There are a few givens that happen when women gather.
There will be appreciation of chocolate and a valuing of words. Women tend to share. Our capacity to go deep quickly in conversations can boggle many male minds.
The women I’m privileged to work with and alongside this year came together for a two-day retreat. A chance to be away from kids, families, and work to have some space to be. To relax with one another, sharing ideas, crafts and dreams.
There was much conversation about words. Words that speak to our hearts, that reflect our deepest needs. Words that communicate more than a feeling but a true soul obligation.
We spent time creating plaques with these words, thanks to women whose talents ran to calligraphy and other printing forms. I was fascinated by what each woman chose as a word to remind her of who she was, what she longed for. Words such as “flourish”, “freedom”, “delighted” and “cherished” sprung out as heart desires we don’t often talk about.
One friend used “truth” as her word, wanting to be able to identify it and not miss it. Another chose “replenish” for a heart that has been bruised by circumstances and people.
I chose “shalom”, the Hebrew word known worldwide as peace. But it’s deeper than that. A complete peace, a wholeness as God intended.
Being at peace with the God of peace.
In a season of sadness, I won’t find true peace in words or good intentions. Complete wholeness can’t be manufactured or fixed. I can’t create peace for myself.
It can only come from knowing God in all His fullness. It’s recognizing my attempts at making life work well for me aren’t sustainable. I can’t control my circumstances or those people around me.
I can’t make peace happen.
As profound as that was, such sharing of words led us to discuss one word in particular–beloved.
When I consider what it means to be someone’s beloved, there’s a special depth of relationship, an acceptance that isn’t dependent on what I’m able to do or how consistently I love in return. Being longed for and worth the work involved to attain such love. Made to feel special, seen, known.
Pretty much every woman’s dream.
Beloved is what God the Father calls His Son, the One in whom He is well pleased. Perfect eternal love.
And those who embrace and receive Jesus’ gift of forgiveness are called His beloved ones. Chosen. Celebrated. Cherished.
A magnificent love by an all-powerful God who won’t turn His back on us, won’t deny us, won’t become disgusted or disappointed with us, won’t look for a better love option and dump us when one is found. The kind of love my heart needs.
Those are words of encouragement? I’ll choose them.
Especially if chocolate is offered on the side.