Sometimes, things happen for a reason. A friend loaned me a library book and soon it was overdue before I could finish it. I immediately took it to the library and renewed it under my name but while I was there, I met the new manager and she told me about a writers retreat. That’s how I found out that the first Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat was being held about an hour or so above me near Andalusia, Alabama. I came home and looked it up and immediately signed up to attend since I knew most of the speakers.
I hadn’t been on a retreat in the woods in a long time. I’m spoiled by hotels these days and usually my husband is with me. But I was determined to go alone and attend this one. It just seemed that God was directing my path. So my husband drove me up and we had lunch in a little café before I reported in at the Methodist Camp where a beautiful lodge sat on a lovely lake. I registered under my real name, not my pen name so I kind of snuck in at the last minute, under the radar. I wanted to watch and learn and get rejuvenated in my writing. What better way than a quiet retreat with worship each morning and night?
I found this nice gift waiting for me. The Bible passage reads: “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands–yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17
The bag had candy and some seeds to plant and other little treats. I loved it. While my room was a typical lodge-style with two twin beds and a Spartan bath (no coffee pot or hair dryer, of course), and horrors, sketchy wifi, I loved it and the partial view of the lake out the three big windows. I deposited my things and went to explore, soon meeting a lot of aspiring writers who wanted to write everything from fiction to non-fiction and magazine articles and devotion books and devotional in magazines. I loved their enthusiasm and their need to follow God’s calling in their lives. They inspired me.
This azalea bush was the best spot for trying to find wifi, just to let my husband know I was behaving and hadn’t fallen in the lake. Also, to check on an ad I’d placed months before that I needed to promote, of course! But what a beautiful spot!
I so enjoyed the lovely music by provided by the talented Lynn DeShazo and the messages provided by our faculty of Cecil Murphey, Eva Marie Everson, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and James Watkins. Marilyn Turk, the woman who had this dream and the director of the retreat, worked hard to bring us all together and inspired us with pep talks all weekend. Other workshop leaders included Susan King and Connie Stevens.
Some of them know me and the first thing they asked is “Why are you here? You know all of this stuff.”
Well, I was there because we all need a good retreat and because we never stop learning. I learned so much that helped me get back into my current projects. I enjoyed meeting new writers and finding out that they live nearby. We hope to meet up again soon. Some were impressed with my resume but I was impressed with their fervent need to spread the message of God’s love through the written word. I needed this retreat. And even though the tree pollen messed with our sinuses and some of us didn’t sleep very well, it is all well within my soul. God brought me to Blue Lake and all because I was late returning a book to the library.
Here I am with Kim Sawyer and Connie Stevens. We had fun visiting all weekend. Sweet friends.
I’m thankful that God nudged me to attend this retreat. I’m thankful for good friends who offered me advice and gave me hugs and prayers. When was your last retreat? Or do you have one coming up? I’d love to hear about your time alone with the Lord in a quiet place!