Breaking Chains in Gatlinburg

Beauty Begins with Biscotti: Break every chain
This past weekend, I was honored and blessed to be part of something spectacular. Four dozen women from Carroll County, Kentucky met six women from Freedom Fellowship Church in a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains. The hills were alive with the sound of worship and laughter. The torrential rain did not keep these women from hearing the Word of God spoken over them. The smell of rain surrounded the lodge and quieted the birds and woodland wildlife, and it was in these quiet moments that the glory of the Lord was made known through stories of life-changing experiences with the Word of God that resulted in freedom in Christ. 

This marked the second time the ministry team hosted a retreat in the mountains, but the first time that we hosted women outside of Freedom Fellowship. And it was a blast!
I grew up in Ohio, so my new friends from the Bluegrass state felt like neighbors to me. Each one of these ladies loves the Lord, believes in hard work and doing what is right, and understands the joys and demands of raising a family. I enjoyed hearing tales of their childhood and youth, and they were tickled that some of us had never heard of a few of their country sayings. 

It was a privilege to share my story in that mountain chalet, nestled in the beauty of the trees and clouds. Honesty and transparency prevailed as I explained that at age 24, I received Jesus as my personal savior, but it wasn't until age 40 that I began to experience the joy of my salvation. It was at the latter age that I truly understood that God loves me, Jesus died for me, and I can trust the Word of God. These revelations have allowed me to experience freedom in Christ, and it was a delight to encourage my new friends with glimpses of my journey. 
What I took away from our time together was that we all have a story to tell. Followers of Jesus are to be the salt and the light of the world. We get to add flavor to our family, neighborhood, and community by living an abundant life in Christ. We get to share the hope and joy of Jesus with our friends and family. We get to show the world that beauty begins with trusting God.