I have a place I go, once a year, every year. I’ve been coming here for 6 years. Each and every time I step foot into this place, Jesus shows up and meets me here. We cry together, laugh together, grow together, fight battles together and rejoice in each other. We call this place “Women’s Refresh.”
Samuel had a place like this, he marked it with a stone and called it “Ebenezer.” Ebenezer is a “stone of help,” or a reminder of God’s real, holy presence and divine aid. Spiritually and theologically speaking, an Ebenezer can be nearly anything that reminds us of God’s presence and help, things which serve as reminders of God’s love, God’s real presence, and God’s assistance. Women’s Refresh is my Ebenezer.
The most beautiful thing about this place is the other sisters who journey with me to meet Jesus. Each of us has a reminder over the years of how Jesus showed up for us. Our journey has become marked by which Women’s Refresh we attended, who spoke that year, what cabin did we stay in, was that the year of the endless hike or the adventure park. Our growth in Christ is measured by each passing Women’s Refresh, the year I worshipped with my hands in the air, the year I taught or the year I would be giving the message at church. Our discussions become livelier as we remember more significant personal milestones like the year my marriage ended, the year our friend shared her testimony and started a new ministry, the year a dream center was formed, and the year the Holy Spirit broke loose and God. Showed. UP. Our stories are endless and show all the tender ways Jesus has been leading us through life together.
With each passing year, the ties that bind our sisterhood together grow ever stronger. We are strung together by the most pure love and grace. Friendships are forged on this hallow ground. Friendships are healed and restored. Sisters are welcomed into the family. Broken hearts are fiercely prayed for, fought for and won. There is no other place I can walk into a room and know His love so deeply that I could fall to the ground weeping for joy. And I have, every year.
God overwhelms me. His real presence, his assistance, his pure love, all cultivated on this sacred ground and nurtured throughout the year in real life. Without our Ebenezer, it would be easy forget God’s remarkable movement in our lives. Thanks to the example set by Samuel, we will always have a place of reverence, called Women’s Refresh.