Today I find myself nesting. I’m moving things around, picking up toys, doing laundry. I cannot sit still for nervous energy pumps through me as if I had just ingested fifty espresso shots. A plain cream colored envelope sits in front of me with my name written in a cheerful purple on the front.
The letter came in the mail last week and I thought, “Is it that time already?”
Tomorrow is the start of my time at the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. I have already received a phone call from the leader to “check on my heart”. I told her that the second paragraph of her letter that addressed the anxiety of this weekend was spot on. She assured me that I was not alone and that for the first time I will surround by other woman who share in this part of my story. She even expressed how I was one step ahead of her in this process, the first time she said the words “I had an abortion” publicly was at her first Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat.
Then she said, “When you leave on Saturday, you will be changed.”
Change is not a calming word at least not to me. I cling onto stability and see change as well something that makes me nervous. I hear, “everything makes you nervous” coming from my husband’s mouth. In this case, though, I believe my nervous-nelly-ness is warranted, but then Proverbs 3:5-6 runs through my head.
I glance at the bottom of my letter from Mary Lee and see a personalized version of Isaiah 43,
Dana, do not be afraid I am with you. I have called you by name and you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you. For I am the Lord your God who saves because you are precious in my eyes and because I love you.
I am wondering if the memorial service that concludes my time at Rachel’s Vineyard could be seen as “deep waters”. The one part of this entire retreat that has scared the life out of me since Georgette shared it with me in September.
A Memorial Service is a special time when you, a child’s parent, give dignity to the eternal life and memory of your child in heaven. It is a time of lighting a candle in loving honor of the child that had gone to be with Jesus before you. It is a time of brining a precious bereavement doll to the altar and laying it in a cradle, the symbol of a grave, to tangibly help you “let go” of the child with dignity, entrusting the child’s soul to the Creator.
Sheer fear I tell you. I’ve stopped my searching on the internet because I cannot find pictures of any memorial services or what the bereavement dolls will look like, but I did find enough to scare me more. Not that I read anything negative, at all, about someone’s time at the retreat, but the process scares me. The receiving of a bereavement doll (or possibly in my case, dolls) the night before the memorial service so that I can hold a feel that which I had never been able to hold scares me.
But then this quote from Kara flashes in my mind, “Don’t imagine yourself (or others) in the future, because that is you/them, without the grace He will provide for that time and circumstance.”
I know that I am not adding a minute to my life worrying about the events that may our may not take place over the next four days and the feelings I may or may not feel. Today I am repeating some prayers for peace, I am holding tight to Jeremiah 29:11 and mopping my floors. I probably need to pack at some point.
While I don’t know if I will have wifi and I doubt I’ll be posting updates during my time at the retreat I do hope to write about my time once I return. I hope to document my journey and to help others who may be frantically google searching, grasping for reassurance that they can get through their three-day journey as well.
Please pray for me, especially for peace, for less shame and more healing. Pray that I let the tears flow because, well, this is the time to cry and I need to remember that crying does not mean I've lost my strength. Please pray for our leaders and for the other women who will be with me this weekend. Please pray for Matt while I am gone and for the girls during my absence.
This will probably be on repeat until I leave tomorrow afternoon
So lay down your burdens, Lay down your shame, All who are broken, Lift up your face