A couple of weeks ago I drove over 1600 miles in 8 days…from the shores of Lake Erie, Ohio to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I meandered through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains and throughout the state of Virginia. I spent some time on the Blue Ridge Parkway and drove under the bridge in Chesapeake. The mountains were in peak season. The vibrant reds and yellows were absolutely breath-taking.The sunrises and sunsets I witnessed in Duck, NC were equally awe-inspiring.
I am a nature girl. I feel closest to God in nature. Listening to the wind blow in the tops of trees or sitting on the beach, listening to waves crash fills me with such wonder. Give me a blanket on a beach staring up at the stars over any other type of entertainment and I’m a happy girl.
The Bible teaches in the book of Romans:
Ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
You can say creation was God’s first missionary.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)
But as amazing as the beach and the mountains were during the trip, there was another aspect of His creation I enjoyed even more…His people.
These past nine months, I have helped lead a WIML Cohort. (WIML = Women in Ministry Leadership). There were 12 ladies in the cohort from all around the nation. We would have monthly 2 hour conference calls centered around enhancing our personal growth and leadership skills. We read several books together. The ladies were also professionally coached during these nine months. The cohort culminated in a Summit at a beach house in Duck, North Carolina.
All together, there were 21 ladies staying at the beach house. The theme was “Worth it”. Some of the sessions were risk is worth, leadership is worth it, healthy rhythms of life are worth it, Holy Spirit empowered ministry is worth it, and going for it is worth it.
The times of worship were precious. It was amazing to see 21 women get to know one another. Hearing the laughter around the dinner table and each lady sharing their story made my heart so incredibly happy. We were meant to live life together. We live in an age where we think deep, lasting relationships can be cultivated over social media. It is not enough. Social media can help but it does not replace the dynamic of being together, face to face; laughing together, crying together, encouraging one another. We must be living in community together. We need each other.
Ministry can be hard. Life can be hard. We need each other to celebrate the triumphs and to mourn the losses; to cheer each other on when we feel like giving up, to remind us that this crazy adventure God has us on is most definitely worth the sacrifice and the pain. And joy really does come in the morning.
There is nothing more beautiful than community. No mountain or sunrise or sunset and anything else in creation can compare to the beauty of God’s people. The diversity and creativity displayed in each and every one of us is mind-boggling. And my time away at the beach house with 20 amazing ladies reminded me of this truth.