It was fantastic to be away last weekend with a group of women from our church – a rich weekend of connection with each other and with God in a gorgeous location. At one point over the weekend I was struck by how unique it is for that type of cross section of ages to be comfortably together – it’s pretty rare in our society these days. I was also struck by the desire of the group of women who were there to know Jesus more deeply and to let go of the things that hinder that. Numerous people, especially Cheryl, contributed to creating this precious environment where people connected and where God was clearly at work.
Here’s what Barb Brans wrote about the weekend:
“Last weekend I took part in the women’s retreat at New Norcia run by Cheryl Potts.
We had wonderful praising songs all weekend, accompanied by Marinda on keyboard or Cheryl with her guitar but the ultimate highlight for me was when Emma burst into song and we all slowly joined in. It was There is a Redeemer, Jesus God’s own Son. There was something about 35 unaccompanied voices and the powerful lyrics that touched my soul.
Of course there were many highlights. There was the obvious presence of God’s Spirit amongst us, the fellowship and friendship, the love that oozed out of Ellen, even though she was quite ill; she still fussed over us making sure we lacked nothing as she catered for 35 women.
There was the commitment and wisdom of Cheryl as she led her women to a greater understanding of themselves and their relationship to God and how God longs to set us free to receive his pure spiritual water. The teaching was based on Jeremiah 2:13.
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
There was the deep sharing and honesty in the huddles as we confessed our weaknesses and prayed for each other.
There was the pleasure of getting to know familiar faces better and the fun of finding out details we don’t have time to share on Sundays. There was the love so evident between sisters and friends as they did each other’s hair or massaged backs.
There were the times of devotion led by Sally, oh, Sal, so good! I thought I could never imagine myself in the Bible story but with your leading it was easy and a very precious time.
There were three wonderful honest, all very different, testimonies.
We even had a birthday, Shirley-Joy.
Of course there was the constant glow and warmth from a wood fire and God’s additional blessing of a fine weekend.
My only regret was that all the women of the parish were not there, especially my friends from my study group. Maybe next time.
May God protect us as we continue to work on our broken places and come more into line with His will for our lives.”