This week is rather quiet around the retreat house. I (Joy) left home early Friday morning, kissed my husband good-bye, and left for my destination - Glen Eyrie retreat and conference center - in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO. I have been hear before in October of 09 when I was part of NewWay Ministries School of Spiritual Direction Class #33. (or SSD) (for more info, check out www.newwayministries.org) This ministry is under the direction of Dr. Larry Crabb (or just Larry as we call him this week, which I might add is somehow hard for me to do! lol)
We were asked to bring back our manuals for this week - which is called Next Step. And hidden in the back of my manual, I see my handwriting and these words, written four years ago: "I come with no expectations other than a strong sense that God had something big in store for me personally and in regards to future ministry."
Seeing those words written four years ago, as well as thinking over some of what we heard the first night of school on Friday night, did a few things (I wrote about this in my personal blog www.thoughtsfromacountrymouse.blogspot.com)
But I think the overriding thing was that I stood in awe of what God has done in my life, through me, and often I am sure - in spite of me!! I stand in awe of the healing that has taken place - and the brokenness that I was in, and how God has restore the shattered pieces of my life (and our life as a family following the silent birth of our first born grandchild). I stood in all as I remembered and recalled the faithfulness of God to us.
The other thing that I stand in amazement at was how God took these last 4 years, and it was full of soul searching, and pain, and forgiveness and change. It was full of adventure and risk and learning to live fully in what God had in store for me. It was years full of building, and building and building some more, and in God's timing, seeing this ministry come to the point of starting - 13 years after God gave me the vision for it.
I stand in awe Lord .... I stand in awe of your marvelous works!
So, as I said, I am back at school. I have come to experience in my life, the fact that we are often in conversations. Some of it is merely fluffy - not even scratching below the first coat! I want (and I believe I have already experienced that women/men want) "conversations that matter!"
Our focus this week is on what does it mean to engage in conversations that matter - and to bring the Trinity into our relational world.
I am here, in this beautiful setting, taking it in, asking questions, spending time in "quads" talking and unpacking what we have learned. I am here being led into worship that is about lament and living. I am here and involved in meaningful conversation, fully aware of God in our midst. There is no words to describe the joy within my soul - as I seek, and ask, and listen (and repeat it all) and go off to sleep with thoughts running through my being.
The ministry that I referred to in my quote from SSD 2009 ... that is the ministry God has called us to - Women Refreshed at the Well. And it is my joy and great delight to anticipate the meaningful conversations that will take place, and have already taken place in our ministry house.
God is at work - to Him be the glory!
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