The Spring 2015 Coram Deo Women’s Retreat was at the Lake Morey Resort, in Fairlee, Vermont on March 27th and 28th. Eighty women from Christ Redeemer Church and other local churches gathered together. Though the weather was less than spring-like, the fellowship was warm and encouraging as the women considered the topic of “Living with a Sure Hope.”
Liz Kealy returned to speak to the group again this year. Liz has been serving the Lord with Cru for 30 years. Liz addressed the group on Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon. Leah Cooper shared a testimony with the group on Friday night. Retreat audio recordings can be found at the bottom of the page. Discussion groups met after some of the sessions to consider the talks together. There was plenty of time on Saturday afternoon to relax, shop at Farm-Way, pray, attend a special session, or take part in other fun activities. Below are a few reflections by women who attended the retreat.
“Our Spring CRC Women’s Retreat focused on the topic of hope. Our guest speaker, Liz Kealy, from Campus Crusade, shared scripture and real world examples to show us that we can have hope in what we don’t see, even with the various trials in one’s life. God will not reject me because I am not getting it right. God knows the troubles of my soul and meets me in the midst of them. Our faith is what gives us Jesus. We can pour out our heart to God, even when God seems so far away. Through repentance, we can experience God’s love and forgiveness by giving our heart to Him. We are the branch that bears fruit ‘and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit’ (John 15:2b). He delights in us. God answers, restores and remains with us. There is hope and restoration in the here and now.”
“The women’s retreat was not only a special time to reflect on hope (the theme of the conference), but a great time to get to know the other women in our church community better. We were able to spend time together outside of our usual (busy) environments. This meant everything from learning each others’ shoe sizes at Farm-Way, to sharing late night laughter, to having honest conversations about faith, doubt, and God’s spirit in our lives.”
When I arrived at the CRC woman’s retreat my mind and heart were full of heavy cares. Not having my 4 little kids running around who constantly need something helped me to relax and just enjoy some uninterrupted fellowship with dear Christian ladies. The small group was safe and helpful to address heartfelt issues, communicating on a deeper level than sometimes is manageable at church. And it was so refreshing to realize that we all come to the cross broken and needy, and that Christ meets us wherever we are to redeem and sanctify us. What a treasure to be a part of the family of God, and to get to know some of the ladies better!
Hope. It seemed like the perfect topic to focus on during our annual women’s retreat. Leading up to the weekend, I was really excited! I kind of optimistically anticipated that the weekend would be another one of those great “mountain top” times you sometimes get to experience in this walk of faith. Instead, I found the retreat to be much more a time of digging deeply into the harsh realities of life and seeing how the truth of the gospel meets us even there. As Leah shared her testimony about hope in brokenness on Friday night and then Liz spoke through the book of Joel about God’s presence with us through hard times, I found myself struggling to see how to cling to hope for this present moment. I was so thankful for the reference of Psalm 27:13 – “I am certain that I will see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living.” The conversations shared in small group and with other women helped to shape more of this idea of finding hope in Christ – both a hope for eternity and a hope that sees the Lord’s goodness in the here and now. Even in the days following the retreat, I have seen how the time spent together has drawn me deeper into the gospel and into a sweeter place of understanding and encouragement and honesty with my sisters in Christ. It may not have been the light and relaxing “mountain top” experience I was anticipating, but this year’s women’s retreat was a rich, meaningful, and beautiful time of refocusing on the hope we have in Christ by digging into the truths of the gospel alongside dear sisters in Christ.
Living with A Sure Hope
Session 1: Friday, March 27- “Hope in What We Can’t See” by Liz Kealy
“Personal Testimony” by Leah Cooper
Session 2: Saturday, March 28- “God’s in This” by Liz Kealy
Session 3: Saturday, March 28- “God’s in This: Part 2” by Liz Kealy