Sunday, April 10, 2016

Woman's Retreat

Life does not seem to slow down. With kids schooling, extra jobs, quilting, and so many other things I just feel drained, tired, and alone. It was really starting to wear on me. I think my middle son asked me three times about going to the Woman's Retreat for church. I just knew my daughter needed help with homework, they had the ACT Saturday morning and Sunday is busy for them with church, band practice for church and homework. It seemed impossible.  The Lord reached out to a woman or maybe three about me going. A couple of them actually contacted me and said they were just going on Saturday. I decided that was a little more manageable.
Part of the discussion Saturday morning hit me at my core. I can't explain it but when we broke for craft, massage etc time I just needed some time alone. I took a very long walk. Immediately I saw this blue bird. My very first retreat a couple years ago, my grandmother had just passed. I had seen a blue bird that Saturday morning also. It was a different type of bluebird but it just gave me this sense of peace. A reminder that he was there, but then today even though I felt the Lord's presence, it would be hard not to in this Land of Beauty. I also felt very very alone. Worse that I think I ever had. It was tough. This bird followed me around the lake, then out of no where
this dog came up. It immediately reminded me of my grandfather. He just wanted me to throw a stick into the lake so he could go get it, he would come back and bring me the stick, wrestle with me a while and want it thrown back in. I kept getting wet and dirty. It reminded me of childhood, sitting on the lakeside fishing, enjoying my other set of grandparents. It reminded me of a time of life that seemed so much simpler, full of family and love and togetherness.
It reminded me that I still wasn't listening. God was trying, he sent a bird, the bird had followed me. I was still just so distraught so he sent me a dog, that made me laugh, even for a moment. I continued to walk, the dog came back off and on during that walk and the next one I took today. 
I just kept taking in the beauty. I thought about my marriage, about the kids, about the deep loss I feel. I would see all the beautiful flowers which reminded me of my mother in law and the beautiful years I had with her while I cared for her in her home. Of her final days, of her strength and amazing faith in the Lord. I walked and knew the Lord was telling me, "Be Still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)
So many verses flooded my mind. "The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still." (Exodus 14:14)    
In Small group before the walk they were talking about Martha and Mary. Its interesting since that is what I have been working through with Sarah Mae's book. I had been working through a portion that talked about how our homes don't define us, whether they are clean or not, that its not what makes us a good wife...That is one of my biggest struggles lately is not feeling like an adequate wife. Its tough not to tend to the kids needs over my husbands at times, to be too tired to get up in the morning when we could have a few moments to talk, and he goes to bed before I do at night because I am up late with kids and homework. Its tough knowing he works as hard as I do, yet I go back to bed after the kids go to school because I am too exhausted to stay awake, and just need a couple hours of complete sleep. Then I remembered another verse, " My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" 2 Corinthians 12:9.
I know in my heart the Lord does not want me feeling guilty over a few hours of sleep and that my house that I cannot seem to keep clean is not a reflection of being a good or bad wife. Yet, it seems to be a process I am working through at the moment. 
As I walked I tried to give him my burdens. I tried to cry out and come to His feet. He tells us in Psalm 55:22
 "Give your burdens to the Lord and He will take care of you. He will not permit the Godly to slip and fall."
Its been a long time since I have been so depleted. I have gone the last few months without being able to attend bible study. I tried to go to a bible study at another church but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Quilts had pretty much decreased so much that I wasn't getting what I need to maintain control over the Bipolar Depression and I have truly been thinking about medication therapy again. Yet, I remember so well the destruction of my marriage when we were on that path, not just once but three times. We have come so far in 7 years, nearly 8. I just can't see going backwards. 
Bluebonnets are so common this time of year. I walked the entire area looking for a beautiful patch, I found just this one and a little bud to its side. Then I was convicted, the Lord's message was clear
"He must become greater, I must become less" John 3:30
Sometimes being brought down to our core puts us just where he needs us to mold us, shape us, grow us. Maybe this is a new journey. Maybe the lack of friendship in my life, the lack of communication with other adults on a regular basis, outside of my husband is where He needs me right now. While it feels lonely maybe it is so I will sit and Be still and Know that He is God. 
Maybe it is so I can remember that the heavens declare the Glory of God and that the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1
Here I was in this place, this few hours of no children, no homework, no deadlines, no quilt orders
Just the Lord and I on this walk  roaming in the beauty of so much that He created.
The splendor was breathtaking. It was refreshing. 
It was desperately needed. In fact I came back to the group center to get some water and sat and then realized I was not done, and took another walk. Took some more photos and just reflected on all that I truly have to be grateful for. 
My friend returned, he wanted to play, he wanted to say hello and lend some comfort. It amazes me how the Lord works, what He brings into our lives.
Its strange to be in a place with 90 women and not feel connected. I have been attending this church for several years and I just can't find my place.
I am thankful for today. Thankful I have a son who sees I need more in life than our home and whats in it. Thankful I have another child who understands that I just can't figure out how to connect with others but that I am trying.
Thankful that I have a husband who doesn't mind truly being my everything, my best friend and a person I trust above all others. 
Thankful that my past is full with so many beautiful memories. Some that are triggered by something as simple as this plate, with a butterfly and flowers, the colors of my mom's wedding to my dad and the colors of flowers from my confirmation. 
Thankful that nature can provide warmth just from a bird that continues to appear, and others that join it.
The display that even they are at times alone in this world.
That on this road in life, this journey that never seems easy at times, there are always decisions to be made, paths in front of us that we might take
And that in the midst of it all we will face storms but  we need to remember
"He has overcome the world , so we should have courage and peace."
 John 16:33

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