Retreat hangover

You know that thing that happens when you get away from “real” life for a few days, then come back?

It’s a retreat hangover. That’s what it is and I have it.

I had the best time at Captivating. From the moment I got to the airport in Kansas City, something was different. I’m not one to strike up conversation with strangers but I was doing it. I met people on the plane, I met people when I got off the plane, I was being goofy with people waiting for the shuttle. I hit it off with my roommates, I didn’t feel self conscious and I was able to take note of others and speak words of life to people I had never met. I was walking in a confidence that is foreign to me.

I felt so alive.

I feel like God gave me a glimpse of what it can be like to really live in freedom, and now that I’ve tasted it I want more of it. One of my favorite things was my ability to see value in other people; to feel a sense of delight in them; to possibly feel God’s heart for them and speak into that.

And then I came home to normal. The house still needs to be unpacked and organized. I have to make my own meals…what?? No free-flowing coffee 24/7. No worship music playing constantly (well, I do play it a lot). No new friends to hang with (I miss them). I’m not surrounded by people constantly speaking life-giving words over me. Where is my sunbeam and patch of grass? Where are my cheerleaders?

In other words I’m living in the real world. It’s mountaintop syndrome. We don’t live on the mountaintops, we just go there on occasion and then don’t want to come down. It’s kind of like Peter, James and John at the transfiguration. Except way less. It actually doesn’t compare at all, but you get the point.

However, I do think I have seen where I’m going. I’ve glimpsed my own transfiguration, in part.

I have been given an idea of what it is that I’m fighting for. I’m not fighting to live in a fantasy world, I’m fighting to live in this world with so much joy that it overflows to others. I’m fighting for rivers of living water bursting forth, not only for myself, but for whoever He puts in my path. I’m fighting to be light in darkness.

This is so worth fighting for. And today it is a fight.

Real beauty

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I took a short walk during a time of reflection after one of the sessions and when I stopped to take in the view, something struck me.

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The mountains are so beautiful but they are products of cataclysmic activity. There was a violence that pushed them up out of the earth and they’ve been standing firm, weathering storms and heat and cold and wind for millenia.

They are rough, unpredictable, jagged and broken. And that’s precisely what makes them beautiful.

Light and shadow dance across the face of the mountains and create a breathtaking display. Those broken places reflect light in particular ways that produce beautiful variations in color at sunrise and sunset – purples, blues and pinks.

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Think on that for a minute. We often feel like we need to hide our brokenness, our still-jagged edges, where we’ve been shattered. But those are the places that make us beautiful.

It’s not something to hide or be ashamed of, it’s to be put on display. When mercy comes and touches them we reflect the goodness of God and that is breathtaking.

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Missing the View

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I am missing this view this morning. The sunrises in Colorado were absolutely breathtaking – the colors so vibrant and alive and constantly in motion. If you blink you might miss something.

I’m also really missing this view

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These women were my roomies this weekend and each is amazing in her own way.

Cheryl is the one on the far right. She is so smiley and easy to talk to. Someone approached her yesterday just to tell her what a beautiful smile she has…and they were right. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with her, but I sensed how precious she is to her Heavenly Father. I hope she knows it, too.

To her left is Kelli. I heart Kelli. And, guess what – she lives and works right down the road from me…that’s a win!! Kelli is beautiful and creative and it’s apparent that she loves both Jesus and people well. She has an adventurous spirit, creativity and boldness that will be powerful tools in the hands of God. Also, as a side note, she makes films and will probably be the one that gives me my big break into the business. Haha 🙂 Kidding. Except not really. Kelli, His eye is on you and His plans are good and perfect. I can’t wait to see what you do together.

Penny isn’t pictured because the one I got that included her was blurry 😦 (Penny, if somebody will send me a good one *cough*cough* I will update so my friends can see your beautiful face). She is the sweetest thing (but I can see some fiesty underneath) and, bonus, she is from The South! I was so happy to find out that she lives within about a mile of our new house. How crazy is that?? They’ve only been in town for about 6 weeks. I’m amazed at the perfect timing of this trip and the people God placed around me. Penny clearly has a childlike faith and loves God shamelessly. I can’t wait to get to know her better. I think she can teach me a few things 🙂

I was fairly attached at the hip with these two the whole weekend

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Sorry for the blur. I was probably laughing when I took this.

The one on the left is Barb. I just love Barb. She has such a calming and peaceful way about her, and there’s a lot of wisdom packed in there, too. I’m also really proud of her. She is on a new adventure with Jesus right now, rediscovering who she is to Him, who He made her to be and what loves He has given her. She’s got the soul of an artist and sees the beauty of God in creation and in the faces of children. Barb is a brave woman, though I don’t think she knows it yet. She will.

And finally, the one there on the right – that is Judi. Those of you readers who’ve known me a long time know my struggles in the area of friendship. Throughout my life friends just haven’t come easily for me, so I was amazed at how quickly I felt a connection with her. Judi is also a strong, brave woman. Her testimony is amazing and she carries light and hope that the world needs. That I need. She’s been through some hard stuff and is a walking testimony to the goodness and mercy of God. She is a restorer of souls, a rescuer, and a fierce advocate for all of her children – the ones she birthed and the ones she has ransomed. I’m so thankful for her and am officially attached at the heart.

These women are so different from one another, but each is so beautiful in her own way. They impacted my heart, inflamed my love for the Lord and encouraged me to hope big. You ladies are fierce warrior princesses and I hope to be a little like each of you when I grow up.

I’m telling you the truth, women can be catty and mean, but women can also be the best. When we feel safe, secure, accepted and loved, we are such a force for good. Press into those things, my friends. Change your world. You are so loved, so treasured, right now, just as you are. Let your Creator tell you who you are and rest in the security of that. Fight for it.