Monday, April 22, 2013

How beautiful is the body of Christ...



It was my leap of faith, my act of courage, my it's now or never moment.  It wasn't jumping out of an airplane, climbing a mountain, or any of the other acts of daring people write on their bucket lists.  My act of courage was simply to type in the registration information and press send for the Jumping Tandem retreat, a retreat for bloggers, writers and dreamers.

I knew and loved some of the women who would be attending from their words read here in the blogosphere, but I had only met one of the women face to face once, briefly.  Since the conference was in Omaha, Nebraska, and I live in Portland, Oregon, I knew that once I was there, I was stuck.  I wasn't going to be able to run back home to my safe place, no matter how miserable I was.

I flew in the afternoon before the retreat, and had 24 hours of delicious alone time in my hotel.  I soaked up the solitude, knowing that my inner introvert would not get the opportunity to be alone for the the rest of the weekend.

Two hours before the shuttle came to take me to the retreat center, I finally got out of my pajamas and got ready, fretting somewhat over what to wear, wanting to fit in.  When the time came, I got into the elevator to ride down to the lobby to catch my ride.  Two women were in the elevator with me.  I can't remember which one of us asked the question, "You wouldn't happen to be here for the Jumping Tandem retreat?", but the answer from all three of us was yes.  Janet and Susan scooped me up in Jesus' love right there in that elevator.  They invited me to ride with them instead of taking the shuttle.  They made me feel safe and welcome right away. 




My expectation of the retreat before going was that it would be mostly about writing, blogging and daring to live your dreams.  I expected it to be inspirational and motivational with a little bit of Jesus thrown in.  Instead, it was a whole lot of Jesus, a whole lot of loving relationships, with a little bit about blogging and writing and daring to live your dreams.  I didn't know, but God did, that it was exactly what I needed.

We came from all over the US and Canada, we came from different types of churches,  most of us were bloggers, but some were not, some were published authors, but most were not,  the majority of us were women, with a handful of brave men there as well.  Yet, when we sang together in worship, led by a young man with his guitar, the liturgical and the charismatic, the well known and the unknown, the women and the men, each worshipped the same God  yet in their own way, in a beautiful potpourri of praise.





I met some of the well known bloggers/authors that I have followed, and who have encouraged me, since I began blogging four years ago.  Yet, unlike many of the church conferences and retreats and church leadership type events I have attended, there seemed to be absolutely no division between the known and unknown, those with huge followings and those with small.  And, unlike most events where two or more women gather together, there seemed to be no backbiting, no competition, no pushing to be seen, noticed, or promoted.  I do believe I saw and experienced  more of the humility of Jesus and the unity of the body in this weekend than I have ever seen before.

I came away from the Jumping Tandem retreat with a heart full of hope.  It was, to me, less about hope in fulfilling my own dreams, (although I received that as well),  and more about my hope and faith being restored about the beautiful body of Christ.  And, for that, I am truly, truly grateful.
**********************

In 2013 I'm going back to the way I did it in the beginning,
just noticing and recording the many extraordinary blessings in my ordinary life.
And so I continue to count my thanks
piling up gratitude day by day
in my little black journal.
(and capturing some of them via my camera or iPhone)

#3031-#3058

4-15-13-
-coral carnations from the Hubs in my antique preserves crock


-taxes done and mailed 
-sunshine to have devotions outdoors
-God's provision
-rainbows!


-stunning sky


-only grandson's ball game, (they won!)


4-16-13-
-listening to Laura Hackett on Spotify
-dinner at Chipotle with my two oldest grandkids
-trusting God's love and goodness in a situation I don't understand

4-17-13-
-hard eucharisteo-expensive car repairs
-and now the clothes dryer quit!

4-18-19-
-a safe trip to Omaha
-finding Joanne, my ride to the hotel, right away at the airport
-the Hub's love and encouragement to go to Jumping Tandem

4-19-13-
-a great night's sleep and a relaxing morning at the hotel
-sweet photos from the Hubs of grandparents day at the grandkids school
-meeting Janet and Susan in the elevator and feeling the love of Jesus through them

4-20-13-
-sweet Emily


-antiquing during free time with new friends, Linda and Rhonda and Cherri,
(and yes, I did succumb and buy these Shawnee Pottery salt and pepper shakers)


-Jennifer's keynote message that rocked me to the core

4-21-13-
-worshipping together
-taking communion together
-meeting and visiting with more wonderful women while waiting to leave for the airport
-crammed into a car with Deidra, Alia, Emily, Kathy and Robin on the ride to the airport


-a safe trip home
-back in my own bed next to my husband
-a heart so full it spills over in tears

Gratefully yours,


26 comments:

  1. Excited to hear more. Missed you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm reading this in tears. I am so grateful you had this experience. God knows exactly what we need, doesn't He! What a blessing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, that sounds just fabulous! What a wonderful experience :) I love your salt shakers. Every time you see them you'll remember your wonderful experience and how God moved. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was fabulous! One of the best experiences ever!

      Delete
  4. That looks like it was so much fun. One day I'm going to be brave, take the leap and go to a blogger's conference. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. you're brave! and you were rewarded for that courage!

    Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was an amazing experience, Linda!

      Delete
  6. Beautiful synopsis, Elizabeth! Keep living your dreams, lady!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good for you, Elizabeth! I love how those soft landings feel when we take the leap of faith :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Next year I will be there... it is the group I read and encourage and want to be challenged by... and thank you for the journey you shared. Sounds wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful. I'm so glad you were able to go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness, I would have love to see you and hug your neck. Everyone from the IP team that I did meet was incredible.

      Delete
  10. I'm so glad you got to go--looks like y'all had a wonderful time--I sure hope you got to meet my good friend Mary Bonner who hosts Me, Myself and Mercy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did meet her! I didn't connect her as being the same Mary you speak of!

      Delete
  11. What a blessing to be able to attend something like this! I loved reading about it, Elizabeth. xo

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've been waiting to hear about your time away! What a blessing. I can't wait to hear more when we get together soon.
    ~Adrienne~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll tell you all about it next week!

      Delete
  13. So beautiful Elizabeth! I had some tears while reading and feeling the fullness of the wonderful weekend. It was so good to meet you! What a wonderful experience to meet people I feel like I've known for awhile online. And I agree with you, it felt like being among peers, not others I look up to. And it was awesome! :)
    Blessings,
    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  14. Elizabeth, my sentiments exactly. I don't even know why I went really, it was a God thing. I was invited by my friends, I heard the words "dream" and "zip line" and God whispered, "Go!" So I went without any expectations whatsoever and I felt like I was sitting in a room full of long lost friends, even the ones I never got to speak to. It was the body of Christ trembling in fear (the good kind, the holy kind)... A sacred time. I had not been blogging faithfully or following blogs for that matter in a very long time. I am so encouraged to plug in and stay connected now because I see its worth in the kingdom.
    Hugs,
    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
  15. 3 weeks since #jtreat and my heart is finally able to really read everyone's linkups. Hope for the restoration of the body of Christ is a touching lesson and one that seeps into my heart as well. There was such much glorious movement by our God that reading through your post brought so much of it back. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete

The best thing about blogging is hearing from you!
I'd love for you to leave a comment! Click subscribe by email if you want me to be able to reply to you.