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It was August 2016 and Andy and I bought our very first camper. We were officially empty nesters and determined to make the best of our new title! Our daughter had just gotten married a few months before and we needed new adventures. We found one of our favorite camp spots near Gatlinburg called Greenbrier Campground. It’s just miles from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

As we packed up and headed home, I noticed a small sign called “Roosevelt Lodge”. I was so curious about this because I thought I had heard of everything in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I immediately Google it to find the most spectacular place I had ever seen! I just immediately felt relaxed as I viewed the photos and watched the video.

I knew this next season was going to be life changing for Andy and me! I was anticipating getting to spend time with Andy, knowing that both our kids had flown the nest and were happy! We were free birds! I knew Andy and I would have so many great adventures together but I also knew it was more important than ever to surround myself with women who understood this season and to invest in my friendships! I told Andy that I knew one day God wanted me to bring a group of ladies to the Roosevelt Lodge. I didn’t know when or how (especially after I saw the price, whoa) but I knew God told me that day it would happen! (disclaimer – this will be for another blog post but surrounding myself with women and investing in friendships has taken me years upon years to do because of past hurts).

Little did I know that seven months later I would be on staff at Brookstone Church, leading the Greeter Team - a team of the most amazing people that I had ever me and a team filled with women who loved Jesus and loved serving!

As I celebrated my first year in ministry, I was tired. I had been working 50+ hours a week at Brookstone, running a part time photography business, Mommy Mondays and all the other duties of life. I quickly found myself so exhausted – running on empty without time to rest and relax.

I began to observe that so many women around me - close friends, other team members, just women in general felt the same! They shared with me how they needed to rest, relax, and be REFRESHED!

As we were packing and cleaning to prepare to move into our house, I found one of my old journals where I had journaled about Roosevelt Lodge! And there it was…the place, the people, the theme…refresh.

Fast forward to this past weekend when we had our very first Lady Greeter Team Retreat at Roosevelt Lodge. We did it! Ladies from ages 37 to 70. Some who had never been away from their kids, some who had never been on a retreat, and many who were feeling so alone and not connected with other women. We were all tired before this weekend and we came back refreshed.

I never imagined the day I looked up Roosevelt Lodge and God told me I would bring a group of ladies, that my life would be changed forever as a result.

I realized how easy it is for the enemy to fill women with lies about insecurities, our past, guilt, hurt and to isolate us so that we remain feeling so alone. This makes us live in fear and blocks us from what God is calling us to do. So, what is God calling you to do?

So many of us continue doing things that drain us and never slow down to spend time with JESUS! We need to rest in His truth and promises so we can be refreshed.

If only all weekends were filled with getaways, fun, friends and time with JESUS!

When you can’t get away for the weekend – start with this:

  1. Set aside a time to get away with Jesus - place that you can just breathe, just relax, and hear HIS voice, ie. a coffee shop, picnic table, a walk outside.

  2. What energizes you? Think about your energy supply. If you’re like me, you are finding your energy supply as you get older is not as infinite as it once was. Regardless of age, some seasons of life can quickly deplete our energy supply.

  3. Identify your “Fillers” and “Drainers”. Fillers are things that fill you up when your running low! How about quiet time with Jesus? Time in the Word of God, prayer, music, reading, serving, reading a blog (hint hint), laughter, singing, dancing… Drainers are the things that can deplete you like filling up your calendar, too much time on social media, the news, negative people, junk food, etc.

  4. Take a look at your drainer list. Are there things you can remove?

  5. Take a look at your filler list. How often are you doing these?

Until I made this list I had no idea how many things on my drainer list that I had control over and could remove. It’s so easy to allow drainers to take up all of our time so we are filled with the negative.

As women, we take care of everyone and everything around us with no time left for ourselves. How can we fix this?

  1. Give yourself permission. Make it a priority!

  2. Remove distractions! Do you find yourself scrolling on social media and never spending time with people face to face? Invite a friend to lunch. Joining a Bible study or a Lifegroup.

  3. Be honest with Jesus and pray about it! Find someone to share your list with and keep you accountable.

  4. Make it happen! No excuses!

  5. Fun little extras - schedule a massage, try a yoga class, go for a walk. Get outside on those sunny days and soak in the sunshine!

Friends Jesus wants us to rest in HIM! He is the only way the only one that can REFRESH our souls!

We are chosen, accepted, we are HIS beloved! Live like it and be refreshed!

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