This past weekend, the kids and my husband treked out to LBI to participate in our church’s spiritual retreat. From everything I heard from attendees, it was a wonderful, exciting, fabulous weekend. I helped coordinate the weekend and I am very happy to hear how wonderful it was. I only wish I’d been able to enjoy it the way everyone else did.
I was there–but didn’t get to participate in it the way I was hoping. Sometimes our walks with God, our conversations with the Spirit, don’t occur according to our timing. In fact, I’d say that our true God moments never occur according to our watch.
For me, the weekend was a stressful conclusion to a stressful week. I had three kids I was trying to supervise and missed a lot of the message while I was herding my cats.
Then a storm threatened to cut the family ski trip short (we normally leave for skiing the day after we return from HCBC. So while my husband and children (at least most of them) were in the Sunday service, I surveyed the campus, trying to find all of my children’s belongings. A lot of times, the only way I know that Erin has been somewhere is that she leaves a trail of clothes behind. I found her ski jacked in the hotel and her poncho on the floor. I routinely get calls from places saying, “We have The Girl’s _______(insert clothing item or accessory) here.”
The moment the service ended, we jumped in the car and began the 2 hour trek home. The Baby decided to feed off my stress by crying for the first 1.5 hours of the ride. She hadn’t slept all weekend and was so far off her schedule that she didn’t know which way was up. I just drove. I wanted to get home, reload the car and kiss my husband and kids goodbye.
See they were going skiing and I had decided that The Baby (aka The baby who never sleeps) and I would stay behind.
We got home from LBI at 2pm. By 5pm, they were back on the road. And then I got to begin my retreat.
I wasn’t expecting it, but the quiet house became my sanctuary. My now-sleepy, snuggly baby became my walk with God.
Most people who know me would say that I’m an extrovert. I’m outspoken and (I think), funny. I sing in a praise band. I’m a stand-up trainer and perform drama in my church. Yet I’ve always considered myself an introvert. Last year’s retreat leader actually clarified it for me during our introduction meeting. He said that an extrovert gets his energy from being with people and spends it when he’s alone, and an introvert gets his energy from being alone and spends it when he’s with people.
I get my energy when I’m alone. I can be around people, can entertain people, can enjoy people, but they drain me. When I teach all day, I’m so quiet at home–I tell the kids that I’ve run out of words. What I’ve run out of is energy.
There is a part of me that wishes I could enjoy the retreat the way everyone else seems to–don’t get me wrong–I did have fun–ask anyone who saw me wearing my baby doll pajamas at the fashion show skit at the variety show. But I didn’t get to take away some of the things that everyone else did. I had my a-ha moment, my time to hear God’s voice the day after the retreat while sitting in the silence of my living room while holding my daughter.
God’s timing–not ours.
Two things I did take away from the HCBC retreat where Bob Wolf’s words, “Pray as though it all depends on God; act as if it all depends on you.” He also said that we need to engage in more strategic praying–asking God how we can put legs on our prayers. More on these later…