Everyone needs a little down time — a little time to get away from the regular routine and be free to be themselves in a different environment. This little break comes every year at this time in my life in the form of a women’s retreat with the ladies from my church, The Church Revived.

I’ve been attending this church for eight years and every year I am excited to see the new faces and feel the new energy that comes from this event.

We usually head up to the mountains of Gatlinburg, Tenn., and take a long weekend away; just us, our luggage and God.

When a group of Christian ladies get together, there is no telling what might happen. There was plenty of ministry time and sessions taken to bring our  minds to the true reason for this trip... to remember that in God, we are free to be ourselves. But there was also plenty of time for fun, and we utilized every second of the fun time also.

One night we even moved all of the couches out of the living room and myself and a couple of other girls danced with the older ladies from the church until about midnight. Loud music and dancing wasn’t what they were probably expecting on the trip, but they sure didn’t seem to mind when they were dancing so hard their dentures were falling out of there heads.

Trips to the mountains are a wonderful experience in the fall. The leaves were just starting to turn brilliant reds, yellows and oranges. The weather was cold and even rainy one day, but you couldn’t complain when surrounded by such a fun house full of women.

I did get the short straw when they decided to bunk me in, what I lovingly referred to as the “prison room.” The prison room was a room with 20 bunk beds and only two bathrooms. You can do the math on that. There were no open bathrooms throughout the house, so everyone had to use the ones in their rooms.

Amazingly, there wasn’t one lady who got her hair pulled or cursed at over the restroom set up — that I know of. But it did shoot me back to my old summer camp days as I tiredly crawled to the top of that metal bunk bed every night. Believe it or not, getting up is much easier than getting down those things. It didn’t help that it shook like an earthquake when I moved in the least bit and the sounds coming from that metal could have been used in a horror movie.

Although the trip only lasted three days, there was plenty to be thankful for. Not only was the food wonderful, the lessons well taught and the shopping deals to die for, but it was a great time to reconnect with the ladies who help me walk through my everyday life at home. These ladies are the moms and sisters that hold our hands as we meet various challenges throughout the week, and I wouldn’t take anything for the relaxing time that we had the privilege to spend together.

If you ever get the chance to run off with your church or civic group for a weekend outing, do it. You’ll probably enjoy it more than you care to admit and if nothing else, it will help you know the people who you interact with better.

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