Last fall I received an invitation for a weekend of worship, teaching and fun along the Oregon Coast. I immediately registered. After months of waiting. Planning. Reminding my family again and again that I was going to be gone for 2 whole nights. I left my family behind and headed south to Rockaway Beach, Oregon.
After a brief visit with my cousin I met up with Angie outside Tillamook. We stopped at a little salon where we bought a few little fun trinkets. Then we headed to the retreat. We arrived early, the first to the party. I immediately found Durenda, who I have been wanting to meet every since she joined the Hip Homeschool Moms team. We registered and headed to our little cabin for the weekend. As we had 3 hours before the evening session, we headed out for dinner. We found a fabulous little place called Grumpy’s Café. I broke my dietary restrictions for this dinner. Had the best plate of homemade french fries and fry sauce. I paid for it later, but it was worth every. single. fry.
Anytime Heidi speaks I know I’m going to be laughing or crying. I admire her gift to speak truth with love, even when she’s attacked. Angie had never had the experience of hearing Heidi speak. I was thrilled to not only be able to spend a weekend with her, I was looking forward for her to experience just why I love Heidi so much! I told her, “Wait until she starts preaching!”
Welcome. To Fearless. Fearless Parenting. Fearless Mothering. Fearless Marriage. Fearless Life. I was so ready for this message. After experiencing an anxiety attack on Thursday I needed another reminder to let go of fear. An evening of worship, fun, laughter and gentle teaching I went to bed ready for whatever Abba had for me on Saturday.
We woke up early to eat breakfast before we headed to the beach for a walk along the shores. I’ve never actually been on the Rockaway Beach before. It was beautiful! I loved watching the way the sun began to rise over the hill and light up the waves. I felt like I was seeing just a taste of what was going to happen. I was looking forward to worshipping with the St. John family and hearing more from Heidi about being fearless.
Saturday morning’s session addressed our mission as a mom. Heidi spoke of the five things moms need to go the distance. I took page after page of notes, each point speaking to my heart. See the world through spiritual eyes. Embrace my warrior heart. Seek Abba’s perspective for my children. Have courage. Trust HIM. She quoted 2 Timothy 1:7 several times. Write it down. Write it in my heart. Speak it when I fear. When I lose perspective. When courage fails me.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Trust. That word kept blaring through her words. TRUST. “Faith is the place where trust begins.” I began to ask myself, “Do I trust him?” I ignored my quiet, “No”.
We had breakout sessions with Lisa, Marianne, and Durenda. Angie and I chose to attend Marianne’s session on Fearless Parenting. I was beginning to feel a little emotionally battle-worn but I sat through, ignoring the thought in my head that I wanted to leave and call the husband who I was beginning to miss desperately. I listened to her amazing story, but two sentences slipped into my heart, starting to work on the things I was letting bug me. “Your life isn’t going to look like you think. Struggle is meant as a catalyst for change.” I recall asking Abba what that meant…
It was such a beautiful day that I really didn’t want to go back inside for the afternoon session. I knew the next session, Biblical Discernment would be both good and heavy. When Heidi gets in tune with the movement of the Spirit, she preaches! I love to watch her. I think it’s because she challenges and inspires me. After being told a woman cannot preach, it still surprises me when it happens. Again I wrote page after page of notes. How to make a Godly decision. What is discernment. Why we need discernment. Where to learn discernment. What areas to use discernment. How to recognize a discerning spirit. Each point she took us back to the source: The Word. I loved that the most. This wasn’t just someone’s opinion of what it should look like. This was from God’s word. How on earth can you argue with that?
We had a small break between Heidi and Lisa. I think I should have recognized that I needed to actually take a break. My emotional cup was overflowing. I had been texting the husband, who quit responding. I was overwhelmed by the information I heard and there was this nagging feeling — something was not right. I loved the title. “How to do big things when all you feel is small.” She began sharing a story. One that hit a little too close to home. She spoke about God using the pain to bring healing to others. I knew Abba was talking to me, but I was tired of listening. I could feel it. Angie passed a note, “Why do they keep talking to you?” I lost it. How on earth does she know what I’m thinking? I could feel the panic settling in. I told her I had to leave. I just knew I wanted to run.
I didn’t stop until I reached the beach. I sat on the log looking over the waves. Trying to slow my out-of-control heart and hyperventilated breaths. Irritated that I’d put on makeup only to spend most of the day crying it off. TIRED of being the one who always is the one “He’s talking to.” I was smack-dab in the middle of an anxiety attack without the security of my husband or the pill that stops the physical symptoms that freak me out. I felt small, weak and frankly tired of the entire thing.
“Do You Trust Me?”
I sighed. I really didn’t feel like talking with him at that moment. But that’s why I ran to the beach. Because when I am along those waves I feel home. I feel like the source that brings me life is roaring. I wanted to just feel him, to know that my mind and body were playing games, but he was right there where I needed him.
“Do You Trust Me?”
I was mad. I slammed my hand on the log. Not really sure why I did that, but I ended up with a sliver in my palm. Figures. My heart and breathing were returning to normal. It was just Abba, me, the waves and my embarrassed brain. I began to cry again. “NO. No I don’t trust you. I’m scared of you.” I don’t know what I expected. Maybe for him to crash the waves loudly. Speak from the cloudless sky. But he did nothing. Said nothing. I sat there in silence. He didn’t say anything, but I knew that he heard me. That somehow calmed my heart.
The rest of the evening went relatively well. I loved the mom panel. Laughed as I watched Heidi and her daughters interact. I smiled, hoping that one day my girls and I will have a close relationship. Saturday night Heidi talked about fearless marriage. I was excited. THIS year, that would NOT be my issue. I found a few of her words hitting my heart and I wrote them down.
After a time of amazing worship I was ready for the bonfire. We had been encouraged to write down our fears/sins/cares on a card and put them in a box. They brought the box to the bonfire, placed it in the flames and we watched it burn. I was watching the sparks rise above the flames. They are like spirits being released, I thought. My fear was being burned. The one I wrote on the card. “I am scared to trust you. Afraid to live in redemption.” As I watched the physical burning, I began to feel the internal burning. No fear. Speak. Heidi encouraged people to share. “Let the Redeemed say so.” Despite my nagging mind telling me to stay quiet, I spoke up. I spoke how Abba had redeemed and restored our marriage. I shared that I was wanting to accept that redemption and walk the path.
There is something about speaking words aloud. It wasn’t a life-shattering, earth quaking experience. I just knew that I could trust him. To accept the past as part of my story and let him use that however he wished. To live and walk in redemption.
I can’t say I left fearless. I definitely left with a little less fear and a little more courage. I am going to continue living in the moment. Day by day. Step by step. Learning to trust Abba.
I learned a lot from the retreat about myself, Abba, others. I will probably go again, and maybe drag bring along a few moms who need a weekend to reconnect. As always, I’m grateful for the opportunity.