Early February is usually a particularly “dry” time. Winter has been in full force for two months now. By this time, cabin fever is running strong, and the prevailing feeling is to just “hunker down” and maybe hibernate until the cold gives away once again to the spring sunshine.
Thankfully, it is also the time for the annual CLS Midwest Retreat. I had been to several retreats before and, while it was always a nice time away, it was also getting to be somewhat “old hat.” Same long drive to Lake Geneva, same Bible camp location, same schedule, same frozen, bitterly cold winter. I knew this year was extra special after the retreat was canceled because of being in “lock down” last year. Yet I still was not really that excited about traveling all the way across the dull winter landscape of Wisconsin to Lake Geneva and just repeating what I had done for several years before.
But then God started working through the warmth of the CLS community to start refreshing and lovingly thawing out the dreariness in my soul. He began by leading a new Christian attorney here in Minneapolis, who also needed the warmth of CLS fellowship, to reach out to our CLS chapter leaders so she could attend the retreat. Amazingly, God had led her to the retreat through a random Facebook post on our chapter site that had hardly even been maintained. That miraculous work by God had certainly never happened in prior years! The ride with her and another dear CLS friend across dreary Wisconsin just didn’t seem as long as I had anticipated as our car was filled with fresh and interesting conversation. Thank you, Lord! Soon we arrived at the beautiful historic Bible camp by frozen Lake Geneva, and we were once again with dear CLS friends and family from Wisconsin and Chicagoland. Our CLS Attorney Ministries director, Lakuita Bittle, also joined us, and the warmth grew even more. Having Lakuita there was also refreshingly new! Thank you again, Lord! As I mingled, I met yet another new Minnesota lawyer who God also led to the retreat through the hardly updated CLS of Minnesota Facebook page. Another surprise and gift from above. God’s hand and guidance were indeed refreshingly apparent.
As the speakers spoke about various topics concerning faith and law, another type of dry and dreariness started to slowly fade away and be replaced with divine refreshment. The dreariness of my calling as a Christian lawyer with the daily struggles and tensions unique to the law sometimes make me wonder why I am in this profession. Wouldn’t it really be much better and glorifying to God to be somewhere else occupationally? Yet as each new speaker shared how God has worked in their lives through the legal profession, their stories renewed my passion and provided inspiration for me to keep running the race for His glory – just a little longer.
After each talk, I was honored to lead a small group discussion. God spoke even more as the law students and attorneys in our group all shared their unique insights by the warm fireplace. The discussion was so rich and deep, and I quickly realized how much I missed this fellowship. Each discussion session revealed how God is truly at work in my life – and in the lives of the others in my group – in such amazing ways through our practices and legal studies. We are truly bringing the light of God in such powerful ways into the often dark and dreary legal world. Thank you again, Lord!
My soul was refreshed by God in only a manner that this unique CLS Midwest Retreat setting could provide. Throughout the retreat, I was also able to refresh and encourage others as I mentored and shared my experiences and insights with law students and less-seasoned attorneys.
All too soon the retreat was over and it was time to travel back to Minnesota. What I thought was going to be “just another same ‘ol retreat” had not been that at all. I realized that never again will I have this same opportunity to fellowship so well with these unique and precious attorneys and law students. Never again would I have the benefit of their same Godly wisdom and insight. Never again will I be able to give to them from my God-breathed experience in the same way. No, it wasn’t just another CLS retreat in the dead of winter – not at all. Instead, our good and loving God surprised me and gifted me with a new and treasured time of renewal, ministry, inspiration, and passion with a unique group of treasured brothers and sisters. God was constantly working through it all to renew me and use me as His instrument in the legal world to His glory – and that will never get old.
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