So, I’ve written and re-written this entry at least a hundred times in my mind the last two weeks. I don’t know why I feel the need to get this one perfect…maybe it’s because the three days I spent at the Armed & Dangerous retreat were so close to perfect. Anyway, I’ve decided to just sit down and force myself to write today and hit the publish button quickly before I go back and make myself start over. (I say all that to say #1: sorry for taking so long to write about my retreat experiences & #2: sorry for any typos, grammatical errors or jokes that don’t make sense) 🙂
Let me start by telling you the awesome way that God orchestrates our lives! I went to Nashville with a good deal of nervousness because I was walking into a situation that was way beyond my comfort zone. I did not “officially” know anyone there…I had made contact with my roommate via Facebook and made plans to meet at the airport, and I was expecting to meet one of my virtual community group ladies there, as well. But basically, I didn’t really know anyone. I maneuvered my way around the Nashville airport without any trouble and the moment I met Rachel there was an instant connection! There were no awkward silences during the 3 1/2 hours we had to waste before we could check into our hotel. It was great! ( = After checking into the hotel we decided to go across the street to Union Station where the retreat was being held. We registered for the events and got our materials & name tags. We really wanted to meet other ladies and begin making more connections, but it seemed as if everyone had come with a group or already knew one another. So, we sat down in the lobby feeling rather isolated. I began to pray that God would help me step outside myself and find others that He wanted to bring into my life. Instantly, I looked around and saw a younger lady standing alone looking like she needed a friend. Before I could stop myself, I had jumped up, waved her down, and introduced myself! Turns out Corrie had come to Nashville alone and needed a friend! We headed back to our hotel so Corrie could try to find out who her roommate was going to be. As she headed up the elevator, Rachel & I were talking to some local ladies about where to go eat supper. That’s when we ran into Linda who was looking for a place to eat and a group to connect with. We invited her to come with us and a posse began to form. ( = Corrie soon returned with Pam in tow…not her roommate, but just another PW who needed a friend. At that moment, Charity, from my virtual community group pulled into the hotel! Our group of six PW’s ended up at Panera Bread munching on salads & sandwiches laughing and getting to know one another. With such an instant bond between us I assumed that we must all be from similar backgrounds or situations. I really should have learned my lesson about assuming… The six of us came from all over the country: KY, OH, NY, WV, CA and came from churches ranging from 60-8000 members! But we were all dealing with similar issues, struggles, joys, lives. We had so much in common! We were sisters in heart.
The rest of the retreat went equally well. The leaders were very intentional about helping us make these sorts of genuine connections with one another…though nothing compared to the spontaneous connections that God orchestrated that first afternoon!
I learned so much from the speakers, had tons of fun at the events, and was drawn closer to God during the worship times. I’m gonna have to write one entry every day for the next two weeks just to cover all the things God did in those three days. There’s so much! So much that I expected and so much that was unexpected. So much I’m already putting into practice and so much I’m still chewing on. God did amazing things in my life and I’m so thankful that He worked out all the details for me to be a part of this life-changing event.
More to come!