Over the weekend 1,399 other women and I traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, for a mommy retreat called Dot Mom.  We spent 36 hours worshiping, listening to 4 incredible speakers, and attending 4 mini-sessions on specific parenting topics.  We also enjoyed sleeping through the night, getting to eat our food while it was still hot, and changing zero diapers.

Going into the conference, I had some things on my mind.  Things like how can I get some time alone with Priscilla Shirer so I can pick her brain about how she has achieved super star status in the author and Bible teacher realms.  Things like what is the next step God has for me in my writing and teaching ministries.  Things like what is my platform going to be on which I launch into reaching bigger audiences.

These have been questions on my heart for awhile.  And every time I see a prominent Bible teacher do her thing, these questions resurface for me.  So as I sat listening to 3 big-time Bible teachers and 1 up and coming speaker, I wondered if God would show me my next step anytime that weekend.

Well, He did speak.

He spoke about my need to study my girls more – how they work, what motivates them, what discourages them, what speaks to them, what their talents are, what their desires are.  And as I understand those things better, I can be a better mom to them, parenting them through their more difficult times instead of being mutually frustrated that they just can’t “get it together”. (One book I encourage you to check out is Raising Girls).

And God spoke to me about my marriage.  He encouraged me that pain always has a purpose.  If we have difficult times in our marriages (or in any other part of our lives), it is always to grow us closer to Him.  But it’s also so we can share our experiences with others who are hurting so that they might be encouraged that they are not alone and that God has a purpose for their pain.

And God spoke to me about a specific sin issue.  He showed me how it went much deeper than I had previously realized, affecting more than I thought it had.  He dealt with me pretty swiftly, and over the weekend He showed me why His discipline had been so extreme.  Turns out He knew I needed Him to be that strict or I would still be in the middle of that sin.

While God didn’t seem to speak to me about the one thing I wanted Him to direct me on, He spoke an awful lot during the retreat.  I was glad to hear from Him.

All that to say, it can be costly and difficult logistically to pick up and leave town for a weekend retreat.  But it is always worth it.  If you have an opportunity to get away from the norm and hangout with God, make every effort to do so.  (There is another Dot Mom retreat next year.  Start saving your pennies now.  Seriously.)  You never know what God will talk to you about when you are free of responsibility and take the time to hear from Him.