It has been too long, and even now I wonder at the time I am daring to take to write, or even check my email!
Our women's retreat starts tonight.
I need to be there between 2 and 3.
All the music power point is done. The words are printed for the interpreters for the deaf. The music picked out and organized and prayed over. The women coming have been prayed over, and again. The food for lunch tomorrow is sitting on my kitchen table, waiting to be packed into the tiny spaces left available in my car.
I think I have it all ready. I think! I hope.
I am excited about hearing from God today. I am excited to see how God is going to work in the lives of the 24 women coming.
Yet, I ache with tiredness, and I haven't even started yet.
I am leading worship for the weekend. I am leading worship for our Sunday morning church service when we get back. It will be a big drain on me, yet I am willing to do it, and feel called to.
There are some women coming with some deep hurts. Scary hurts. One is facing a diagnosis of her husbands cancer. He had a heart transplant back in 2002. A year and a half ago, she was diagnosed with cancer, had chemo and is cancer free today. Just yesterday they found out that a tumor was causing the pain and other issues he had.... I didn't hear what kind. I think I was in shock, but my guess is, from where they described it was, probably colon cancer. Near his lymph nodes. There seems to be no question that he is going to be doing chemo.
How does that work with his anti-rejection meds for his heart? I don't know. There are a lot of unknowns right now, and many tears shed last night at our home group.
Another woman is battling intense depression.
Another can't come because her mom is taking care of her dad who has Alzheimers, and isn't taking care of herself in the process, and she and her sister have to go take care of their mom.
And there are so many, many other unknown stories coming into this weekend.
Our weekend theme? Brokenness. Broken hearts. Broken lives. Broken before God... and complete surrender to Him.
I am broken. Beyond fixing by human hands. I too am struggling under a weight of depression. It lifts from time to time. Then it comes back with that familiar weight dropping onto my shoulders.
Last night found us all broken at our bible study. Over the news of cancer. Over our own hurts and struggles.
I sobbed while we prayed.
Everyone assumed (I think) it was because I was overwhelmed with the retreat. That was some of it. But God has really given me a peace about it all. I know He will be there, is in all of it now, and will make happen what He wants to happen at that retreat, whether things go the way we planned or not. He is in control.
Other things have slowly piled on the last couple of weeks, that I am still struggling with, and I can't even put a name to some of them.
I am in need of great healing and comfort this weekend. I don't even know what from. God does, and He knows the deepest part of me that is hurting right now. I think He is doing heart surgery, asking me to offer my body as a living sacrifice. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is oh, so weak.
I read something in today's devotional in "My Utmost for His Highest" about binding the sacrifice to the horns of the alter (me, my flesh, being the sacrifice) and then enduring, being willing to go through the fiery trial to follow. It will burn the flesh away, the unneeded things that are hindering me.
I need to be willing to be poured out for others, like a drink offering.
Cup overturned, empty.
Not a drop left.
I feel that way now, but not the cup spent in sacrifice... but the one knocked over prematurely. Like someone sweeping off a table in a fit of rage, knocking the cups over onto the floor, emptying them and scattering them heedless of the destruction just caused.
Maybe the enemy wasn't as "heedless" as I would like to think, but much more vengeful and hateful and purposeful behind the knocking down and over, and trampling through the wreckage.
These are just some thoughts rolling through my head.
I have little time left for a graceful closing to this post.
Please pray for the weekend. It is doubtful I will have an internet connection where I am going, even with my computer with me. And even if I do, I am not going to connect to the internet at all to check email or Facebook.
My biggest request is prayer.
For our speaker, who I know is getting hit by the enemy prior to this retreat.
For the women coming, all who have faced major opposition, either not coming or beaten down but still showing up.
For the Holy Spirit to be poured out on all of us.
For our ears and eyes to be open to hear and see what He is doing in our midst, and how He is speaking to our hearts.
Please pray for me to be able to not only lead the worship, guide the transitions between things, make the lunch, and administrate in any other way needed...
But to not be so distracted by other things that I cannot hear what God is saying to me, too.
Thank you for making it through this long post.
Thank you for taking the time to read, and then to pray.
Thank you for your friendships. They mean more to me than you will ever know.