Abiding in Him... Devotional Day 7

Today is our LAST day of our Abiding in Him series! We’re sad to see it end, but we hope it’s been something you’ve enjoyed. Drawing closer to the Lord and choosing to remain there is something we all can learn to grow in, and we understand that sometimes it’s a battle not to wander. So we pray you were encouraged to draw near, make an active choice to read the Word of God and REMAIN.

You can read Day 7 at the bottom of this post AND find out who WON the GIVEAWAY!


Let’s finish out the week of the retreat as well, and share the last two days of our retreat in Italy last month…

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Thursdays are another day we take off from the classes to go exploring on Lake Como. We LOVE this day and it’s usually one of the favorites for the women as well. Rita joins us again and we get on a private boat and tour the lake with Rita’s helpful knowledge. Then we get some time to explore the most beautiful villa on the lake, Villa Balbianello! It’s breathtaking from the water, but also up close as well.

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We have a wonderful lunch lakeside that we’ve shared pictures of many times before, but it truly is one of the most peaceful places for lunch. To sit just inches from the lake as it laps against the shore and sip prosecco while eating lemon ravioli and peach sorbet… it doesn’t get much better!

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Then we’re back on the boat and heading back to Bellagio for an afternoon to relax or walk off our wonderful lunch! Just in time for dinner too… because it’s our FAVORITE restaurant in the world for dinner that night!

Here’s some of the ladies on the boat taking in the gorgeous view across the lake from Bellagio.

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That night was a special dinner with everyone across the lake, so we got on a ferry and had our friend Lorenzo waiting for us to take us up the mountain a little ways to Al Veluu. Dinner was outside with a view of the villa we explored earlier that day.

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Thursday was a GREAT day.

Friday is always a little sad because it’s the last day together. We start the morning with devotionals again and then finish classes in the morning so we can give them the afternoon to shop or pack or a little last exploring on their own. So at this retreat we let them continue working on whatever project they wanted to. They could do more Bible Journaling, work on their Traveler’s Notebook or finish their watercolor and calligraphy art. By the end of the class we took a group photo with whatever they wanted to share in the picture! Look at all these beautiful ladies and their art… makes us SO happy!

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We had a HARD time saying goodbye to this group of women, and men and mancubs… hahaha

Just take a look at some of the pictures from our photoshoot later that night, before we went into our Michelin star restaurant at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni, our location for the the retreat all week:

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We ended the night with a fun little surprise we like to keep to ourselves… so if you come with us some day YOU will be surprised! And then said our tearful goodbyes to everyone. We know we say it way too much… but we can’t get over how blessed we are by the people that come to our retreats! We LOVE blessing them, serving them, loving on them and sharing these beautiful places with them. But in the end it’s the connections we make with everyone, and the DEPTH of connection that we have because we all love JESUS… it’s an incredible feeling! When I look at this photo above and see this BIG group that is now FAMILY and I know they will have not only memories with each other that last forever, but also connections that will bring them back together… I cry.

It was one persons dream to host retreats here, and with lots of prayer and hard work and a little fear, it felt like that was what I was supposed to do… and then it became SO much more than that. It’s not just taking women around the world to beautiful places, you can do that with all kinds of wonderful companies. In our hearts we know the Lord has shown us that it’s a women’t ministry to point them to Jesus Christ through His creation, through creativity and art and to connect them with other women of faith.

That’s what God has for YOU too…. a PURPOSE. You probably have one little dream too, something you feel the Lord has purposed in YOUR heart… and I’m telling you that you can step out in faith and PRAY it forward. See if that’s what the Lord is wanting from you, because if you are ABIDING in Him, if you are praying and seeking Godly counsel… you will know. It will never be easy and it will require trust, lots and lots of work, many tears and FAITH in God. Give your dreams to the Lord because God has a purpose for you too, and it’s to be a light to this world and to share His gospel in a way that is unique to you.

