Spend Your Time Well (lessons learned at the #livefree retreat)

I went to collect treasure this past weekend. Treasure of the richest kind: time and space to refresh and renew, shared experiences and resulting relationships, soul connections and heart-felt hugs, godly wisdom and deep spiritual insights.

These are jewels often overlooked in our busy lives but found in abundance during this time in the presence of God and with other faith-filled women. Valuable lessons to be cultivated.

valuable lessons learned

Not-So-Buried Treasure

It began with a more than 580-mile drive to beautiful northeast Oklahoma to attend Author and Speaker Suzie Eller’s live free retreat. Although a kick-off for Suzie’s new book, Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leadsthe purpose of the retreat held far more value than simply launching a new book. 

I spent 2-1/2 days with more than 40 other ladies, gathering the gems sprinkled among the tree-covered hills and peaceful surroundings of the Christian retreat center. Collecting the jewels present during worship and while learning with and from godly, Christ-filled women. 

At the end of the retreat, I grabbed last minute hugs and pictures, tucked the wealth into my treasure bag and lugged it all home.

Lessons Learned

On the return drive, the beautiful experiences of the weekend sprouted into lessons carried into my homecoming. Whimsical, lighthearted lessons and deeper, profound ones. But all ones I believe you may find value in as well.

Valuable lessons learned at the #livefree retreat. Click To Tweet

  1. I learned that the best way to get to know someone really well is to drive 10-1/2 hours across country and then back with them. (I was also reminded that I had an incredible traveling partner and that the ability to listen well is a priceless skill to have in a friend.)
  2. I learned that southwest Missouri, northwest Arkansas, and northeast Oklahoma hold incredible beauty.
  3. I learned that 44 women can successfully bunk together in two cabins. 
  4. I was reminded of the value of being still. 
  5. I was reminded of the deep spiritual connections found in nature. 
  6. I was reminded that God wants all of our heart, not just a small part of it. 
  7. I discovered that vulnerability and genuine love can open up hearts to very real connections in an incredibly short time.
  8. I discovered that everyone, no matter how put together he/she appears on the outside, has a story that is unique and ugly-beautiful in its own way and filled with lessons for each of us. 
  9. I discovered that God wants us to trust Him in those jagged edges of our lives because there is beauty in them as well.

No matter how put together a person appears on the outside, he/she has an ugly-beautiful story filled with lessons for each of us. Click To Tweet

Valuable lessons are found in the richness of relationship, with God, of course, but also with one another.

So take time to cultivate those relationships, to set aside quiet time, to travel to a retreat, to join a Bible study, to connect with people you don’t know. 

In the end, the wealth you’ll collect will far exceed the sacrifice required.

Valuable lessons are found in the richness of relationship, with God, of course, but also with one another. Click To Tweet

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

Reflections: Which of the above lessons do you connect with? Which lessons do you need constant reminders of? When was the last time you were intentional about gathering such priceless treasure?

Going on 5 years of counting and I’m nearing 5,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! Here are numbers #4,915–4,935. Read my entire list by clicking here.

  • Reframe the negative in light of God’s goodness: My 2 oldest aren’t home, but they’re following the Lord and getting good educations; It’s chilly and windy, but the sun is shining beautifully; I have too much to do, but God has entrusted me with much
  • Crisp, sunny morning; Last-minute respite care for Rachel for the night; Date with hubby to watch Joey’s soccer game and joined by my brother and his wife
  • Packed and ready for my long weekend retreat in Oklahoma!; Rachel’s sweetness as I prepare her for my absence; Talking with both my older guys today
  • Visiting w/ old and new friend during 12-hour drive; Visiting a park we lived in 19 years ago; Safe arrival at the  retreat in OK
  • Hiking through the hills; Being still with a book on the balcony; Worship and fellowship with many new friends
  • Morning of hiking, zip lining, and horseback riding; Finding the perfect quiet spot for reflection and prayer; Powerful messages, meaningful worship, and fellowship
  • One last morning hike at the ‪#‎livefree‬ retreat; Precious time of prayer and testimonials before saying goodbye to many new friends; The best traveling partner

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

2 comments on “Spend Your Time Well (lessons learned at the #livefree retreat)
  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) says:

    I have found long-term friendships can be bonded because two or more people have cried together about an issue.We also have times when we do something that difficult for us. One of my closest friends remembers something Hubby and I did when her husband was in a heart hospital in Indy. We went down late one night and stayed a few hours. I am not always a late-night person; she knew this.

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  1. […] I enjoyed it immensely. I made some amazing friends. I connected deeply with God. I laughed and wept and played alongside girls intent on devoting their lives to their Father. I learned valuable life-long lessons (read about them here).  […]

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