God did it again! He graciously brought fourteen ladies, ages twenty-four to seventy-one, to spend extended periods of time with Him in the midst of His creation in the Northwoods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This Mothers’/Ladies’ Journey was held September 19 – 27. From the very first night when one of the international ladies was detained in U.S. customs for six hours, God was there. The other Journey ladies bonded as they prayed for the one yet to arrive; they rejoiced with her later when she described how God used those difficult hours to allow her to minister to another detained lady in need. Already the group was seeing how God had chosen each of them for this Journey at this time!
Each lady in the group was already committed to following Christ; however, these sisters in the Lord were diverse in many ways with unique needs and challenges. God faithfully met the participants’ needs with His abiding presence, answers in His living Word, and applicable counsel from the leaders. There were marriages ranging from solid to at risk. Past sins that had weighed heavy on some hearts were dealt with, and the sparkle of hope and forgiveness shone through.
The ladies enjoyed large group sessions learning about the different heart conditions and also enjoyed the variety of small discussion groups, recording “take-away” lessons God gave them and one-on-one conversations. There were many prayer times as a group and also individually. Tears were shed; encouragement was given.
Mealtimes provided brainstorming sessions on various topics such as caring for elderly parents and the necessary relationship changes with adult children. There was even a question-and-answer session with the Journey staff. They shared from their own backgrounds and gave helpful insights into their experience with today’s young people.
Sunday morning the ladies awakened early to watch the sun rise and hear a variety of Psalms read up in the tower. However, there was a dense fog. As they sat in the tower listening to the Scripture, they discussed what analogy they could learn from the disappointing fog that obscured the anticipated sunrise viewing. One mom aptly stated how easy it is to see only clouds and fog in the issues of life even when the sun is nearby. She shared, “Sometimes it is the same with the darkness that overwhelms our hearts. The SON is still very near and available to us and gives us what we need, even when we don’t sense His presence or His ways at work in that situation. He is our Father; we are His children. Be thankful in everything. Don’t fear. Don’t fret. He is our good Father working tirelessly and lovingly to conform us to the image of His Son.”
Each lady seemed eager to take full advantage of the luxury of extended time with God in the wonderful solitude and beauty of the Northwoods Conference Center. As the ladies delighted in Him each day, weary hearts were recharged and anxious to return to their families. Praise God for His working in their lives!