Proverbs 27:17, “As Iron Sharpens Iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
Women’s Retreat 2019
Years ago, after I resigned my Army commission we immediately left FT. Lewis, WA for my husband’s new duty assignment to Ft. Rucker, AL. Five years earlier, Ft. Rucker was where we met as active duty soldiers and fell in love. Now on our return, I was no longer a Soldier but a full time wife and mother. God had worked a miracle in my own heart to lay down my career in support of my husband and young daughter. I know that my Godly friends in the Ft. Lewis area were a huge reason why I was able to obey God’s leading and choose my family’s needs over my own desire to stay in the Army. Their words of encouragement and their prayers for me helped me follow through on God’s leading and exit the military. I will admit I was a bit afraid because I had SO much to learn in every area of my life in my new role. The Lord in His amazing love for me allowed us to move on to post in the heart of a wonderful neighborhood full or caring and supportive military families. I was immediately overwhelmed by the love of the military spouses who embraced me, a young wife and mom who knew very little about being a keeper of my home. I had been a full time Soldier just surviving in the many roles and responsibilities I had before leaving the Army. One of these caring families was actually dear friends who we spent a lot of time with at Ft. Lewis. Only God could have assigned them to our same location at the exact time I would need a Godly mentor and friend as I transitioned into my new role at home. This was a new season in my life where I actually had time to seek out Godly women and be sharpened in my actions, words and love for my husband, family and others as I watched them live their lives and as I allowed them to speak into mine. This was the beginning of my understanding of the importance to have Godly mentors, women in my life who could apply my heart to instruction. (Proverbs 23:12) My foundation of faith grew as I purposed to spend daily time in God’s word and pursued relationships with Godly women who were willing to encourage and sharpen me in my role as a woman, wife and young mother.
Over the last four weeks I have had so many opportunities to be with other Godly women, both young and mature in faith, all wanting to learn and grow in their relationship with Christ.
My first event happened at the beginning of the month at a women’s retreat for military spouses. As women began to arrive and check in, connecting with their roomies for the weekend, I was touched by the love of the women one toward another. There was an excitement in the air, as women began to connect and begin a creative project of designing their own journals, ready to write all God would teach them throughout the retreat. There was an expectancy that God’s presence would be felt and that He would speak through worship and the guest speakers. Women were thankful for a beautiful place of refuge and rest. Listening to the ladies interact and watching their kind gestures of welcome made me smile. I did not grow up in a church where such intimate relationships were encouraged. I also did not grow up in a family where making or seeking to make new friendships was normal. Learning to allow other women into my life, to teach me, correct me and love me well has been a stretch for me but absolutely instrumental in my growth as a Christian. The retreat was another opportunity in my life to learn from and interact with women who sharpened me.
My next opportunity involved my own beautiful daughters. My girls will always be a precious treasure in my life. I have adult daughters and teenagers still in my home. Some are married, two are now momma’s, but all are my sisters in Christ. They demonstrate their love to me by sharpening me with actions and words. They are always praying for me, especially my teenagers who encounter my weaknesses on a daily basis and they each sharpen me through their words of encouragement. But most importantly, they bless me with their friendship, allowing their mom to still speak into their lives even through many are now adults. One example of this happened as we spent Easter weekend with my second daughter, my son-in-law and our two oldest granddaughters. We were so grateful they invited us. The joy filled moments were a blessing but the significant thing God began to teach me was about our role as mentors in the lives of my daughters and son-in-laws. During our visit over Easter, there were a few opportunities that presented themselves for my husband and I to sharpen and encourage. Our second daughter and son-in-law asked our advice reference child training a strong willed two year old! We shared from our experience and wisdom given to us as we raised two strong willed children. We were thankful to have wisdom to share in this new season as a grandparent. I was thankful in the moment to remember God’s word to sharpen one another. (Proverbs 27:17)
My last opportunity to experience God’s design to sharpen one another came in the midst of a bi-monthly gathering of military spouses in a small group that I co-lead. The small group began in my home 14 years ago. This group has blessed me for a very long time. God has used it in my life to meet my own needs, teach about God and His faithfulness and to encourage military spouses to spend time with Him every day so they accomplish all He has for them. This past Saturday we gathered and the level of vulnerability and trust we experienced was a gift from the Lord. It allowed these precious women to share their hearts, be encouraged, be prayed for and be challenged to more with their individual relationships with the Lord and in the calling He has placed on their lives.
May we remember to embrace God’s word and be ready and willing to sharpen in love those in our lives in their journey of faith. May we open our hearts and allow others to sharpen and instruct us. May we recognize the importance of close friendships and seek them to help us grow and mature in our relationship with Christ which impacts every area of our lives.
Passing on generational wisdom and experience.