‘Joy in the journey’ theme for the Cascade Division women’s retreat
by Captain Lisa Van Cleef –
MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS—More than a dozen sets of mother and daughters attended, and there was even one grandmother-mother-daughter set.
Dealing with a tough time in her life, Pam Farrel realized how difficult it was to answer the polite greeting, “How are you?” She says, “I could have lied and said ‘fine.’ Or, I could tell people my life story. Or, I could tell them about my decision to live joyfully.” Holding her hand up and cocking her head, she now answers those polite inquiries with this spiritual truth: “I’m choosin’ joy!”
That’s the lesson 150 women who attended the Cascade Division Women’s Spiritual Retreat in Bend, Oregon, took home with them. By the time Farrel, author and speaker, was done with them, the women were pros at the hand and head gesture—and had learned about finding “Joy in the Journey.”
Following a travel theme, Farrel spoke to our need to have a “passport” to joy, peace, and grace, and a plan for this life God has given us. Farrel reminded the ladies that Christians are like envelopes—each unique in color, purpose and size, each carrying contents that are uniquely created by God. She explained that as women journey through life and its many phases, they will face many different circumstances and choices.
“Our initial reaction to life should be joy,” she explained. “Why? Because God inhabits the praises of his people.”
In addition to learning from Farrel and her book, The 10 Best Decisions A Woman Can Make, the women had their choice of workshops. The options ranged from “Quilting on the Fly,” about making a full-sized quilt while only carrying materials that will fit into a Ziploc baggie, to “Squeeze the Day,” about making lemonade when life hands you lemons, to “Companion on the Journey,” about sprucing up one’s prayer life and relationship with God.
Another key aspect of the weekend was the annual prayer walk, held on Sunday morning. Each lady traveled to stations where the emphasis of prayer was slightly different, focusing on releasing different “baggage” that might keep someone from a joy-filled life. The final station reminded women that in the journey of life, it is God who carries burdens, allowing each woman to release fears, concerns and pains into his capable hands.