There's this feeling of excitement I get when I know that I'm walking in Him, not in the world. It takes over all of me, from head to toe. Though He keeps reminding me that this is in His time, I can literally feel my heart leaping forward trying to run ahead of Him....while He sweetly whispers to me, "abide in me, I've got this." My usual response is "I will" then I let my flesh pull me along. When I lose my patience, I can feel the same old worldly attitude taking over......"you can do this, you are doing this, or I am doing this." I struggle, as I know we all do, with remembering that it's Him not me who's completing the tasks He places in front of me.
So, this time was no different. God provided for me to attend a retreat like I've never experienced before. This was a time He was going to grow me like NO other, I could feel that I would never be the same again. That Him taking me across the country, literally, would make me a different person. A woman blessed by the gifts He would share with me. Amazed by the way He would fill me, to overflowing....learn that truly abiding in Him, was not just something I said, it was the way I lived.
On a hot, humid day in the desert I boarded a plane.....for the first time in longer than I can remember. Grateful to have my sister in Christ beside me & for the "Dramamine" she shared with me. As the plane began to taxi down the runway, I looked at her & said, "no turning back now", she smiled & said "nope." While in the air, I looked out the window & saw we were in the clouds. I was looking down on brown/red with little dots of green every so often, quickly it turned to a little brown with green mostly.
We landed at our destination for the night. Met her dear friend, I'll call M & waited for another friend, she reminded me of an actress so I'll call her AJ, to arrive a couple hours later. Then headed off to M's house for the night. When we arrived her family came out to greet everyone & help us carry in all our bags. I felt as though I arrived home.....the next moment solidified it....as she walked me to the room I was blessed to use while I was there, the very first thing I noticed were the huge frames on the walls holding many pictures....it reminded me of home. I was filled with the feeling of being home. Covered in the peace I've come to know as obeying God's call.
The next morning I was up bright & early, excited for what lay ahead.....a road trip to the retreat center......about 14 hours driving straight through. I can say that I was a little nervous, I didn't know any of these women.....there were going to be another 4 women to meet. Rejection has been an issue with me, even when I haven't realized it was rejection. God assured me with His sweet, calm whisper that He was in control & again whispers "let go, let me." Here they came all laughing & glowing, I noticed that like Special K & M & AJ, there was a freedom about them. One that I knew I was craving, but had yet to understand. Introductions began & I met C-1 & C2, then came little J & miss L. I knew that God had a plan, but I was still a little nervous. We loaded all our bags & headed out.
I did notice as we got closer & closer to the retreat center, the green got lusher & thicker. We all laughed & shared & laughed some more. Special K got a text from an old Navy friend MC asking where she was heading & when Special K told her where & why, she knew God was telling her to invite MC, after all there was only 1 spot left. MC said she would pray, see if she could get a few jobs covered & if so, yes she would love to. We shared some of our stories & it seemed like a lot less time than it was when we dropped M off for a party she couldn't miss in the same town as the couple that opened their home to us. We pulled up to M&M's house & out Mr. M&M came to help us, it was now late & we all were ready to lay it down....or so I thought. Special K & I were sharing a room/bed...in this cute little farm house. She started talking to me about her experience at her first retreat years ago, sharing how God revealed Himself to her. I could feel Him whispering "come to me" I told her I wanted this too, she prayed with me. Shared about repenting for our sins, for holding onto the pain others had caused us is indeed a sin. She shared how she had repented those sins which emptied her of pieces of the world so God could fill her with Him. So I started releasing my grip on the pains of the past, laying them at the cross. Emptying me of me, then I could literally feel God filling me with more of Him, deeper parts of Him. After the intense introduction to Him, I fell asleep & didn't move an inch all night.
The next morning I woke up ready to run to the retreat center....I felt on fire. I got the opportunity to share a wonderful conversation with Mrs. M&M. The start of the chat was about baby girl having Fibromyalga & the struggle I had understanding such a young woman struggling with such issues. This conversation quickly turned to what God had for me next which was not about baby girl, but about me & how I was manipulating my relationship with my Sweet Hubby. See when holidays come up, or our anniversary, my bday, etc...He will ask what I want, to which I always reply "I don't need anything." So when the special day comes along, I anticipate what he might surprise me with.......& everytime, it's the same thing, NOTHING. Then I get upset & take it out on him & our family. He's confused, he gets defensive, I lose it, & around & around it goes. Well I have no idea how we got onto that subject but she shared how she used to do that until she was told that this was her fault, not his. He was just doing as she asked, he didn't have any idea she was secretly hoping he would go out & surprise her, nor would he have ever figured it out. So, here I am helping cut tomatoes & God is speaking to me through this amazing woman of Christ. Telling me to stop expecting a change, unless I was willing to make it....wow that was all I could say.
We left their home & headed out to our retreat center once again. This time however, M & AJ were riding with another sweet friend, J. So our truck was down to 6, which was much more comfortable for us all. It seemed to only take a couple of hours to arrive at the center. As we arrived, Special K got a text from MC & her prayers were answered & she was coming to fill the last spot. So, we were blessed with a room with 3 beds & started to unload before heading off to dinner. As we unloaded our bags, I saw many other women doing the same. None of which I knew.....
PART 3 COMING SOON........