Laura Rhoades shares her story of saying "yes" to deepening her relationship with God and other women in the mountains desipite wrestling through whether to stay with her family or not. We hope you will be encouraged by her story.
I grew up as a pastor's kid, overall it was a great childhood - trials and triumphs. It wasn't until my adult life that I began to deepen and grow my relationship with Christ. That is also when a lot of my deep-seated struggles of anger, control and expectations really started to show up in my daily life.
I was in a faith-based program to help me with my struggles when a good friends approached me about going on the trail with WayForward. Oh the excuses I threw at her - one was leaving the family for that long of a period of time, which would be hard. After many conversations I realized it wasn't a good enough excuse not to go, so I signed up. The ultimate motivations was time away for myself - very enticing - and getting to spend time with women I already knew and deepen my relationships with them.
The trail was full of so many amazing experiences, conversations, hearts healing, bonds forming and hearts transforming. But the one undeniable truth I took away was God calling me to lay down my perceived expectations and control of my family and to live and love with abandonment. To get out of the safe harbor and set sail, letting God breathe life and adventure into the sail. It hit me so hard and changed me so deeply that my family noticed almost immediately.
Having been on two trips, I can remember when I was asked to go on the first CrossFit Richardson girl's WayForward trip. My first response was “Yes, I always love a good adventure.” What could be better than a road trip and mountain adventure with the girls! Ultimately that was the deciding factor for me: a chance to deepen the friendships/community that had already been planted here at CrossFit Richardson. Relationships are a big deal to me and any way I can get into deeper relationships with those friendships, I’m willing to go all in.
From 26 total hours on the road to 96 hours on the trail – I got what my heart enjoys and what God made me for…adventure and deepening and strengthening of relationships – some new, some old. Being on the trail bonds you together so intimately, you rely on each other for strength to take one more step, encouragement, and laughter. It also very quickly calls you to the Lord for strength when you feel you can’t go on. My first day on the trail my prayer life was deeper than it had been in a while, literally each step was a wisp breath to help my feet continue on.
There will be trial and triumph on the trip, but what I learned was that through adversity it grew my faith and trust in God. Also, this trip grew my friendships with the incredible women I was surrounded by during the week. From stepping off the trail to today I have seen God consistently show up and continue to forge my relationship with Him and in the friendships I have with the other women that shared the journey with me.
If you are like me and feel it's too daunting to leave your family for a week, I want to encourage you to think and pray on it. God will supply your needs. He wants you to have time to retreat away and be refreshed in Him. It will only strengthen your calling as a wife and a mom. Don't delay - sign up and forever be changed.