How do I even begin to write about all that God did in Bear Lake, Idaho, the last weekend in July 2023? I have been a part of many epic vacations, girls’ trips, and retreats, but there is something different about going on one that has been so heavily covered in prayer. When every detail seems ordained by the Holy Spirit, every conversation is laden with His grace, and every encounter is like meeting a new best friend. Twenty-three women living in one house in complete harmony; sharing every task with joy and giving of themselves selflessly everyday. What a blessing it was to share our meals together and to listen as conversations flooded the house from women who were meeting for the first time but sounded like they had been friends forever. I will never forget at each morning’s sunrise, the spattering of women spread out through the property, heads buried in their Bibles or arms lifted high in worship or prayer. Every time we worshiped (led so beautifully by Amanda and Patti), I couldn’t keep the tears from falling in complete gratitude for all the Lord was doing. In our last night of worship, God showed up in an unexpected way with a real life parable to drive home our weekend theme of: SURRENDER.
We had the doors open as wide as our hearts and our arms, singing at the top of our lungs, when a hummingbird flew into our space! Immediate panic set in when that bird realized that it was no longer safe in the protection of the outdoors. It began flying repeatedly into the glass windows above the massive doors trying to get out. It could see where it needed to be, but couldn’t figure out how to get there. That little bird flapped its wings and strived with all its strength to find the freedom it once had. Surrender is like watching that bird struggle to get out. We know what we need to do and can see the other side of letting go, but we don’t know how to get there. We keep trying so hard, striving in our own strength, but the real source of release has nothing to do with our striving and has everything to do with letting go and allowing God to lead us into freedom.
I hope that those of you that went to the first OWNC will remember all that God did in that holy space. I hope you take with you the friendships, the laughter and the tears, the fun we had at the beach paddle boarding, and the games that made you feel uncomfortable. I hope you remember the way Nikki challenged us to lay down 9 areas of our lives and how God took one bouquet of flowers and a broken vase and multiplied it into a beautiful centerpiece for our last dinner together. I hope you remember the amazing view and the breathtaking sunrises, our final night in the tipi and our physical act of surrender. But more than anything, I hope that when you think about that weekend, you remember God’s grace poured out and overflowing in ways that could never be explained in words. I hope you remember and never forget that last weekend in July 2023 in Bear Lake, Idaho.❤️