Camas is transformed with wildflowers in May. Every year, on the weekend after Mother’s Day, a horde of ladies swarms the meadow to enjoy the beauties of God’s creation and learn from His word.
This year the speaker was my own wonderful mother, Momma Smurf. Well, her camp name is Momma Smurf but I suppose you might also know her as Judy Baker.
Years ago, as she was caring for my stepdad during his battle with cancer, Judy discovered anew Proverbs 18:10–“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” As she clung to these and many other verses during the time of Dave’s illness, the Lord informed Judy that He would be asking her to share them with others one day.
Over two years passed. Dave died. She moved to a new home, a new role as “sweet widow lady with a fierce purse dog,” and a new occupation as the sole caregiver for her father. The Lord kept these hard-won lessons brewing in her heart and mind. Then the leaders of the Camas Ladies Retreat asked her to speak and she knew that it was time to share these particular verses with others.
During this encouraging weekend retreat, women from all over the state come together to relax in the rustic lodge, walk the forested paths, view wildflowers in the meadow, raise their voices in worship together, and dig into God’s word for a time of learning. It was a particular pleasure to hear more of my mother’s story during the chapel sessions, especially as I was there for many of the difficult times where she leaned on and learned from the Lord. The same circumstances that caused these verses to become precious to her.
In all honesty, looking at my mother’s circumstances, it is easy to feel like life and the Lord have somehow shortchanged her. We lost my dad when I was 14 and she was 39. Then Dave died before they had been married 20 years. She even lost her first feisty little purse dog (Don’t worry, we talked her into another dog).
But what she shared during the Ladies Retreat, was the way the Lord brought blessing among all that terrible hardship. He does not pluck us from this dark world, not yet. But He does walk beside is in all His strength, power, and comfort. I was blessed to be able to attend and to hear of the Glory of the Lord and His mighty power, even when everything around us appears to be crumbling.