"ahhhh.." that is what i say after this weekend. being stuffed full of food, friends and time with Jesus is just probably the best thing in the world. delana did so much work to make this weekend wonderful, and she did such a great job. she always does. she works hard so we can relax. i like that set up! the ranch was lovely. it was cold at night. i love that. and i really took away some great stuff. joy is possible in all situations, a truth that is extremely timely regarding certain realms of my life at this point. also, when people are suffering joy-droughts, as it were, it is my job to just listen in most cases. people need an ear, not another attempt at an answer that i don't know any better than they do. good stuff.
ultimately, my quiet time late saturday afternoon was the highlight of my trip.
i started out doing my bible study, figuring it was a good time to catch up. i typically love to do that study so i was pretty surprised that i was so unable to concentrate. i kept trying, but i just felt the urge to walk around and worship. i had an ipod full of worship music so i was set. i walked around the grounds, watching other people spend time with God, admiring the sunset colors on the pond and on the treetops. i lifted my hands and sang as slow, sweet tears ran down my cheeks. after awhile, i wanted to kneel. there were piles of rocks close to the pond's edge, and i felt like i should kneel there. i doubted that idea at first since kneeling in rocks is typically pretty painful. but the idea wouldn't go away. so i did it. i got on my hands and knees in rocks and goat head stickers. i just sat for a minute, mindlessly pushing the rocks and dirt around with my fingers. when i picked up my hands to look, the rocks had left indentations in my skin and stickers had lodged themselves there. then God spoke, "like these rocks digging into your hands and knees, you will have painful, bothersome times in your life. some of them will leave a mark. but I will always bring you through. you may bear the scars, but they will represent to you the times I brought you victory." needless to say, i began to weep. the spit-is-running-out-of-your-mouth-because-you-forgot-to-swallow kind of weeping. partly because of the timeliness of the message. partly because of how incredibly cool and creative God is in showing things to His children. after awhile, i stood up. i lifted my hands again and the world felt effortless. raising my hands, which is usually something i feel physically, was so easy. it's like my arms weighed nothing. and the colors that had been beautiful before became 500 times more vivid. and God said, "though you will bear these scars, I will raise you up out of your pain to fulfill a high calling I have destined for you. you will be a testimony of My great, redemptive power and plan for My children whom I love so much."
i have no other way to end that but to say, "hallelujah."