by Hope Sewell on March 20, 2011

in faith

I’ve been trying to update forever it seems like and I am just now getting able to.  Keith and I spent most of our week last week in the Smoky Mountains attending Sherwood Baptist’s ReFresh conference.  Traveling is really not something that I enjoy, especially when it’s without my children.  I have a super hard time relaxing and enjoying myself outside of the comforts of home….MY home!  I really do wish I was just a little bit more of a free spirit in this area.  Keith LOVES to travel and he’ll ask me a lot…”Don’t you want to see ______?”  My answer is normally “no”.  My line of thinking is as follows….this world is fallen and broken so why leave my home and pay to see the broken stuff when I can go for free with Jesus in the new Heaven and new Earth!  ;)So I prayed A LOT before and during this trip.  I really hoped I could enjoy our time away and I was able to more than I thought I would.  Our creator God truly showed out in the Smokeys. 

I liked the ReFresh conference because it is a conference that is made for both pastors and their wives.  And the whole point of it is to get “refreshed” and rejuvenated.  I loved the fact that it’s a small group, by small I mean around 300 people, and it’s a very intimate setting.  Other than Michael Catt, the speakers were men that I’d never heard of before (which really isn’t saying anything….I don’t really keep up with other pastors and such).  But I know who they are now and have a great deal of respect for each one of them.  It has been a long time since I have heard God’s truth so spelled out and so plainly spoken.  God used them each to speak directly into my own life.  The ultimate thing that I took away from the speaking sessions was the fact that I am in love with idols.  I myself have spoken and taught on the subject of adultery with God and yet I still partake in adulterous acts constantly!!  I even pray for God Almighty to protect my idols!  I THOUGHT I was better about this but I was mistaken.  I idolize safety, security, health, my children, my husband, my ideas and plans and the list goes on and on.  How sad and unfortunate.  I’m so very glad that God is never content with me.  He never says, “I’m done with her.  I don’t think she can go any farther.”  I’m so thankful that when He looks at me, covered with my stains of indulgence and adultery, He sees the blood of Jesus and the final product.

Every day had a morning session and an evening session.  We had the entire afternoon to do what we pleased.  We spent a lot of time in the national park enjoying God’s creation.  His goodness and majesty is so greatly displayed there.  I love to be outside.  I’d really love to camp inside the park.  We’d have to have an RV though….I like “being” outside…not “sleeping” outside.  😉

We were also able to go to lunch with a couple from Sherwood Baptist one day, Gary and Kathy Thompson.  They were so encouraging and just enjoyable to be around.  Spending time with them was truly a blessing.  We had our first Apple Barn experience.  😉  We both agreed that the Apple Barn is like Cracker Barrel on crack!!  We have so enjoyed some apple butter, strawberry butter, and pear butter since we’ve returned.

This was a view from our hotel room.

These yellow flowers were everywhere! 

We spent a lot of time here picking out rocks for Tobin’s rock collection.

Watching taffy being pulled is an incredibly “Caucasian” thing to do.  LOL!!  But there is something so therapeutic about it.  I bought some for the children but didn’t buy some for myself!!  MISTAKE!  I forgot how much I like it.

We had a ReFreshing time!!  😉  And I think we both received more than we ever expected to.  It truly was a gift that we were able to attend.

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