The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
During His time on earth, Jesus invited people to simply do life with Him, to be with Him. Often the invitation was a simple “come and see” or “come to Me”. In Matthew 11:28-30, His offer echoes the promise in Exodus 33:14, that when we come to Him, He will give us rest.
Exploring together how God’s Presence gives true rest in the midst of real life was our specific intent at this year’s women’s retreat. Our goal was to create space to learn to live freely and lightly because we belong to God.
For the third year, we partnered with the women of Riverside Covenant Church to host the women’s retreat, to create space to connect as a community of women by investing in deeper relationships with God and each other and by understanding our value in Christ. It is a gift to serve on a team with women from both churches and to gather to worship God as the big “C” church.
Laura L. Smith joined us from Oxford, OH, to share with us throughout the weekend. We learned about dropping comparison and pointing each other to truth and how to resist the “thief of joy”.
Together we worshiped God. We laughed and occasionally cried. We heard powerful testimonies. We enjoyed the gift of beautiful weather and stunning fall leaves. We learned about different types of rest, practiced movement as rest, breathing and breath prayers, and the social rest we receive when we are in community with people who love us.
During her final talk, Laura encouraged us with three ways to battle lies that question our identity and keep us from rest.
- Fill yourself up with truth. (Scriptural truth knocks down lies. Every. Time.)
- Hang out with people who will point you to these truths. (Community is valuable!)
- Do the things God created you to do. (Don’t exhaust yourself by doing things you weren’t created to do).
There is much more we experienced and learned during the 2023 women’s retreat come&rest – I encourage you to ask someone who attended to hear more.
Throughout the retreat – through the messages, the community, and the worship – God continued to invite us to rest in the truth that He couldn’t love us anymore than He already does. As we return to our actual lives, we pray we all continue to learn to receive the rest He desires to give us. True rest in the midst of real life.