of the table decor. That's a votive in a glass holder tucked into the hurricane with acorns and other fall trims. And isn't the mini white pumpkin cute?|
|Window sill decor -- flowers, leaves and pine cones, plus a floating candle in a goblet|