Sunday evening I returned home from a ladies retreat. Not any ladies retreat. The ladies retreat that I somehow ended up coordinating. Honest to Betsy, I did not intend, ever, to become so involved in it. I offered to give ideas. Ideas & advice from my experience coordinating other events. Simple as that.
I became the coordinator. I know the people around me weren't surprised by the turn of events, but I was.
The ladies retreat was a second annual & an awesome, amazing time of connecting with these equally amazing & awesome friends of mine. I love introducing my friends to each other. I love watching my friends begin a relationship with each other. I love being that little link that connects them. Not for my sake, but because I see what that does to them & it makes me happy to see the people I love happy.
I have a very special bond with some of the women at this retreat. They helped me through the worst period of my life, kept me keepin' on, tirelessly reminded me why I should get out of bed every morning, refocused me when I ran out of energy. These women saw the pain in my eyes, often without me saying a word, & would hold me while I sobbed through an entire church service. Or stop what they were doing to listen to me cry on the phone. Or come over to my house to hold me together when I came apart. These women were a rock for me that I will never, ever forget.
At a time when my future unraveled before my eyes...
At a time when I felt the ultimate betrayal by the man who vowed to love & protect me, witnessed the betrayal with my own eyes, then discovered the other, many women before her...
At a time when I watched my children's family become torn apart & I couldn't stop it or their pain...
At a time when I questioned every belief I ever held...
...these women were there literally with arms outstretched, dropping their own concerns, teaching me how to love, trust, and breath again.
When you are able to walk into a group of friends at their church, after your church turns their back on helping you in your time of need, & they hold out their arms & say, "we love you" over & over again until you believe it...you kinda sorta can't help but create a bond that can't be broken.
In addition to that group of ladies, there were some other wonderful friends.
The friend who just a few months ago held my hand while I fought a nightmare of a battle that no Mother ever wants to face. While I felt that every turn was directly into a brick wall that I banged my entire body against only to bounce back against another, taller brick wall, this friend knew the best attorney for us & in addition to her advice, was a much needed sounding board & shoulder. This friend helped me pick myself up after each blow, just knowing that she was there for me to turn to with all of my heart break.
The friend who actually caused me to be thankful for what I went through in my first marriage. Well, some of the things I went through, anyway. Something I never, ever thought I'd say. Without having gone through those things, this friend may not have had someone who understood what she's going through right now. My experiences, along with my counseling education, have given me the ability to listen to her & feel her pain.
I was more than happy to let these women know what they mean to me by giving them what they deserve: a weekend of laughs, memories, & some new relationships.
There are more ladies that I would love to come join us in the future. This was definitely not all the women in my life who have touched me & it would be awesome to see all of them in the same room together.
After the ladies started arriving, I remembered why I put in so many countless hours & a wee bit of stressful moments to get this retreat together. These ladies were the reason I put in all the planning & piecing together. At one point, I looked around the room & thought, "I am so blessed. All of these ladies have a piece of my heart & they're all together in one room. This. This makes it all worth it."
I couldn't have done it without my amazing hubs. He was so willing to help with anything & did a lot of things to help me get it all done on time. The friend who took over the food & the friend who was willing to listen to God's prompting to be a very inspiring speaker helped pull it all together for a wonderful time for all the ladies. I'm looking forward to how God will use me for next year's planning.