What a special, memorable time we had in Rome! God blessed us in so many ways. I'm just delighted by how the Lord loves on his people...and especially how He loved on the JV ladies!
First of all, He blessed us with beautiful weather - the first day was so nice we were in short sleeves and sunglasses! A welcome change from the snow and ice we had driven through on the way to the airport.
We had sweet times of relationship with each other - in the car, on the plane, sitting at restaurants, walking through Rome, late at night in our rooms.
We ate great Italian food which was a true gift from two dear friends who gave the resources to make it possible for all dinners out for 34 women to be paid for - thanks L and D! You know who you are!
We were nurtured and tended to by the Lord in all sorts of places throughout Rome. So many of the sights were breathtaking and inspiring...from the Sistine Chapel, to the art galleries and many fountains throughout Rome, to flower markets and piazzas where you could enjoy cappuccino or gelato - all of that was wonderful and refreshing!
On Thursday the women were given the entire morning to ask the Lord how He wanted to specifically tend them, and then to go and do as He instructed. I think that was one of the most meaningful times of all. Some went for walks, some sat in art galleries, some shopped, some prayed, some wrote, some read...it all depended on what their "Vinedresser" wanted to give to them as He tended to their vineyards.
A number of us did more than one thing that day...I took a bus by myself to the prayer chapel at St. Peter's Basilica and spent time with the Lord which was really meaningful. Then I took a bus back, listening to my iPod and feeling like I was in some girl movie in Rome! After that I bought a purse (what woman isn't tended to by a little shopping?!), looked for some gifts, listened to some Italian music in a bookstore, ate lunch at a sidewalk cafe, and then took a leisurely walk through the streets of Rome to the Colisseum where I met up with all my JV sisters for photos (that's the one at the top of this post). It was a perfect day...and a great retreat!
Thank you Lord! You are so good at taking care of us and tending our vineyards!
PS. The picture just above is at Trevi Fountain with my long-time friend and JV teammate, Theresa Kerns! It was a joy to spend time with her there!