Over time, I’ve often discovered that the things I find myself dreading because it will challenge me more than I’m comfortable doing – are very worthwhile in the end. And, more than likely, the very reason I find myself not wanting to participate is because the Enemy is not happy with the idea that I would be encouraged with that experience.
In accordance with all of your wonderful encouragement, our attendance at the retreat was awesome. I left the house on Friday, however, full of angst – being pushed out because of time concerns and realizing the further away we went how many things I forgot to bring (like extra socks, my camera (hence the grainy i-phone pics), etc.). But, God was already at work, as evidenced by Brayden’s choice of DVD viewing. He picked “Facing the Giants” and watching that movie again, and hearing Brayden’s tenderness in talking about his favorite lines and scenes in this “favorite” movie of his had me slowly gaining awareness that this whole weekend was much bigger than my own attitude.
The first session was great, met a few people, ended up with each child asleep on each thigh – which, as predicted, melted the heart of a number of girls and led into John and I’s account of “our story”, which I’m realizing is a “huge ticket” in connecting with these girls. For many of them, our little fairy tale experience is what they too are hoping for, and it is indeed something John and I love to talk about.
I then took Mikayla to bed around 11, and John and Brayden stayed “partying” with the big kids. His experience surpassed our wildest hopes as those college guys surrounded him with attention and Brayden was “on his game” in terms of wittiness and one-liners. If nothing else were to happen right this weekend, simply that experience for Brayden would be more than worth it. It helps us recognize that teachers and coaches and teams may come and go, but if that boy has college kids role modeling for him, believing in him, and building him with confidence through these years, a solid foundation will indeed be laid.
This morning gave Mikayla and I the opportunity to hike around the pond, chat with a few people and then for John and I to have a hugely valuable conversation with Corey; that just proves how much his impact on our life has spread over the years. The issues we are now discussing about the hardships of life we see around us are so different than they were 15 years ago, but his insight and wisdom are phenomenal – and it is so good for John and I to share stories of our life together with him and recognize the growing that we have done as well over the last 13 years too.
I think this whole CCF adventure is going to be a very good thing. I’ve got some names of women I can now start picking up conversations with when I see them, as well as the email address of a girl who I’ll probably starting meeting one on one with (Kara) - and for sure, John has a gang of guys he is very much connecting with. One gal, Rebecca, asked, “What are you guys? Like the CCF mascots or something?” I told her I didn’t know, but being here now feels like it was just yesterday that I was the one the one volunteering for KP duty, and participating in skits. But, then when I look at the seats beside me, I realize the kids testify that it’s actually been quite some time since I was here last. I guess, that’s the reasons were feeling led to be here – our own memories are still vivid, I think we have a story to share, and I know it will be sooner than I want to realize that our kids will be doing those skits and KP duty.