Me? Captivating?

 

For a solo parent, escaping for 4 days is a luxury.  I entered the Ransomed Heart lottery for a spot at a very popular women’s retreat in the mountains of Colorado, never expecting to receive one of the highly coveted allotted slots.  But God whispered my name in an email…You have been selected to become CAPTIVATING. 

On those rare occasions when I do sneak off for more than an afternoon, I look for the quietest place I can find, the goal being to get alone with God, to listen for His voice.  On the 2 hour drive to Buena Vista, Colorado, I prepared to still my heart by singing hymns up the alphabet even as I wept over a fresh blow to my heart…All to Jesus I Surrender, Blessed Assurance, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Down at the Cross. 

Despite knowing that over 350 women from all over the world would also be attending, I still managed to convince myself I would keep pretty much to myself and focus on letting God heal raw emotions accompanying me on this trip.  I reasoned at the end of 4 days I would have processed…or buried…my pain and painted on a dutiful-Christian smile to disguise whatever lingered after I ran out of time to deal with the remainder.  I wasn’t in a position to give support to anyone else and in my sadness, I couldn’t bear the thought of exchanging simple pleasantries with strangers.   So, I vowed in my heart to remain subdued and anonymous.  In a crowd of this magnitude no one would notice.  I had come with baggage of more than the Samsonite variety.  I desperately wanted to empty the load and be rid of it.  Little did I realize that unpacking would take a form completely foreign to me including danger, extreme adrenaline rushes, some nasty bruises, even a cracked rib. 

I carted my belongings into a cabin with 10 bunk beds, praying silently that no one snored.  As if they read my mind, one woman mentioned she packed ear plugs in case we encountered a snorer in our midst.  A second woman boasted she brought Benadryl for the same reason.  Risking humor I chimed in dryly, “I brought my .38 snub nose.”  Nervous giggles followed.

Hurrying to follow the dinner bell, I joined in superficial, polite conversation over a meal served family style in a mess hall imitating a small turn-of-the-century frontier town.  Within an hour I found myself seated in an auditorium where I positioned myself near the front to soak in whatever the speaker had come to bless me with.

 “Your heart was created to mirror God’s.  You were created in His image,”   she began.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God, He created him; male & female He created them…” Genesis 1:27

“Great,” I thought, “we are going to zoom in on the heart in the first 30 seconds.”  I had hoped to slide into the message gently.   Stasi Eldredge posed a question stealing breath from me in the form of an audible gasp, “What is it that makes your heart come alive?”  Regaining my composure, my private response echoed through my soul, “Nothing.  My heart doesn’t feel alive nor do I want it to.  Love is too painful.  I’m keeping my heart locked up from here on out.  But thanks for asking.”  Apathy was the fig leaf disguising my anger and pain.  I forced a yawn and tried to tune out the speaker.

Moments later, a film trailer from Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe jolted me out of my dreary inattentiveness…  “Some journeys take us far from home…some adventures take us to our destiny”.

Then came another clip and quote from the movie Braveheart,  “Every man dies.  Not every man truly lives.”

Already God was rattling my armor-encased heart.  He didn’t bring me here to let me hide behind fallen autumn debris.  He wasn’t about to allow me to waste these 4 days.  In an auditorium of 350 women with 350 different stories in a dozen dialects and languages, God had plans specifically for me…to take me on an adventure which would lead me to my destiny.    {To be continued…} 

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