Laughter is essential to coping with stress, and it’s safe to say global women don’t laugh nearly enough. For that reason, the retreat agenda balances the spiritual and emotional connectedness of the main sessions and small group times with evening sessions filled with lightheartedness and laughter.
The attendees played a game that highlighted shared experiences, and we discovered, for one, who all in the room had ever been given a gift of a live animal. The answers ranged from dog-as-a-Christmas-present to snake, pig, alligator, and even “two goats as a wedding present.”
We invited women to tell stories of how circumstances were unusual or miraculous or just aligned in such a way that allowed them to attend the retreat. ‘Spousedom’, motherhood, and other responsibilities don’t always make it easy to get away. One woman shared how her husband went online and filled out the application and purchased her plane ticket—amazing, bordering on an act of God—so she could come. Another woman’s sisters and cousins, who serve as global women on other contents, all got together and made it possible for her to attend.
The story that warmed everyone’s hearts, however, was the husband who offered to do “whatever it takes” so his wife could attend. She was interested, but didn’t want to come alone. But the friend she worked hard to persuade is a teacher who just couldn’t take the time off. “Whatever it takes” became “He’s substitute teaching a class of Kindergarteners so my friend and I could come to the Thrive retreat. We called to check on him after his first day on the job. I think he was most anxious about sitting on the floor and doing ‘criss-cross-applesauce’.”
Thank God for the ways he moves heaven and earth and spouses and does “whatever it takes” for His daughters to get away and experience His lavish love.