Hard to believe it’s been a year since Alia Joy snapped this photo on her phone at the end of JumpingTandem: The Retreat. This was the actual, very last moment of the retreat, and this was the very last load of amazing women being driven to the airport, and to home. These women, along with all the men and women who were there for the very first installment of #JTREAT, took tiny bits of my heart with them when they flew. And, by the same token, parts of them have become part of me.
I have a hard time writing about it without tearing up.
If you were there, you know it’s true. It was a sacred experience, and the only way I can say that is because I know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that all the good of that weekend was strictly God’s doing. All I did was say, “Yes.” And show up…always dying a thousand deaths.
Hosting that retreat terrified me. On no less than sixty different occasions, I thought it would kill me. My heart has never beat so hard inside my chest. I am not the person for this job. Trust me. But, as Lisa-Jo reminded us that weekend, it’s not brave, if you’re not scared. And, even then, I don’t know if “brave” is the word I’d use to describe it. I was compelled, that’s for sure. The retreat was in my bones, and I knew wouldn’t be free of the ache unless I let that dream be what God wanted it to be.
So, I opened up my hands, and you showed up. It blew me away. It still does. And what God did that weekend is beyond words.
When it was done, and after I’d said good-bye to the ladies in that picture up there, I breathed a sigh of relief, confident my work was done. I never intended to do that again.
Not even a little bit.
I lived like that for a few months. I believed God had set me free of that whole retreat planning gig. I believed God had moved on, and I figured I knew what that meant. The truth is, God has moved on. Indeed, he has. He let me be, for about six months, before beginning to show me the retreat wasn’t over for me. And, man, I can hardly wait to tell you what beautiful things he has in store for us!
Naturally, I don’t know all the details. If I did, I’d be more terrified than I am right now…typing out these words to open my hands, once again. Because, the truth is that God doesn’t often do the same thing twice. So, even though I’ve reserved the entire Carol Joy Holling Retreat Center, and even though you might register and pack your bags and leave your people, pets, and plants to join us in Nebraska, God is always doing something new. The best we can ever do is show up in time to see it for ourselves.
So, consider this your “Save the Date” invitation to JumpingTandem: The Retreat, May 1-3, 2015! Mark it on your calendar, gather up your friends, and say a prayer or two for us. Early bird registration begins next month! To keep up on the details, be sure to “Like” the retreat’s Facebook page. We’ll be capping off registration at 200 participants and, very soon, we’ll extend an invitation to you to apply to join our team of volunteers and interns.
This time around, our theme is Grace. Because, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, grace is a game-changer for every single God-sized dream. Our keynote speakers are Grace Biskie, Michelle DeRusha, and Helen Fagan. We’ll also hear from John Blasé, Amena Brown, Alia Joy, Amanda Hill, and more. And, once again, Jamie Brown will be leading all things musical, with Laura Boggess serving as our Pastor-In-Residence.
I think it’s going to be beautiful.