Tuesday, February 4, 2014

COMFORT: Day 1 with my accountability group

At Hasty Lake road, an old haunt - a final visit
This is the first of four days with my accountability group. We're on our final retreat together before two of us move away in June.

Twenty years ago, God brought us four together to hold each other accountable to pursue a relationship with himself - and each other. What a ride it's been!

Comfort. That's the word that sprang to mind yesterday as we rolled up the driveway to the house perched on a spit outside Penn Cove. This Coupeville rental is surrounded by water on three sides. It's darling - decorated to the hilt with sea treasures and themes.

Why is our group special to each of us?

Leaning in: at the gates
of the house where we stayed for 12 years
The kitchen view, early this morning
Breakfast counsel and conversation
  1. We formed to journey together, with strict boundaries of confidentiality. These women know me almost as well as my husband does - and better in some areas than he.
  2. We are all married to our original husbands. The oldest has been married 50 years. I'm the youngster with a mere 36 years of marriage.
  3. Our ages span 15 years. That means we have a pacesetter to say, "This is what's coming." We observe culture and faith from different perspectives.
  4. We are reasonably fit and in good health. Each of us exercises and tries to eat wisely. We are still mobile and active.
  5. Our children have matured over 20 years. When we started, our youngest kids were in kindergarten. Now, the oldest are in their late 40s. We spiritual "aunties" have prayed them through their challenges in growing up, health issues, getting married, and having their own children.
  6. We are all hospitable. So we've had 20 years of fantastic meals together. At one point, we considered scaling back to minimize preparation as we hosted in our homes. Nope - we couldn't do it and the beautiful table-settings and delicious menus continued.
  7. Our group is a priority. The first 15 years we met every 3 weeks, with 2 weekend retreats a year. In recent years, we're all traveling so much that we meet less frequently - and we don't always schedule retreats. But these women are at the heart and soul of every other interaction - we've knocked a few rough edges off each other, cautioned each other when we became unbalanced, and prayed and counseled when we were confused or in transition.
A relaxing lunch overlooking the ocean
I am so grateful - and comfortable - with these women. They've become true friends of the heart over 20 years. For anyone who has no safe group for sharing the joys, triumphs, and traumas of your journey with Jesus, I'd say, take the risk. What could be more helpful than consistent, trusted perspectives and encouragement?

All I can think as I relax with these three proven friends, is, "Thanks be to God for his wonderful gifts! Love you, Patti, Phyllis, and Willy."

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