I have not been without the distraction of my three girls in quite some time. I keep moving forward, creating, speaking, praying. I rarely stop and rest my spirit. I guess that's why I began to cry when I arrived at our hotel last Friday. I had been asked to attend Hope Spoken only to find out that the person who asked me made plans to go and stay with someone else. (I'm not telling you this to slight her...only to tell my story.) I had tears in my eyes all day Friday and Saturday. I don't think I had realized just how badly this whole thing had hurt me. I didn't feel like I had been replaced by someone better. It was just that the act had been perpetrated against me. I entered into an agreement under false pretense. I felt as though hundreds of dollars had been stolen from me in a scam. Mostly, the act of being forsaken and abandoned by a fellow Christian brings up a reminder of every single time it has happened in the past. There were many tears. I am not bitter or angry. It simply hurt.
I was, however, meant to be there.
“The gospel would have us turn the impulse for revenge inside out until it’s gracious forgiveness.” -Jared C. Wilson
Let me take a second to tell you some things that Jesus did for me. When I found out that I had been forsaken, I had a choice to make. I could sell my ticket or go it alone. I decided that I could do Friday and Saturday. I booked my room. Then, my husband was asked to lead worship in Dallas that same Saturday morning. My mom offered to watch our kids so we could go alone. Not only did Denbigh get paid to come lead worship, they paid for our hotel room. I am fully convinced that God picked up that tab for me. He sees me. My momma also surprised me with a massage that Friday before we left. I had a massage and a hotel room alone with my man.
Back to the conference. I met a lovely woman in the elevator on my way down to the Grand Ball Room where the conference was held. It was lovely to chit chat with someone. I had several women come up to me and ask where I was from and what I did, they just stared at me and told me that they needed exactly what I was describing that we did. We offer rest and respite to burnt out missionaries, pastors, preachers, etc. We are looking for people in ministry that have been fired or cheated on or anything else that could possibly make you feel abandoned by the church. We offer hope that there is great grace for the second leg of the journey. Don't give up.
I was inspired by all the sets and planning that went into this weekend and it truly inspired me as I will be planning the ladies retreat (with an awesome team) for our church next year. I cannot say enough good things about the humble spirit of the event, the worship, the small groups. It was lovely.
Enter Saturday morning. The person I really wanted to hear, Shauna Niequist, author of Bread and Wine, was on at 9. I was eating around 8 and I took a bite of my breakfast sausage and swallowed. Something wasn't quite right. I looked down and it was raw as could be in the middle. I discontinued my breakfast. It was too late though. About halfway into Shauna's talk, I started getting clammy and nauseous. I was digging through my bag for mints. I was the lady with the loud wrapper during the presentation. Do you ever feel like someone doesn't want you to hear something? I felt that. I just prayed to be able to hear her entire talk. Guess what she started talking about. She told us a story of being burned out. I knew then that this was why I was here. Jesus inspired my heart to press on in the journey of offering respite for the weary and broken. I desperately want to finish the race of completing our home. God, took my raw feelings of abandonment and vulnerability and reminded me of how many people are out there struggling to stay afloat serving Christ.
Help us finish Gomer's House.
On a funny note, I did get sick and went into the bathroom where I dropped my phone upon entering and it went under a stall with a woman in it. The lady on the toilet had to give me my phone back, y'all. I could have died. I decided to call it a day after that and Denbigh came and picked me up.
P.S. Shauna was speaking about a place that throws candy at kayakers when they pass and how she used to be the fun person who threw candy. As a reclaiming of that person, she started throwing candy at us. I almost died, people. Shauna Niequist was a few inches shy of giving me a head injury. My life flashed before my eyes. I might have seen a glimpse of heaven.