Survivors Thriving Writing Retreat in Banner Elk, NCI needed so badly to find the words to express what this weekend meant to me because it truly does help me process when I write. But, I was finding this weekend so hard to articulate. To express my heart. Which if you know me, you know that’s strange because usually my heart overflows with words to write. I finally just closed my eyes and asked myself this question, “What was it that made this weekend feel like nothing I’ve ever experienced?” It was then my most favorite quote came to mind by Timothy Keller, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” There was no judgement. There was no “it’s too much” or “it’s too heavy.” There was no holding back for the sake of pride or embarrassment. For me too there was no wondering if they understand what Gabriel is doing right now is trauma and not behavior. There was only souls waiting to hear from the Lord and from each other. Where two or three are gathered the Bible says! Now imagine if these 2-3 or (12 women) knew each other’s past and loved unconditionally after hearing all the details… that is the love Jesus spoke about in the gospels. When we are open about what God already knows, our weaknesses are then laid at his feet and it is there he can get all the glory. Amen!!! Looking back today, I know that house had been prayed over. Those prayers for a safe space were answered. Prayers for a place of comfort and not of judgment where answered. That house was covered this weekend like I’ve never seen. That is why we can’t explain it fully. Because we were sealed by the hand of God and our hearts where open to receive. It was truly unlike anything I’ve ever experienced because that’s how much I believe it was sealed with the Holy Spirit’s safety net. I told my husband it was like the moment we walked in we took our shoes off and left them at the door. Except it wasn’t our shoes it was our pride. It was our fear. Though our burdens didn’t come off with our shoes. I feel like the backpack of our burdens got to sit beside us there in the living room as we unzipped the zipper and showed what we have each carried separately. As each item was brought into the light out of each persons heavy backpack the Lord helped each of us understand we are not alone. Once each piece was carefully revealed it was there that we could stand in front of the camera and speak so vulnerably. Not a soul in the room was judgmental, but rather was leaning like heavens angels waiting to cheer like a proud mother, sister, and friend even if we stumbled. It was there that we could laugh and cry.
In a room full of women there wasn’t a mean girl in sight. There wasn’t words behind backs or groups of women leaving others on the side to be alone. There was only true, selfless love and compassion for thy neighbor. I went into work Monday caring so much less what anyone thought because I found a place where it didn’t matter and that place was still checking on me even miles apart.
One of the girls there said I think this weekend showed us how heaven will be. I think she’s right. It will be free of judgment and free of pride. But, oh my darling the difference in heaven… there will be no more tears.
To my now sisters:
You daughters of the Almighty King I am proud and humbled to call you friends. You will always have a fighter in your corner in me and you are so loved. Your, “Mom Queen” Xo