Why was this retreat so important? Well, those of you who have been following the blog over recent months have seen how I have been struggling with the huge adjustments of this past year. I was loosing myself. I was forgetting who I was (am) in Christ.
For those new to the blog, here's the short version:
~Raising seemingly insurmountable funds to adopt our daughter, the majority of which were raised just weeks leading up to our trip in March (never borrowed a penny - PTL!)
~Preparing and packing for and taking a 2 week trip to China (even as I type this, it's still hard for me to believe that we actually went to China!!! woah.)
~Diving head first into mothering a transracially adopted child - an "active" toddler (that would be the polite way of stating: way-too-smart and way-too-fast for this aching-back, sore-knees, low-on-sleep, heading-towards-forty mommy)
~Moving to a new house and community, where the city is beautiful and friendly, but nothing is normal or consistent or comfortable, and the parsonage still doesn't feel like home
~Joining a congregation much larger than our previous one, with all of the expectations and responsibilities that come with the new position / role as pastor's wife
These were the big adjustments. But then God gave me a Re-Adjustment!! (God, the Great...Chiropractor??) He changed my whole outlook on life. Here's how Romans 12:2 puts it:
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
I was getting bogged down to the point where I couldn't see my way out. But I could not - no, I would not - stay in this place of despair any longer. My life, my family and my walk with God were (are) much too important to continue letting myself slide down into the pit of hopelessness, doubt and discouragement...and into the enemy's waiting hands.
'he' seeks to kill, steal and destroy. (John 10:10)
'he' prowls around me seeking to destroy my life. (I Peter 5:8)
God is SOOOOOOOO much stronger. The Battle is already won. So I needed to seek out The Victor. I had to take some uninterrupted time away to study and reflect upon God's Word, and to pray and listen to His message for my life.
Here's what I did--
I told Eric that I needed a prayer retreat away, and he agreed this would be of great benefit to me. He said he was glad to be a "single-dad" for a few days and would "handle things". He gave me his blessing and support, even though this would mean some juggling of his schedule (thankfully Noelle has Tues/Thurs preschool) and some intense one-on-one time with our rambunctious toddler.
Then I called my parents and invited myself over for a few days of the following week. They were more than happy to offer me a place of retreat. So with 2 bibles (I like reading in different translations), a spiral notebook and a willing spirit, I headed to Knoxville.
What a precious time it was!! Mom and Dad gave me plenty of space to hide away in the guest room for times of study and reflection. We prayed together and sung praise-and-worship music together on several occasions. My parents loving listened as I shared my new insights and the lessons God was teaching me. Then I listened as they shared from the wisdom of many, many years loving God. Ahhhhhh. This time was like water to a dry, thirsty soul. Thank You, my Heavenly Father.
I took 5 days to focus on God. I asked Him to chip away the old yucky parts of me and replace them with something beautiful and new. My energy is now focused on God. I am back to letting Him guide my steps and give me the energy and rest I need. I am now looking with great anticipation to the future. I am enjoying my life again! PRAISE HIS NAME!!!
I wholeheartedly recommend taking these steps of transformation if YOU find yourself in the same condition I was. Lean on your support system of family, friends, your church congregation, etc. Find - MAKE - the time to be with God so you, too, can have an "attitude adjustment", a renewing of your mind.
**To Eric, Mom and Dad,
I am so very grateful to you, my precious family, to have given me this most needed gift. You are truly a special blessing!!! Thank you! :)