This is what we will be sharing with everyone next year at our retreats in France & Belgium AND next summer right here in Bellagio again. We know there are so many women who have dreams, we all have dreams. Maybe we’ve lost the inspiration for them or we’re holding onto things from our past that hinder our ability to move forward them. We want to share how to find rest, we want you to take the time to be still in His presence, to explore and meet new friends and be restored, so that you can move into the purpose the Lord has for you!

We can’t wait to meet everyone next year and see what the Lord has for us here! If you’d like to join us, we talked about the retreats yesterday on the blog and how many spots we have left.


Thank you to everyone for following along! Here’s the last day of our devotional:

Abiding in Him - Day 7

I hope you were sweetly encouraged this week to ABIDE in Christ.

As we abide and see new fruit in our lives, we see the power of the Holy Spirit, and it opens our eyes to what an incredible Father we have!  We can see that to be “in Christ” means to experience the abundant life that He wants for us in Him.

1. Don’t forget the WHO. I know there is such an easy path to letting our old ways come back.  Living for ourselves again, trying to control our lives, or worrying and forgetting to take the time to truly draw near and abide.  Then when the trials come, we look to every “how to” book or person we admire for answers, instead of the One who is our true helper.   Please remember this:  the question we should be asking is not “how”…  the question, and answer, is in the “WHO.”  All the “self-help” books out there can only reveal your problems, they can’t fix them.  So it’s not about the how, it’s all about the WHO!  Who will help, Who strengthen, Who will provide… the difference is in Who is working it out.  And we know that it is the power of the Holy Spirit who helps us and intercedes for us!  (Romans 8:28)  From the moment you believed, God has provided you with everything you need to live this life in Him!

2. Spiritually ALIVE.  From the very first day we were born spiritually, we became sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Do we actually realize that we are heirs of THE royal throne? (Romans 8:16-17)   2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” How sad it is to realize how much time we waste through self–imposed spiritual deprivation or exhaustion, always looking elsewhere for answers instead of abiding in Jesus Christ. We end up robbing ourselves out of the blessings of God's wonderful grace and power in our lives!  Acts 1:18 says: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  We can be spiritually alive and be a light to this world!

3. Abide in the Vine.  Let’s end with some ways that we can stay connected, refreshed and renewed daily in Christ: 

-  Be in the Word daily.  Be engaged in it, meditate on it.  Seek to know Jesus more.

-  Pray.  Seek time alone for this. Ask the Holy Spirit to come within you & work in your life.

-  Make a choice to be joyful.  Give thanks, even with it’s hard.

-  Worship.  Praise the Lord.  Put on worship music around the house or in the car.

-  Find things to be thankful for.  Even little things and write them down.
-  Rest.  “Be Still” and know… 

Abiding in Christ is the most satisfying, peaceful and life-giving place we can be.  It opens our eyes to see His indwelling in our lives, which leads us to seeing His PURPOSE for our lives!  My prayer for you as you end this week is that you will continue to "abide in the vine,” staying connected to Jesus, relying on Him as you remain rooted to Him.  

Ask yourself today:

1.  How do you see yourself in Christ now that you’ve learned more about abiding?
2.  Read Ephesians 3:16-21 and ask the Holy Spirit to empower you today!
3.  Rest in His love and peace.  Know how much He loves you.
4.  Pray David’s prayer in Psalm 63:1-3 “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you’ my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.  Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”

John 15:11   

Love,

Laura McCollough


GIVEAWAY WINNERS ARE:

Janet Bracewell & Tammy Circeo!

Congratulations to both! Please send us your mailing address and we’ll get those out to you next week!

Next week we will share some of the artwork that came out of the classes as well as the new Traveler’s Notebooks we’ll have up in the shop soon!

Have a GREAT weekend everyone!

I’ll leave you with a photo of me and my two youngest daughters who were my helpers at the retreat this summer. Thanks to Caleb Simons for capturing so many great photos from our week together!

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Hugs to all,

Laura McCollough