Letting God

When a mom leaves her family and home for a weekend, it’s not a light decision.  Plans, preparations, arrangements, etc., are made for both home and destination.  What could be so important as to invoke extra work?

This year was the sixth year for the Time for J.O.Y. retreat at Camp Mitchell, sponsored by the Arkansas Episcopal Church Women.  I think each year has taught me something that enriches my understanding of my spirituality.

  1. Part of the mystery of Grace is revealed through Beauty.
  2. No two retreats will ever be the same.
  3. We make sacrifices to do what we love, but family is always a priority.
  4. Just because you don’t think it’s a good idea doesn’t mean Spirit won’t work through it anyway.
  5. When living into your call, expect to be surprised by the potency of Spirit.
  6. Not everyone needs what I need to experience Spirit deeply, and laughter goes a long way to feed the soul!

Needless to say, the time and energy I put into helping orchestrate these retreats is rewarded by the lessons and insights I gain.  I never regret taking this time apart, even if it does take me a day or two (or three) to recover afterward.

Like one retreatant said this year, society knows the power of a group of women, but we seldom honor our potential.  I encourage you to honor yourself and your peers.  Gather together with common purpose, united for something true and good, and watch what can be revealed to you.

And no matter how much planning we do, the magic happens when we do our best and then let go.  Most of the time it takes less energy than we think.  If you’re like me, you set your expectations so high you almost always set yourself up for failure.  Well, drop it down a notch or few.  I left my husband without a menu for the weekend.  He did the grocery shopping and no one starved.  We have some great friends who helped make sure the house was clean when I returned.  We never know how grace will be revealed in our lives.  But by not planning every detail, we allow room for pleasant surprises . . . or at least worthwhile lessons.  We allow room to let God work in and through our lives.

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My First Homily

(Homily I offered on Sunday, April 26th, 2009, at the Time for JOY retreat, Camp Mitchell.  The theme of the weekend was “Birthing the Woman Within.”  I’m sorry that I can’t invoke the waves of emotion, the movement of Spirit here that was present at the mountain chapel.  Thanks be to all.)

I love that Time for JOY is during the Easter season.  Now is a time when we are still new in the remembered contemplation and sacrifice of Christ; our alleluias are still fresh.

This JOY weekend, I’ve talked mostly about the Yourself of J.O.Y.  For the full JOY, we also need Jesus and Others.  In our daily lives, we are pretty well-trained.  We’re good girls when it comes to helping out when needed . . . as long as it’s for someone else.  We focus so much on You here at JOY because you are more likely to neglect yourself than others, but you have to remember that the better cared-for you are, the better the quality of service you provide.

And Jesus?  Well, if we’re not likely to care for ourselves, how much more likely are we to spend precious time on someone who doesn’t seem to play an active role in daily life?

Therein lies the rub.

We are sisters in Christ.  We are daughters of God.  There’s a suffering Jesus endured for us to show us true peace.  There’s the spark within us that is also of God, of Christ.  Our seed of potential and purpose is none other than that which exists in Jesus, of God.  The potential remains in each of us to live fully as a child of God, but how willing are we to step forth and call God ours?  How willing are we to see the risen Christ in each other?  How willing are we to believe in miracles?   Would we have been any less disbelieving and wondering in the presence of the resurrected Lord?

The woman you’ve been coaxing out of hiding is “the deep root of your being,” your inner Jesus, the one willing to claim God, the one that is Whole, the One.  In our human form, our best is to love others as we love ourselves, but only if we know who we really are.  Given a purpose to Love, we are also given talents and gifts with which to do this.  There are ways our seemingly trivial work creates more positive energy in the Universe, thus creating more love.  Don’t ask me to explain it because I don’t understand it, but it works.  So what brings us joy is important.  We have our thread in the beautiful cosmic tapestry.  To know ourselves is crucial, tantamount to Love.  When we know, feel and trust the love of God within, then truthfully we can witness to others as we extend the blessing of Christ that “peace be with you.”  It’s not solely about the fact that Jesus died.  I tell my kids Jesus is in their heart.  He’s in mine and yours, too.  It’s about life — living and loving.

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori reminds us of our responsibility.  “We’re meant to be heralds of resurrecion to a world that still thinks death is the last word.”

Birth is an everyday miracle.  I believe in miracles. 

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While social networking seems to be the rule of the day, old ways still hold.

This weekend is the Episcopal General Convention for the Diocese of Arkansas.  As communications coordinator for our Episcopal Church Women (ECW), I volunteered to staff a table in the Exhibit Hall.  This means, of course, that I have to create a table display, most of which is a tri-fold poster.

The other half of the table I’m devoting to our Time for JOY retreat (the poster for which has already been made).  Together, the goal is an oasis of feminine energy, but it will take a physical presence and actual work.

Gathering people of common interest, motivating them to work toward common goals and nurturing them along their spiritual path are not easy.  My goal is to find what works best, trust my gut, do what I can and pray for the best.  The trick is to keep smiling.

And, I did make a FaceBook group.  🙂

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