But my experience was so much different.
Last year, I walked into Created for Care with naive adoption eyes, thinking that everything would go smoothly (because, at that point, it had!) and that we would be home with our children in just a few months. So I focused on what life would be like once we got them home.
This year, Created for Care was about my own heart and all that has been going on with it over the last three years. God used this weekend to show me that I had to work on my heart before I would be able to help heal the hearts of our children. And it is my hope that this past weekend was a starting point for that. So I want to spend the next few posts trying to dissect some of what I learned, saw, heard and experienced up in Georgia.
On Saturday night, our main session speaker, Beth Guckenberger, said something that really resonated with me. She had been going through a difficult time in her life several years ago when her father fell ill. Like any daughter, she prayed and begged for God to heal him, but God didn't, and her dad passed away. She told us that in reaction to that, she "broke up with Jesus."
That just hit me right in the chest. Because, if I am totally honest, I have tried to break up with Jesus over the last few months, maybe even the least year. I have tried to walk away, because I just feel like I am so far beyond done.
So I found her after the session and did something that was very difficult for me. I admittedly my flaws and put my vulnerability out there. I asked her what she did to overcome breaking up with Jesus. I asked her what brought her back to Him.
"Honestly, I missed Him."
Oh, I can SO relate to that. I miss FEELING Jesus in my life. I know He has been here all along, but I have not felt His presence in such a long time. And I MISS Him.
I pressed her farther. "So what did you do?"
And she told me that she realized that God was not who she thought He was and so she had to go back to Scripture to figure out who He really is. She told me that that was where her love of Scripture came from.
I have been clinging to that idea since the words left her mouth. Because that is what I want. I want to know who God really is, because is not who I thought He was. For so many years, I have believed (maybe without even really realizing it) that I expected God to give me good things simply because I made good life choices growing up. I've thought that God owed me good things. And He just wasn't keeping up His end of the bargain. I thought that if I behaved, I would be rewarded in the way that I wanted to be rewarded. And that just isn't what happens.
My wants are so short-sighted. God sees the whole thing. I only see today. He is bigger than me. His plans are bigger than what I want in my life right now. And so I am having to trust that God who sees the whole picture.
He isn't who I thought He was. He is more. And now I have go back and learn just how much more.
So I am hoping that this is a turning point for me. That God will use my experiences this weekend to jumpstart my reunion with Him. That I will be able to take my eyes off the storm raging around me, put them on Him and step out of the boat. I am hoping that all of this will lead me to a place where I KNOW Him, the real Him. Not just the one I molded and shaped in my mind. I want the real thing, the one true God. The One who helps us walk on water.
"'Lord, if it is you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come out to you on the water.'
'Come,' He said.
Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on water and came toward Jesus."