I am slowly starting to come to terms with the fact that I am headed back to the farm house. Well, not the same one, an even larger one - we are talking sleeps 30 (think), has as many levels as it has kitchens (three!) and each bedroom is perfectly decorated. I do wish you could see it, it’s amazing, but at the same time a bit creepy (especially at night without lights - I found this out during a search for a potato masher).
It’s a large cream home (or mansion, or hotel) that sits in the corner of the retreat grounds. To the left hand side of what I refer to as “the big house” is the pond. The pond where my rocks of un-worthiness and un-forgiveness lay. I envision them covered in moss. The same pond where I watched another group of ladies toss in what was weighing them down a few months ago.
Quick side note: I had the privilege to see the ladies (and one man), that I cooked for during their time at Rachel’s Vineyard, a few weeks ago during their reunion. As they shared about their life post retreat, I cried (none of them did, but I did) because I was overwhelmed, again, with the blessing I was given to witness their transformation. The women who walked through the front door of the farm house on a Friday evening where scared, closed off, even angry. They were hurt from years and years of shame. I knew them, without even knowing their name. I knew what the decay of shame looks like and oh, how I know what it feels like. Then, a month later, with not even knowing their full stories (one downside of being the kitchen) I knew them. And as they said things like “I no longer cry” and “I feel lighter” God confirmed I knew them way more than I ever thought. Is that making sense? It was amazing and gives me a lump in my throat.
I foresee myself, on the first Saturday in July, being one of those women again. Though, I have left the shame of my abortions behind along with rocks, now get to face the lie that pieces of my story were my fault.Don’t get me wrong, I will not fall into the victim mentality that I dislike. I have even fought going on this retreat because the word “victim” is used to describe who Grief to Grace is for. But I think God is pushing me to accept that title, that word, when comes to the sexual experiences I had as a young person (because 14 is young) with adult men (because 19 and 21 are adult).
I cannot say that the five days I spend unpacking the sexual, mental and physical abuse I lived through will be the end of my healing, but it is one of the last puzzle pieces I need to be whole again. Wow, “whole again” brought me to think, “how long has it been since I was whole?” I hope to do more grieving for that girl.
It could be humorous or God’s amazing timing that I will be at this retreat during the 4th of July - Independence Day. I think the humor is my mind automatically singing a song with the same title by of all people a country artist (I am not big on country music).
Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today
Is a day of reckoning.
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
It's Independence Day.
Let’s not think about the fact I think the wife in the song my have killed her husband and burn down their house (lovely country songs), the lyrics in my head on repeat are let freedom ring, let the white dove sing, let the weak be strong. Yep, I think that is why that song popped into my head.
I am blessed by the fact that I know most of the team on this retreat, they are friends and there is peace in that. I am blessed in knowing that though I will be challenged, I will cry and it will be painful to my soul, I will make the drive out of Round Top better. I will receive healing and areas of decay will be removed. This will fall over into my life at home. it will strengthen my relationship with Matt, it will make me a better mother and I hope that it will help someone else, maybe you.
Now, while I know that my prayer warriors will be praying for me next weekend, I invite you to pray for our entire group. Prayer is just as much a part of these retreats as the food and trust me we feel it. As with Rachel’s Vineyard, New Heart of Texas has created a prayer vigil for the entire five days. I ask you to please sign up for a time to pray.
I am not pushing away prayers for me, but please consider praying for the women and men who have not yet experienced a retreat by New Heart of Texas. Pray for a calming peace for them, pray for an open heart so they can receive healing, pray for tears to flow and for relationships to be mended. Pray for Mary Lee and her team as they take us through things that aren’t pretty all the while loving on us. Pray for glorious weather so that walks alone to process things are possible. Pray for safe travel and calmed nerves.