You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth…
You inspire shouts of joy.
Last week I felt myself bending beneath the load of expectations I knew I could not meet.
You know that feeling? That sinking in your insides?
Early one morning, as I told God again that I was inadequate for the task of teaching the retreat, He clearly and firmly told me to ask you, my friends near and far, to pray.
I struggled with that for just a little bit. It felt embarrassing. Vulnerable. Needy.
And I don’t want to be needy. I want to be strong and good, the one to show the way.
I am needy. So full of need for what only He can give that without Him I’m sunk. And sometimes He pushes me so far out of my comfort zone that I need more than me and Him.
I need sisters… and brothers too.
And so I gathered the courage to ask and you answered with so much love it took my breath away!
But that’s not even the best part.
The crazy beauty of God is this: He shows up!
On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday God showed His beauty and His adequacy and His passionate desire to connect with us, His children, by making His presence and power felt in a tangible way.
(the beauty in Sunriver)
Friday night I simply told my story. It is a story of my failure and God’s amazing faithfulness. I told them how angry I’d been when God didn’t heal my deafness. Told them about throwing my Bible across the room in a grandly rebellious gesture of in-His-face defiance. I let them know the truth of my ugliness, the depth of the darkness that nearly robbed me of everything and everyone I love. I told them about how I faked it, pretending to be the perfect pastor’s wife while crying hot tears of fury at God.
And instead of holding me at a distance, as if my awfulness might just rub off on them, these beautiful women seemed to sigh a collective breath of relief.
Because the story doesn’t end with me. And your story doesn’t end with your failure either.
My story got interrupted by God— and I think every woman there wanted to stand up and clap at His entry into my ugliness!
My Redeemer, the One who rescued me, brought hope into that room Friday night.
Then on Saturday I finished my story, which really isn’t done yet. I taught them what He’s teaching me about listening and hearing and experiencing Him in a way I couldn’t have without seeing all that blackness inside.
But here’s what took me by surprise: these women got it! Every one of them wants what I want- to hear God. They latched onto my imperfectly worded parallels between my struggles to hear in this noisy world while deaf and all our struggling to hear God through the noisiness of real life.
I dared let them in and they galloped right into that openness without hesitation!
I loved their questions, their worship, their vulnerability, their strength, their hopefulness. I loved they way they loved on each other. I loved their loud bursts of laughter around tables, their shared lives, their nursing infants bundled against the mountain cold. I loved their willingness to make sacrifices to come.
You know what? I fell in love with these girls. And now I have more sisters and daughters and friends.
(the amazing women - blurry, I know, but I wanted to share these women with you!)
And so I thank you, dear sisters of mine. Thank you for praying, for sending such beautiful words about God’s goodness to remind me. Thank you for the notes and emails and comments and Facebook messages. I read them over and over again, clinging to His words to me through each of you. I relied on the truth of your words and the power of your prayers.
And now I’m relishing being home. Resting, connecting, planning for Christmas, meeting with women I love, playing with those grandkids I cherish… Matt came home Monday night to study and so, of course I cooked up a storm (so glad to hear that dorm food is no match for mine!)
I love you girls!
From my heart,