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I’ve taken a lot of trips with ladies and teenagers as the youth pastor’s wife or the pastor’s wife. We always have a great time and create some wonderful memories.

But I’ve noticed as I’ve aged, it takes a little more effort to spend a night away from home and not sleep in on a Saturday morning in my own bed.

But after my last ladies weekend a few weeks ago, I told myself, it’s just something I’ve got to keep doing. The Fresh Grounded Faith conference was in Springfield Friday night and Saturday until noon. I received such big blessings, I never want to miss out on what God has to teach me.

Sure, I’ll be honest, when I was trying to pack things, I just kept having the thought I was going to miss date night with my husband. (We don’t do fancy. Just eat out and it’s sometimes a movie or TV at home … with my warm blanket on my lap!!!)

But this year, I knew I needed to go to support the others who desired to go. So I went. 

Jennifer Rothschild is so encouraging and honest with the lessons God is teaching her. The other speakers were Tammy Trent and Angie Smith. Both were a great blessing. And I always enjoy the music of Michael O’Brien — former lead singer with New Song back in the day. He’s written a funny song about Chick fil A, turning 50 and giving him room when it's time to praise the Lord.  So along with the emotional tears shared with the speakers’ stories, we laughed a lot too.

All of this brings me to a point. I promise. There are times when we need to get out of our rut and be stretched. Even preachers need to hear other sermons and insights other than their own. Sure it costs time and money, but it’s an investment in yourself and others.

I’ll never forget the time I was rolled up inside a roll-a-way bed and pushed down the sidewalk of our hotel. Or the trick we played on a lady with a brand new car. She was so afraid it would be stolen from the parking lot, or gummy worms discovered under the covers. 

One time, I surprised a van full of ladies when I rolled down my window and yelled out of frustration at the road construction in Kansas City that kept us going in circles as we tried to leave town. We ended up in Kansas instead of heading south. Worst construction redirect I’ve ever been in!!! Thankfully, it was an empty interstate on a Saturday afternoon. Now, I know why it was empty … no one wanted to go to Kansas!

Also, as the PW and usually the driver, I learned to pull a trailer. Even though I practiced in the church parking lot, I never got the hang of backing up a church trailer. I booked us in a hotel (ONE TIME) that didn’t have drive around access in the parking lot. When I couldn’t get the trailer to let me backup as I needed, I went inside and asked the male desk clerk if he could back up trailers. He said. Sure. I handed him the keys. Then we laughed about his job description that probably didn’t include helping stranded PWs with a trailer that had a mind of its own!!!

Laughing at yourself is really so healthy. Sometimes when people only see you on Sunday morning, they can’t imagine you could get frustrated and scream at no one in particular as you drive in circles toward Kansas.

So the next time your church is advertising an out of town retreat or Bible Study (code word for adventure!) you need to do all you can to go. Get out of your comfort zone and let God speak to your heart. You never know when a roommate will be going through something you’ve experienced. You can share what you learned and how God worked in your circumstances.

I promise your family will survive without you. It usually helps them appreciate you a little more. I still remember seeing smoke come out the door when we lived next door to the church as we returned from a ladies retreat. I think hubby was trying to cook … firetrucks were not needed … but still makes me grin at the memory.


Donna has written for the HDT for more than 19 years. When off the clock, she enjoys writing for children, teaching piano lessons and being a pastor's wife. The Braymers have three married sons and daughter-in-laws and 9 grandchildren.

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