Toward the end of December, 2008, God impressed a name upon my heart. He told me I needed to get together with Jerald. Jerald is a fellow church family member, and he happens to be the one who “called” me into pastoral ministry back in 2002.
Now, Jerald was not a stranger to this idea, as I had shared it with him seven years ago. I have learned that when God lays something on my heart, or speaks to me about someone or something, I need to listen. So, after many emails, we met, and I shared with Jerald what we were now thinking in regards to Women Refreshed at the Well.
Because of Jerald’s profession (architect) I felt that I needed to ask some questions of an expert ~ such as how do we build a combination personal home and retreat house. I loved the idea (proposed to us by our kids Josh and Leah) but I was not sure if this was even feasible. So, we talked. At one point in the conversation, Jerald told me that he would be willing to take the project on (no charge) if he could be on board from the beginning, and also if he could do it for me since we are friends. Okay ~ I have to tell you, this totally thrilled my heart! I had not expected this at all!
Our conversation there at The Old Spagetti Factory cemented ~ over and over to me ~ that God is in all the details. I found out that during Jerald’s university time, he had to design a Spiritual Retreat Center. With a turned over paper place mat, Jerald drew a diagram of an idea that we could do. He told me that he was not at all surprised that God was stirring this up again.
Before we parted ways, Jerald told me that as soon as we found some land, to let him know, so that he could come and “walk the land” with us ~ as it is important to put the right house on the land, not just any house.
You have to know that I drove home from that lunch so excited!! At this point, we did not have land picked out. However ~ God was working on those details!!
Shortly after this visit, I left my pastoral position for an unpaid leave of absence. I had requested a leave of three months. A number of things made it very clear that I needed to totally “step out of “ ministry and take care of myself which included begin to walk through our grief . I felt like it had to be stuffed inside while I ministered to others where they were at. On January 15th, I worked my last day, and left to begin my leave. There were no expectations other than I knew I needed to do some “sitting with God” ~ I knew that I needed to just “BE”. (Now if only Women Refreshed at the Well was open to go to!) I have to say that the words of scripture “Be Still and Know that I am God!” were constantly resonating in my heart!
One day, in the beginning of March, Josh said to Alvin and I, “If you guys are thinking of buying land for your home and retreat center, you need to just do it, otherwise you are going to be sitting in the same place a year from now.” (I really thank God for the wisdom and support of our kids, all four of them!) The next day Alvin and I, along with Josh, Leah and Michael ~ went and “walked a piece of land” that Alvin and I had seen on Henderson Hwy.
Alvin and I had talked once in a while about owning property on Henderson, but little did we know that God had something exciting in store for us and the ministry SOON.