It is interesting to me to see how God speaks to Rick and me differently. We both came away with some different things that the Lord was speaking to us about. After the events of my week, I could see how God had been preparing my heart to receive His message to me of forgiveness, grace and reconciliation and how I need to actively give those in certain areas of my life. He also really put Isaiah on my heart. God impressed upon me that he needs to feel secure in our family. I feel like this year is going to be critical for him in his ongoing process of bonding and connecting with our family as he wrestles with the tension of the life circumstances he has faced up to this point.
If you are going away for the purpose of seeking God, I would recommend asking some of the prayer warriors in your life to be praying and seeking God for you as well. We have a few of those people who heard from God on our behalf through this weekend and those words are invaluable to us.
Here is a glimpse of my time away:
This bag makes me smile. It is the exact opposite of who I am. Rick got me a PINK outfit for Christmas(black sweats and pullover), and this came free with the purchase. He and I laughed so hard when I opened it up on Christmas morning. I decided it actually was the perfect size for my getaway bag. I would not use it if I thought people were going to see me carrying it. I am not a pink, sequins, VS kind of girl!!
First stop on my way to the hotel, Sweet Tea
I always call the place that I am staying and ask for an early check-in. I want to grab hold of every minute I can to make the most of my time.
My first order of business, a nap!
My 24 hour oasis
The view from the deckRick came over after work on Friday to have dinner with me. It was a great time to process all that God has been revealing and also launch ourselves into the weekend. I am not always a fan of hotel restaurant food, but this place was good.
1. Holy Bible - self explanatory
2. The Help - Wow, this book is really opening my eyes. I am not naive to the place our country was 50 years ago, but I had no idea the full extent of the racism and hate that existed. It grieves me, and I feel the need to be educated for Isaiah's and Laila's sakes.
3. Journal - given to me by a friend for Christmas. I am thinking it will be my "thankfulness journal."
4. One Thousand Gifts - another gift from a friend. It is challenging me big-time. It is taking me a long time to read. I don't fully connect with the style of writing, but I totally need the message. It is not an "easy read" for me. I have to read slowly, think, process, reread, and then pray as I go along through the book. It is the perfect book for this season in my life.
5. Journal - this book has many tear-stained pages in it and this weekend was no exception. It is hard work to keep a journal, but I am so glad I have the journey in writing, the good and bad all intertwined together just as it is in life.
6. The Purpose Driven Life - this book is revolutionizing my life. I resisted reading it when everyone was on the "purpose driven" bandwagon in the Christian community. I have to say that my pride has caused me to miss out. But, then I see how God had this book for me at this time and am so thankful He brought it to my attention after the last year of my life.
Music was also a big part of my time away. God really ministers to me, challenges me and speaks to me through music. I set my ipod to shuffle in the worship playlist and was amazed by what He did. The first song, "Everlasting God" spoke exactly to this last year, "strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord." Waiting on God was a huge theme for us last year. The next song, "Bloom Again." Wow, I feel like that is where I am, ready to bloom again! Next song, "Whatever You're Doing(Something Heavenly)", my theme song for last year. Then when, "Your Grace is Sufficient" came on next, I was reminded of God's grace in my life and challenged to offer it to others.
What trip would be complete without a little chocolate?
Chocolate from Swaziland to be exact!!
Another tip, I would share is to make sure the hotel has a microwave and fridge in the room. I pick up my food before I go there and keep it in the fridge. Then, I do not have to leave the whole time I am there. That keeps me from wasting time going out to get food.
My traditional lunch, Panera!I came back on Saturday afternoon to be with the kids while Rick had his time away. I had all these grand plans of coming home and continuing my time through the evening. Yeah, that didn't happen. Even after only one night, reentry is hard for me. Going from such extremes really tests my patience.
I got up on Sunday morning and really asked God to speak to me through my time at church. He did just that. As we were driving to church, my theme song for last year, "Whatever You're Doing(Something Heavenly)" by Sanctus Real came on the radio. I realized that I didn't have a song for 2012 yet(yes, I must have a theme song for each year). The first song at church that morning was "Never Once", and I knew immediately that should be my song for 2012. If you haven't heard it, you really should. It is on Matt Redman's album, "10,000 Reasons." The next song, "Grace" reminded me that even though I couldn't see it, the last year of my life has been God showing His grace to me and it is now time for me to give that grace to others. I had tears on Sunday morning at church. That is not unusual for me. The last year has involved a lot of tears, especially at church, but these tears were different. I felt like God had taken my tears of mourning, sadness, and loss and turned them into tears of joy, gratefulness, and hope. It was powerful.
Even though the weekend is over, I feel like God's work is only beginning. Thank you for everyone who prayed for me. I would ask you to continue. I don't want to miss ANYTHING God has for me or my family in 2012. I think it is going to be a big year!!