The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Beach escape, hidden blessings

Well, it’s that time again… SKY WATCH FRIDAY, and boy have I got a story to share. It won’t do it justice to simply show all the pics and tell the wonderful story. We were invited over the weekend to visit with some of our dear Colorado friends (he wrote the lyrics in the margin), while they were pastoring a retreat. We had no idea what to expect, but we were eager to have the opportunity to spend time with dear friends while they were in the general vicinity. We woke up early on Saturday and made our way to Seaside, FL (which coincidentally was the same spot Mini-Dew’s 5th grade teacher and her son, her classmate decided to vacation the same days, just two cabanas over --- small world). What a beautiful and quaint hole-in-the-wall beach town.

The charming little village was charming with their perfectly named shops and cute little novelties.

It was precious, well, everything but the prices. They were awfully proud of their food… Fortunately, our accommodations were covered as a part of the retreat, where they had plenty of room for us in one of the two houses they had rented for the week. A couple of the pastors weren’t arriving till late Monday, so we were good. We had a wonderful time splashing in the oil-free waves and sunning in the sand, seeking fresh clams and crabs… enjoying time with our dear friends and their adorable little ones.
The best part of the weekend was the ministry work. It was presented that we were on a vacation. They wanted us to sit back and relax and enjoy, not lift a finger and be totally catered to, but that is not my wonderful groom and my (and I found Mini-Dew, too) way of doing things. They were putting us up in wonderful accommodations, allowing us a great opportunity to spend time with friends, enjoying the beautiful Gulf Shores and phenomenal thunderstorms (no, no water spouts). We were going to work to earn our keep. We started off just contributing a little effort in the kitchen, then, in one of the group prayer sessions, I learned so much about the amazing group of women and children and the workers and volunteers from Chattanooga along for the retreat. Kelly, the leader, started out as a case manager, working soup kitchens and offering what limited assistance she could in that capacity, realizing… these women had no hope… these women were trapped and bound in their circumstance, an endless cycle of dependence on the government, trapped in the cycle of welfare. It wasn’t enough, so she (Kelly) formed the Oak Project, which introduced these women to the life-saving power of Jesus Christ, turning their life and circumstance around... teaching them the glory of earning, and how they could find the peace that surpasses understanding. The retreat was an opportunity for them that many had never experienced, time away from the distractions and temptations of life, experiencing new things in a positive environment... as a family. Ministering to these wonderful ladies was a surprising and amazing blessing. Seeing how far so many of these women had come inspired me, it enlightened me and it poured into my life in ways that touch me deep down. These beautiful, powerful, strong mothers, these phenomenal and outstanding women ministered to me, way more than I could have ever ministered to them, and I am blessed to have had the experience. God bless Kelly for hearing a call, an urgent need in the lives of these women and for taking that leap of faith. My thoughts and prayers are with you wonderful people.

Have a truly blessed day!


Dew comment, please...