Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Women's Retreat: Topic REST: Outcome BLESSED

WOW. I'm floored (and exhausted) when I think of the past few days.

I didn't want to go, because Mark had been gone so much the past....ummmmm....6 months....and he was going to be home this weekend. I wanted to stay home with him. So tempting.

The rest of the drama all started on Friday, when I woke up with a twisted lower back. You know, when you *pinch* something in the very bottom of your spine and you can't stand up straight? Can't get the pain out of your leg? Can't walk without being hunched over in pain?

yeah. that kind.

I iced. And heated. And spent a good deal of time on the floor, slowly....slowly drawing my knees to my chest....stretching that lower back...remembering that series of stretches my old chiropractor gave me to do years ago...the last time this happened....and I admit, they worked (with ongoing ice/heat and ibuprofen or aspirin).

Even though I wanted to stay home with Mark, with HIS prompting, I went.

I packed up, and decided to tough it out with my original plans, and while heading to the New Heights Women's Retreat I got a call from my oldest DD husband. WHO NEVER CALLS ME. So I KNOW it's something important. :(

Seems their dd #3 was in a fit of seizures (2nd time in 5 months) and they were waiting for the paramedics to arrive...

My job: PRAY!

But suddenly, AGAIN, I'm second guessing going to the retreat. How does that work?? I have a back out of whack, and they live 18 hours away by car...and it's at least as many hours to connect through flights to get there, and somehow I'm thinking I need to go back home to wait by the phone for an update instead of going to the retreat.

My super-grandma cape was tangled up around my glasses and distorting my vision. 

I arrived at the retreat site - lovely - out at New Life Ranch - and explain to the Women's Minister why I'm all puffy eyed and running late. She prays for me, waltzes me through registration, and sends a crew of women to pray for me, for my granddaughter (who is being life-flighted to the city hospital), and for my daughter and SIL who are desperately looking for someone to assist them with their 4 other kids so they can both be with the one in the hospital. (My heart is still breaking for them as I write those words.)

I'm distracted. I can't focus. I'm irritable because of my back pain, and my heart is divided - despite the amount of prayer I've gone through to be there. I keep thinking I need to leave. Be home with my hubby. Be in range of a cell tower (I SOMETIMES had one bar, enough to text, but not hold a call) and certainly not enough to stay on top of the changing situation. I'm SO confused!!

Despite all my uncertainty, I go ahead and move my stuff into my bunk house (12 women. bunk beds. need I say more?) and feel thankful I got a bottom bunk. WHEW. That was one of my "conditions of staying".... oh wait .... a "fleece before the Lord"..... (IF I get a bottom bunk, I'll stay....). Not only did I get a bottom bunk, but one that was larger than twin...maybe it was a full?? So I was staying for a little bit at least.

I was consumed with distraction over learning anything about the little one. My back hurt in the seats. But dinner was yummy (camp food has improved since I was a Cafeteria Lady at Maranatha Bible Camp in Everton!) and although I'm sure women were put off by my smeared mascara and puffy eyes, a few came up and prayed with/for me...

OH, that was my reason for going: To meet more (grown) women at church, and engage with them. I didn't see that happening at that moment, and I honestly thought about going home after the evening session. BUT then I learned that little one was being released from the hospital, and there wasn't really any reason for me to jump on the next plane after all.

(God managed without my intervention?? really?? - harumph! guess I'll stay through now... despite the full cabin...the box fan brought along for "white noise" by someone near me...the nest of spider webs I had to remove from the corner of my bunk...I was really too tired to repack and go back home...)

I awoke refreshed in the morning and ready to face the day!!

Lie. 

I didn't sleep a wink, tossed and turned all night, and my back hurt worse than when I got there. The shower was horrible, so I ended up bending over from outside the shower to wash my hair in there, sore back and all, and just pulled up my big girl panties and faced the beautiful day. I'd see it through.

Whining was optional.


The worship was intimate, although it did take me a bit to get into it...not sure what that was about...and the teaching was wonderful! The topic of REST was perfect, and although I thought that she'd be repeating information from a mutual friend's book, she was blessed with new words for my struggling heart to hear...and built on the shoulders of the previous lessons I'd learned. 

Quiet time wasn't too quiet - there were several other retreats going on at the ranch - but the sunshine that hit my face as I drew near to God on the dock, watching the canoes bob with the wind...it was perfect. I began to be restored. Renewed. Refreshed. 



And it got better with the day. It was lovely.

The weather was perfect...the nicest day of the year so far. I had decided to take time away with my camera and try to take some area shots to use for work, but there were a lot of people around so it wasn't as easy as I thought. Still, I managed to walk a lot, stay outside, feel the sun on my face and worship Him through enjoying His creation. Water. Blue sky. Fields of green. Horses. All of them captured in digital format on my camera. A GOOD DAY INDEED.


My note taking during classes was good for me. I didn't have to, but wanted to. I learn so much better, and love having stuff to rehash those thoughts with later down the road. I'll try to post some of them here - later - but am still processing them. Still learning. 

So far, in a nutshell, I'd say this: Rest is ordained by God - He created it (remember, that Sabbath Day, it was rest for Him after all that creating!). Reading the Bible is GREAT, and praying is necessary, but just as important is spending time with Him in stillness. Just in awe of who He is. Reveling in His creation. Allowing Him to speak to me. And when He calls me to REST with Him, and I don't, it's sinful disobedience, because REST is FRUITFUL. It's BLESSED. It's HOLY. 


My favorite scripture walk away...hmmmm....lots of good verses, but what hit me was Chapters 3 and 4 in Hebrews - which I drank in as I joined Him in REST on the dock... so good.

SO, thank you to the staff that put the retreat together, and to Sue Addington for her preparation for teaching us what God needed ME to hear (and others I'm sure). Thanks Mark for encouraging me to go, even if I didn't come home with a single new phone number in my contacts, I've got quite a few new faces to engage with at church (Lord, grow some kindred spirit friendships there!) and Praise You God for relieving me of the super grandma responsibilities and taking care of little one for me. 

Whew! I'm going to have to get better at that - seeing that they are preparing to head to another country in the next little bit - and me flying there won't be a possibility - and I don't think they're willing to leave all the grands here with me....

YES, I'm joking!!