The tops and corners of the trees where the sun’s gaze lingered longest turned crimson and trembled in the breeze. My five year old and I walked hand in hand down the pebbled path into the woods, our shadows stretching long against the browning cattails beside us. He scampered on ahead then, whacking branches with his grey stick. I pursued him down the path, keeping him in sight, protective even in the calm woods.

“When you want, we can fight bad guys,” he offered graciously, thinking of imaginary sword battles. I thanked him and we broke off the path into a wooded clearing of downed trees. Green moss crept across darkening logs that sank imperceptibly into the ground.

Finding a flat perch several feet off the ground with a branch backrest, I sat back, breathed in the clean earthy scent, and swung my feet. Daniel clambered over dead branches and hacked hollow at old logs, and I felt peace settle over me. An October blue sky peeped from behind the leafy canopy overhead, aspens and maples rustled all around us, and the sun poured golden puddles onto crisp brown leaves. My eyes found silent beauty everywhere and I named them aloud, thanking God.

Coming off a four-day women’s retreat at Camp Lebanon, filled with innumerable opportunities to meet, get to know, worship with and pray with women from across Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota, I have been seeing God’s hand all weekend. Speaking alongside Cynthia Ruchti, Kristen Spielman,Sarah Lein, and Jean Erbst, we dug into God’s word and encouraged each other to see God’s grace that chases –pursues– every one of us.

After a weekend of worship and wonderful women, I arrived home Sunday, counting God’s gifts and eager to see family. My family and I’ve cuddled, hugged, and lingered long these past days, soaking up time together before this next weekend’s second retreat. (Pray for this weekend, will you? Join us in praying God’s blessings on this new group of women and for us presenters that God would speak through us, for his glory.)

And our God–your loving Creator? He walks the pebbled path with you, pursuing you, chasing after you with his goodness and love every day, alert even in the seeming calm of the woods.

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  1. Floyd on October 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Awesome prose and words that warm the heart that knows the Creator of this place that was once paradise… and shall be again. Praying for your words and the women who hear them, may they hear the word of our Father as He speaks wisdom and love into their souls.

  2. Misty on October 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    This was a beautiful post, Jennifer… Just the words "… I have seen God's hand…" stirred my soul… perhaps a combination of jealousy and gratitude.

  3. Jennifer Dougan on October 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Amen. Thank you, Floyd, for your prayers for this weekend. It is such a treat to be there opening up God's word with them.


  4. Jennifer Dougan on October 2, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Hmm, thank you, Misty. Those times of seeing him at work are meaningful, aren't they? Too often I race through my day and forget to look for him, forget to ask to see him, and forget to see.

    He's moving in your life too, friend. I'm convinced of it. 🙂

    Jennifer Dougan

  5. Wise Hearted on October 3, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Sure would like to attend a conference you were speaking at. I keep thinking of Beth Moore words, it's our time girls, it's our time NOW. You are using your time wisely.

  6. Lisa notes... on October 3, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    This is beautiful, Jennifer:
    " to see God's grace that chases –pursues– every one of us."

    The imagery of God's grace chasing me down brings me a lot of peace.

    Praying for your second retreat to be an awesome time of encouragement and inspiration for all!

  7. Cheryl Barker on October 4, 2013 at 4:13 am

    I love the thought of God chasing after me with His goodness. What a loving Father! God bless your event this weekend, Jennifer!

  8. Jennifer Dougan on October 8, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Ahh, thank you, Betty! 🙂 We had a wonderful time both weekends. I wish you could have been there too. You would have loved the times learning ad worshiping together.


  9. Jennifer Dougan on October 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Lisa Notes,

    Isn't it exciting and peace-filled to picture him chasing us with his grace and kindness?

    Thank you,

  10. Jennifer Dougan on October 8, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks, Cheryl.


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