Last week, I stood on an arching stone that protruded near the tops of the mountains. Towering trees looked like clips of broccoli below me, and the horizon stretched as far as the eye could see. Stony crests, towering cliffs, and yet there I stood at their height.
Down in the valleys, creeks danced on the fingers of waterfalls. Smooth sand brushed my feet, and the water clasped cold around them. I wandered through forests where flowers bloomed in delicate pink and ferns adorned the pathways. Sunlight struggled to sift through the lush canopy.
But that wasn't the most beautiful moment. I think back on the memories and smile at the grandeur that I discovered in the Daniel Boone National Forest. And yet there were other moments even more precious.
Eleven young women sat in a circle. The log cabin around them arched high overhead, and green leaves sparkled through the window. But they didn't notice that. The air filled with soft singing - songs of praise. Hands clasped tight, shoulders rocked in rhythm.
The voices grew silent, and one by one they took turns speaking. Testimonies, hopes, futures, all was shared amidst tears. And that was the most beautiful moment. Not the glory or the highest peaks. It was simple beauty in open hearts that let themselves be vulnerable to one another. It was the love that permeated between the sisters in Christ as they circled and prayed. It was the oneness they had with each other, without the make-up, the perfect lives, or the masks.
That's why I was so blessed by the Glory Writers Retreat last week. Eleven truly amazing and beautiful women came together to share fellowship and love because of Christ. We cried, we laughed, we sang. And it was perfect.
It was a step of faith for me to travel away from my family for a week, but God used that vulnerability. Every lady I met was a source of joy. Together, we were sisters in a little cabin in Kentucky.
Now as I look back, I miss the special moments we treasured together. I miss all the girls - Allison Tebo, Isabella, Ivy Rose, Karis, Katherine, Melani, Mrs. G, Olivia Jarmusch, Sarah Grace, and Victoria Lynn. (this vlog Livy made gives an inside glimpse into the retreat)
I'm also reminded of the value of open hearts, and my prayer for us all is this:
The eyes of your understanding (or heart) being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
The writing retreat was an amazing, uplifting experience. More importantly, it drew us closer to God and each other. I'm so thankful.
And today, I hope that we will continue to allow our hearts to be enlightened - that we may know what is the hope of His calling. We are loved and treasured and bought with a price. Therefore, we must glorify God in our body and spirit (1 Corinthians 6:20).
If even the mountains and trees live to bring Him glory, how much more should we give ourselves to the One who loves us.
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.