This past weekend, I spent 24 hours with a group of ladies from my church at the Cafe Chocolat retreat. It was more eye opening than I could have imagined. I learned I can pray in front of other people, outside of my care group. I learned that grace is for everyone: your friends, yourself, your enemies. I also learned that not everyone who comes to a retreat is looking for what you have to offer, and some are just there as part of the routine of Christianity.
(something to do because you should do it, not because your heart is in it)
That last part really truly frustrates me. I mean, to the core. I am in a "weird" spiritual place right now- have been for months, and I cannot see complacency having a place in my walk with Christ. I am a huge procrastinator-(have had an unmatched sock basket for 21 years), so for me to make a statement about complacency is a big deal in my world. It actually hurts my soul to see women with so much to give, just sit like blobs and soak up nothing! Not just at a weekend retreat, but at any point in their life. Do they not realize their families are depending on them? Do they not understand their girlfriends may need their compassion, love and Christ centered attitude to help make difficult decisions? And why do they not understand that Christ wants nothing more from them- except themselves? I think its because no one has ever told them how important they are to their church,their family, their God. This makes me so sad, because it is true, every word.
I was very much the girl with blinders on. I was the one going through the motions of being a "christian woman". Sunday church, care groups off and on, VBS leader, and so on and so forth. I was her. For a long time. I was unattached to Christ, unattached to my church home and unattached to myself. I was one of these women, and I think that is why I see it so clearly now.
As disappointed as I am that some women came and left without soaking anything up- and it was GOOD, the soaking, I am also refreshed with optimism that if I can come through to the other side of wonderful, then anyone can. Its not a place of trouble and carefree living, with no stress, no issues, no troubles. Oh, believe me, there are troubles. But there is Hope. There is Hope in Grace that Christ provides. He showed it very clearly to his friends in his compassion, he showed it to his enemies when he healed the ear of Malchus, and he showed it to us when he chose to die a brutal death on the cross so we can be free spirits forever. What more can a girl ask for really?
Grace is something we must choose to give and receive. We must choose it to use it, and I am loving it. Lets face it, people are annoying, hateful, even crazy. But we can be grateful that those people have a real chance at redemption, because that is what grace is for. And so, therefore do we.
Praying for receptive grace and for giving grace this week.