Before this weekend, I was in a place where I was pretty well overwhelmed. Yes, I was able to halfway hold it together to get the most important things done, but I was on the edge. The retreat, which was planned and paid for months in advance, came at a perfect time.
I came to the retreat pretty broken and discouraged. It was hard for me to listen to the other women talk of their children, what they were doing in school, and how their children were making good, moral choices. I've been in a completely different space with my kids. I remember some of the thoughts I had when my older children were little, and I know that I would have judged my little ones harshly at that time. How would I have judged my son, who called me an idiot today for laughing at him when he got something in his eye? Especially since I didn't laugh at him, but smiled at him before I realized what had happened. I'm afraid I would have wondered what kind of mother would let her son call her an idiot, and just let him get by with it. I wouldn't have known the background, the bit of brain damage, the best way to handle times like that. I would have jumped to judgement. But now I tend to be sad, discouraged, and a bit fearful of what others may think. I hope that someday I will be humble enough to skip that part and get right to the merciful and wise responses.
I so appreciate the other women for praying for me that night. It began the process of refreshing for me. The next morning I went to the beach just before sunrise. I enjoyed the beauty of God's creation. I cried. I prayed. I sang. And I was quietly trying to hear God. After awhile, I was able to let go of all the burdens I had been carrying, and felt a peace I haven't felt in a long time. After that I rested, and have been in a better place emotionally and spiritually since. But there's more.
The next morning, I left to go to another Gathering, or house church, in our network. On the way, I got a message from one of my older daughter that Ms. D had bad cramps and she had another non-epileptic seizure. Fortunately, I knew that the older girls could take care of Ms. D, and they did beautifully. I really needed to worship with others. And it was so good for me to go. I was more at peace, but I've been longing for a closer walk with God. I know there is more, I've even experienced it, but I'm just not there. Today, our pastor came over for dinner and to talk about how to help Birthmother start her own "prayer circle" as she calls it. After we prayed, he mentioned how he felt a longing for a deeper experience for God. I started tearing up, because he was describing how I've felt for so long. But he assured me it's a good thing to want to get closer to God. I'm so glad he didn't dismiss my longings as wanting to do the impossible and we can't live on the mountain top all the time. I've had pastors tell me that, but I don't agree. I believe God wants a closer relationship with us than we can imagine and for us to walk with Him all the time.
So I've been refreshed and renewed. I am being refreshed and renewed. And I know that God wants to refresh and renew me more. There is no way I can go on without Him. The past few weeks have shown me that my strength is nothing. I may be smart and talented, but I'm not smart and talented enough to get very far. I need God.