|Ozark Conference Center, Solgohachia, Arkansas|
...and I thought re-entry from Haiti was bad...
A dear friend of mine hosted/put together/organized/spearheaded/launched the first ever Captivating Arkansas event this past weekend at the Ozark Conference Center in Solgohachia, Arkansas. She is AMAZING! It was EPIC!
I think for me the big surprise was when she asked me to teach a couple of sessions. Really?!?!?! I wanted to explain how I was in this weird spot of trying to figure out my gifts, purpose, and calling among a litany of other excuses...of which I had ample supply of worthy ones (Come. On.), but I agreed...without pause.
My to do list is pretty full on the easy days, and I haven't seen an easy day....well, it has been awhile...plus, I am SERIOUSLY in this weird place of questioning with God. Think "Walking With God" by John Eldredge without the fancy chapters and grammer.
|He sent them JUST when I needed them. |
These are hard days for my heart.
I headed up to the mountain after work Thursday with a packed car (mostly dirty clothes...read my last post), a heart full of words, and a lot of peace. This was my friend's show. I was a small bit player in a sea of talent for Jesus. No pressure. I was going to be an encourager and wallflower.
What. A. Douche. I. Am.
I was taken aback by how easily I cruised into the camp. Caterers were late so I was on time. My friend blew it out of the water the first night. My teaching lesson came to me on the drive up (I am thanking God for not waiting until the last minute to give it to me), and I am organizing it in under an hour after the Thursday night session ended. I go to bed (early considering I expected an all-nighter), and I am sleeping like a log. I wake up early...before the sunrise...make coffee, snuggle up on the back porch in my quilt, and feel utterly peaceful considering I teach at 9 a.m. An hour or so later, I take a shower, more coffee, a bit of fruit, get dressed, have my favorite outfit and jewelry on (think cargos, t-shirt, sweater, and Haiti jewelry), and I am relaxed and at ease back on the back porch rocking in a rocking chair at 20 till 9. Then 7 mins till 9 happens. My business partner calls my cell (I am thinking he has called to pray over me as I reminded as I leaved the day before...speaking at 9 a.m....say a prayer), and I am thinking he remembered and is being extra sweet. Nope. Long story short. Very bad news at the office. He is losing his noodle. Everyone is losing their noodle and after 2 mins of listening to the noodle-losing, I lose my own. The enemy pulled the trigger and the bullet hit its target. Damn.
The story doesn't end there though because quickly I regained my noodle reminding him where I was and what I was about to do...my other partner, sensing the moment, prayed for me. Simultaneously one of the men who was with us had seen/heard through the wall...and was headed for me to do the same.
I don't know how, other than God, that I pulled my head out and taught that session, but I did...solely because of God. It was such a stark reminder of the battle I am in...Every. Day. for my very heart. It is SO very easy for me to be pulled in....scratch that...SUCKED IN to the cray-cray (Sorry Sydney) of the day...heck of the moment. I can go from perfect calm and peace of Mother Teresa to Jesus throwing a fit in the temple so fast that it even scares me. Where. Does. That. Come. From.???
Fast forward...still reeling from Friday morning (and multiple calls with the office Friday afternoon did not help, but before you judge, I am an owner in the firm, and it isn't just saying no), I cruise into Saturday morning in a daze. I have nothing to teach Saturday, so it feels like a day to just be in the moment. There are breaks (3 hours) in between lunch and the first early evening session. I felt compelled to head out to the edge of the mountain where there are three crosses, some wooden pews, some rocks, and a view that takes your breath. I laid out a blanket, my Bible, books, notebooks, pens, and my cell phone planning to take some time...my cell phone was dead...God said, "You can't hear me with that music playing."
|My spot for three hours Saturday|
For the next three hours, I laid there and prayed, slept, prayed, listened, listened some more, read my Bible, took notes, and BREATHED. Somewhere in the middle of it, I knew it was one of those "special days" and I tried to make it last....but eventually I had to pack up for the next session.
|I love Isaiah 62 where he promises a new name.|
But...not before God gave me a new name, 'splained a few things to me, and reminded me powerfully...and then gently....who I was to HIM.
|Standing on a rock, on a mountain, wondering where he is going to take these feet of mine next. |
I don't spend enough time LISTENING to God. I spend too much time reading about him, talking to him, running (I do a lot of running), and zoning out (whenever I can find some free moments). He and I need more time together, and I can't go where he is calling me unless we do. I think I have been avoiding the quiet with him because I am scared of what he is going to tell me. I didn't feel ready. He reminded me that he was already taking me there, ready or not, and I was so busy being afraid of it...I hadn't realized I was already DOING it.
A lot of people let my heart down on Friday. That day was BRUTAL to my heart.
In the end, it was just me and God.
|Peggy took this photo of me praying Saturday; I will treasure it always.|
The clock struck 9 a.m., and I walked into a room of women and opened my mouth...and God came out. Truly God. It was beautiful. I have spoken a lot but not like that...it was different...peaceful...full of community (if that makes any sense)...I am crying just remembering and typing this out. I. Was. In. Love. With God, with those women, and with the story God was weaving in my words. I didn't want it to end.
...and the HUGS. These women HUGGED me like I was a life raft. I felt more loved and needed by those women. If only they had known how they were healing me, restoring me, and reminding me...of who I am.
Life is surprising.
I don't know where I go from here.
What I do know is that I more excited than ever for the Girls Weekend I am doing in a few weeks. A whole bunch of 13-20 year olds who want to spend a weekend with me so we can all discuss Jesus and the hard stuff. God that is so good. Because Jesus is easy, but the rest of it...the rest of this life, in this world...is HARD.
I told those women this weekend that I wouldn't lie to them about how radically obeying God was easy and awesome. How once you make that decision, everything falls into place. How the questions are suddenly all answered. I told them of all of my sins, lying wasn't one of them, and that I would be the one (maybe the only one) to tell them straight up ~ #growthsucks ~ because it does, but...BUT it is worth it.
Some mornings, days, or evenings sitting here in a sushi bar typing up a blog post while listening to men lose their noodle over a football game...I wonder where on earth God is taking me, but then I think of how far he has brought me from that heartbroken, broken-spirited woman back in 2012 to today, and I shrug my shoulders and say, "Whatever." because I trust him.
I completely trust God.
I love the women from this weekend, but God gets ALL the credit for how AMAZING it all was...I hope they realize the teachers were being taught too...by God...and by them.
It. Was. Beautiful. ❤️☀️
|I love this shot captured by accident Saturday.|
***So much more to write, but my heart is processing this SO slowly...need a little time. Special thinks to my new #tribe members, but extra special thank yous to my #C7 tribe who propped me up with and in prayer throughout the weekend and sent me words of encouragement. I could not have made it through what God was leading me through this weekend without each of you...your actions, your heart made ALL the difference. Thank you from the deepest parts of my heart.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)
Labels: Captivating, Captivating Arkansas, Captivating Arkansas 2014, John Eldredge, Ozark Conference Center, Solgohachia Arkansas, The Cross