"Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."
I been quiet on sharing everything at once for two reasons. One, I'm afraid if I share then it will lose it's 'Wow, I can't believe I'm doing this' factor (and right now I just want to soak that all in). Two, because I wanted to make sure that this was right for me.
Sunday morning, after an exhausting night of sleep, I woke up more tired and run down than I had been in days. I think in some ways I had a false sense of "okay" that caught up with me. Because I'm not really okay, not right now, but I want so badly to be okay that I'm trying to fake it until I make it. That stuff doesn't fly with God, you know. He can spot a faker from light years away. So just as He knew I would do, I broke down and came crying back to the alter of His love begging, pleading, for a break.
In so many ways I still have this disbelief. It feels exactly like losing my parents again.. I have moments where I literally have to put my phone down and remind myself that I can't send that funny text, ask that random question, or share that Godly inspiration. It hurts. Down to the core of my being. Heartbreak is like the flu. It aches in places you didn't expect it to. It comes on quick and catches you at the worst time. It takes you out... Mind, body, soul... pure exhaustion.
So I'm here, trying to just be better. Trying to hold all the pieces together of what's left and desperately praying for mercy. No more, God. Please. Spinning and toiling away, putting on a happy face, posting the positive statuses, sharing my heart with all that I've got... and I love being and doing these things, but it's so very draining.
I can't tell you how pressed I was on Sunday afternoon. I had it in my mind that I was going to book a random hotel in NH and I was going to go this weekend, find a place to enjoy a hike and God's nature, and then to soak in His word all day. It's what I crave. I want this solace so bad. I spent an hour googling this trail and that, wondering how in the world I was going to scale rocky paths on my own. But I wasn't even that particularly concerned. I just wanted to go. Remove myself for a few days. I even tweeted about it:
"So tempted to get in my car and just drive. I just need a break from life for a while. This is just all too much for me."
"I need a place I can be still. No commitments, no one to have to talk to, no plans to fulfill. Just be alone. And quiet. Forget this world."
"I was so close to booking a hotel somewhere far away and just leaving. But then I remember how much of that money can go to #SSGives14."
"So with this in mind I'll quietly just keep on fighting this battle in my heart and praying one day a cease fire is called. #LordPlease"
The day carried on with it's usual frustrations that come once you wake up on the wrong side of life. This includes walking face first into the side of the door that I thought was open, banging up my nose and forehead and being 20 minutes late to a baby shower where I knew only the mama. (If you knew my anxiety in these situations... Oh, man!)
There were many tears.
But there were also many heartfelt conversations with God. I don't know what I said, really... but I know I needed to talk and He was all I had.
Fast forward to Monday as I am messaging my friend Kelly to find out how the Influence Conference was. She attended this year and it's such a big part of my hearts desire, to attend a Christian Women's Conference in 2015. I knew sales just opened up for next year so I wanted to get her take on it.
We chatted back and forth and she shared a few other conferences that sounded good as well. Then she told me I should check out the Return to Rest Retreat. She shared a few things about it that she thought would resonate with me. I immediately looked it up and fell in love. First of all, it's in driving distance so that's a huge bonus. I love road trips and good music. It also mentioned being made for us creative folk. But, really, anything that promises all the hot chocolate my heart desires is right up my alley.
So I looked into registration information. I realized several things that immediately put a damper on my excitement. It was in exactly 4 months. It's $600. Oh, yeah... and there's only one spot left.
Cue the sad song playing in the background of my heart. I shared my deflated feelings with Kelly and she encouraged me to trust God for this. She doesn't know this, but that is one thing I've wanted to develop with God. Trusting without reason. I've been asking Him to show me who He is, His power and His love for me. Her words struck a chord in me and I could just hear our friend, Annie Downs*, sitting there saying the same. I recently have been reading "Let's All Be Brave" and Annie tells these stories of God coming through that just make you want to be put in a position to see His power. I guess this was my chance, so I chose to be brave about it.
I called 'my mom' and asked her something that I never ever do. If I could borrow money. I gave her escape plans and wanted her to know that in no way did I expect her to say yes. Nor did I want her to feel pressured.
Meanwhile I prayed to God that if this spot wasn't for me, that He take it away. If it wasn't His will for me that the answer would be No. I know in my heart that tithing and bills are first and foremost. But I also have something special planned for the holidays and I didn't want this to jeopardize what I've already invested towards this either. (More on that another time). I spoke all this to God and begged Him to take it away if this was just a ridiculous spur of the moment pressing on my heart.
|Photo Credit: Return to Rest|
Long story short? She said she would do it. So I went online and checked and the registration spot was still there... I half expected that by the time I finished and clicked submit that it would pop up an apology that the last spot had sold while I fumbled away on Paypal. Once I had my confirmation I even went back to the website to see if it would let me buy another ticket, nope! Sold out!
|Photo Credit: Return to Rest|
So now I have this great adventure booked... and I'm so excited... Maybe I'm premature in sharing this because I still can't put it into words all the reasons why I am so hopeful for this opportunity. But here's a few reasons why...
It is a retreat for the weary. For those who are exhausted from life. Who want nothing more than to press into God and find rest in Him. There's worship, fellowship, and of course resting. Because they describe it so much better than I can, here's a partial description from the website:
"Return to Rest is a retreat for faith driven, creative entrepreneurs. Our goal is to create an intimate environment where we can create community, cultivate rest, and develop a deepening strength and understanding in our identity in Christ."I kind of laughed at how it all came together. How this is exactly what I wanted. What I stopped myself from booking just the day before. Nervousness and doubt creeped in when I realized that they only have 8 attendees! Yup, eight! Big gulp!! So I frantically emailed them to make sure it was okay I was coming even though I don't own my own business. The response was so welcoming and I just knew in that moment, this is exactly what God wants me to do.
I also can't help but think of the urgency of this commitment. That God, knowing my heart, positioned me at the point where there was only one spot left. No time for thinking, no time for excuses why it's not for me. No worrying about breaking down on the highway 3 hours from home. No thoughts of how bizarre it is to go spend a weekend, with ladies I have never spoken to, to talk about God. No second guessing when I realized that it leans slightly with a focus on independent business women. No time for budgets and rationing all the reasons why this isn't the right time. God knows me so well!
I realize now, this is the right time, the perfect time even. I believe it.
I'm so excited to see how this helps shape my life in the future. I have no doubt that God will show me things I never expected. I have this expectant hope that He's going to come through for me. I'm always so interested to hear other people share their stories of 'how they do it' so I'm looking forward to gleaning lots of insight from the other ladies. I've also had some big dreams placed in my heart and I know if this is God's will for me then He will open doors and windows to get me to where I'm going. Did I mention how excited I am?!
I've always craved a winter getaway to the quiet snowy places of the world. With a hot drink and a good book nestled in my lap. Just a time to be quiet and still for a while. I never imagined that this dream would come true one day, especially in this way. Leave it to God to surprise me with this and have it be all for His glory.
So truly humbled.
*Disclaimer: Annie and I are fictional friends. However, if she held sign ups for new friends, I would be the first in line. :)