Friday, February 1, 2013

The Retreat: A Holy Battle

I am not supposed to be home in sweatpants right now.

In fact, just this morning, I was across town with a lovely group of women retreating in the upper level of a coffee shop. But the call came for me to pick up a sick little girl from school. So off I went.

Initially, I was very disappointed and frustrated about the turn of circumstances.

See, today is no ordinary day. Today is a day of celebration. Our pastor is becoming a bishop this evening, and there is a full schedule of activity planned for the clergy in our network.

For me to get our family ready to attend events today, there were babysitters to call, schedules to make, bags to pack, and work to push through so I could have one day off. I was so looking forward to being with other clergy and their spouses throughout the day.

But, as usual, life circumstances happened. I got sick earlier this week, which made working hard, and I finished a lesson at 4:57pm last night, instead of the 3pm I had hoped for. I was a bit frazzled as I shuffled off for a network dinner last evening.

Now poor Kyla is lying on our couch. She’s disappointed too because she was looking forward to having fun at a friend’s house while we were at the service tonight. I was able to find a relative to watch Kyla tonight so I will still be able to attend the service, which is good.

But here I am in sweatpants for the moment.

And I can’t help but reflect on the utter battle this week has felt like. I have been trying to faithfully pray for our pastor and our church during this transition. I just want to take a moment to say I have never been under a church leader like our pastor, Ken. He has no desire for control or manipulation. There is grace and freedom in the way he leads. I am so grateful for his leadership. I can’t even express it fully here in this post. And I think there is no small thing afoot now that he is taking over a whole network of churches. Really. No small thing.

I wasn’t much aware of spiritual warfare until these last couple of years. Now I can see it. I can sense it, and it is here this week. I am amazed at how quickly discouragement or frustration set in, and how the enemy can twist and destroy and steal.

Today kind of feels like it could be stolen easily. I’m tearful about missing the meetings this afternoon and wonder where the week went. All my careful planning feels like it was in vain. My selfishness is showing, I know. But it’s hard to be at home sitting when I want to be lunching with people I rarely get to see.

However, I think maybe this is exactly where I’m meant to be. Kyla is feeling better. At least emotionally. She’s not so sad anymore about leaving school or missing out on going to our friend’s. You should have seen her sitting in the office alone waiting for me to get here. My mommy heart felt so sad for her as I gave her a big hug and walked her to the car. Now she’s curled up on our couch, and I am serving her instead of being served.

Plus, now that I am home, I am not so concerned about details anymore. There are no more to take care of. I am going to use the time to just be. With my little girl. With my heart and with my God as I pray for tonight. For all involved. For the days ahead and for the work that is surely to take place among a group of people I am growing to love. At the dinner last night, we had a prayer time. The Holy Spirit was there. I could feel Him.

The sense of being exposed or vulnerable to attack was absent, at least for a little while. Those moments deserve to be cherished. For, we can’t stay in those places. We gain encouragement so we can be sent out to do the work that needs to be done in spite of likely and imminent attacks.

So I pray for tonight. I pray for that same Holy Spirit soaking. I pray for God’s hand to be on our leadership. I pray for our hearts to be listening when He moves. I pray for us to be able to continue working in grace and freedom that comes from the True Source of all grace and freedom.

I don’t know what kind of prayer it might take for those things to be a reality. I am just one woman sitting in sweatpants on her couch. But I am also not called to be concerned about that. I am called to trust. I am called to believe He works good out of the sad and disappointing circumstances, whether big or small. Even if they involve leaving a retreat.

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