Friday, October 4, 2013

Love Each Other Deeply {Printable + New Shop Items}

Last weekend my husband gave me an amazing gift - 48 hours of time away with 40+ other women from our church on a retreat by a lake in New Hampshire. The weather couldn't be better, the company an activities were fun, the speaker was inspiring and the best part is there was no cooking, cleaning, disciplining, diaper changing, etc. for two full days. Perfection. Of course we didn't get all the extra sleep we had planned on, opting for late night conversations and a sunrise hike instead. But that's what happens when you enjoy the people you are with.

Fourteen of us who went on the retreat are in the same "life stage" — all mothers of preschoolers or elementary-aged children. For some of us, it was our first trip away from our children and husbands.

As a community of moms trying to raise our children to know and love God and love others, it was refreshing to have time beyond play dates to invest in true friendships. We need each other for support through this stage of life and for encouragement as we strive to be the wife, mother, friend and child of God he calls us to.

And I did something new for this trip! A friend has been telling me for some time now that she'd love to wear a t-shirt designed by me. (What a great friend!) I was hesitant at first as this is new territory and it's a lot of pressure to come up with a cute design! But I loved the collaboration that went into this shirt and how it turned out! Who knows, maybe I'll be making more of these in the future! (By the way, the same friend told me I better offer the shirts in my shop and blog about it!)

We chose the verse I Peter 4:8:
"Above all, Love each other deeply." 

It's perfect because that's what we do as mothers, wives, daughters... we long to love and be loved deeply. I love that she suggested an anchor, not just because we were at a lake but because it's a reminder of the hope we have in Christ — an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast — and the command in Scripture to love our neighbor as ourselves...not on a surface level, but going deeper and truly loving those around us — extending grace and mercy — because of the grace and mercy we receive from Jesus Christ through a relationship with him. It reminds me to actively look for ways to reflect Christ to each other, valuing one another and offering help in times of need. Because we all have needs from time to time!

I just keep thinking — what a blessing to be part of this community of women!  Some are "old" friends and some I'm just beginning to get to know.The 4-hour drive gave us lots of time to get to know each other on a deeper level. On the drive home, besides getting lost, four of us shared our "stories" with each other — what we were like before having a relationship with Christ and how we are different after we accepting His free gift of grace and allowing Him to change us on the inside. Now that's going deeper! I think a friendship changes when you learn how she came to know Christ as her Savior. There's a deeper level of trust when you are honest about what your life used to look like and even how God is continuing to mold you as a Christian. Each story was so different! That's the beauty of it! God created us all differently, redeemed us and brought us down different paths to the exact place where we were on that retreat, investing in friendship and community.
 {Gotta have a group shot!} You ladies rock!

And a huge THANK YOU goes out to our amazing, selfless husbands for holding down the fort at home!

{Side note} It was my sweet Silas' first birthday while we were away. (We had a party the weekend before the retreat.) This is what my family did to celebrate his special day — a hike to Heublein Tower. I missed my boys and LOVED the squeals and hugs when I returned home. Daddy was proud that he "proved" he could handle them on his own. Do I see another getaway in my future?! ;)

Thanks for letting me share about my weekend and my latest project. If you've never been on a retreat, you should do it!! If you think you could benefit from joining a supportive community, here's a great one!

Love the anchor shirt? You can get your own here until they sell out. (Limited quantities.)

Want a 4x6 printable of the anchor design?
Download it here.

An 8x10 version of the Anchor Print is available in my Etsy shop.


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