3.19.2014

Created for Care: Reflections Part Two

I am so excited to continue sharing about my experience at the Created for Care Retreat for adoptive and foster moms. Some of the women who organize the retreat read my previous blog post and felt so encouraged by what I wrote. Little do they know it gets better...a whole lot better. :) For those of you who missed my Reflections Part One, you can click the link to take you back to that post.


When I left off last time, I was just about to share about our first main session after dinner. This incredible Christian band led us in several songs, and I wish I could explain the energy in that room. We were sitting in the very back row, and everyone was singing with all their souls. I have NEVER EVER EVER heard singing like that. You know when you're in church, and you get crazy chills up and down your body? It was like that but I had chills almost the entire time. Singing with 450 women who have shared suffering, longing, desire, passion, sorrow, anger, joy, and devotion...THERE ARE NO WORDS. I felt like we were all connected to one another, sisters in Christ, singing praise to the Father we have come to love more than anything in this world. As my friend Abigail once told me in one of the happiest times of her life, I felt like the whole place would just float right off the ground into Heaven. I continued to feel this way every time we sang together throughout the weekend. For the first time in my life, I had a glimpse of what it will be like to sing praises for eternity in Heaven. Every single woman was singing her heart out, and you could just feel the love and hunger for God in the room. I never wanted it to end.




After worship time had ended, Beth Guckenberger got on stage to begin her first talk. Let me just say that I am a pretty frugal person, but I enjoyed all four of her talks so much that I am really considering buying the DVDs from the retreat to watch them over and over again. They were that good! To share a little bit about Beth, she serves with Back2Back Ministries, which is an international orphan care ministry. The ministry operates in Haiti, India, Mexico, and Nigeria, and Beth's family lived in Monterrey, Mexico from 1997-2013 serving in the ministry. Once she began talking, I immediately felt like I never wanted her to stop. The way she moved through different pieces of her talk so seamlessly with such a calm voice and words that were so filled with passion and truth...I could have listened to her talk for hours and hours. 

Beth began her talk with an incredible story. Forgive me if I miss any details - I was so enthralled that I didn't take great notes. The story takes place at one of the orphanages in Mexico that Back2Back ministry supports. The man who ran the orphanage served a meal to the children early in the day, but after that meal, there was no food left. Beth said that this man should have contacted her so that she could give him an emergency supply of food containing beans, rice, tortillas, etc., but he didn't. Instead, when dinnertime arrive, he called all the children together and told them that they all needed to pray for God to bring them dinner. Each child began taking turns praying to God for food. This sweet boy named Joel raised his hand and asked the man what God brings for dinner. The man answered that he did not know. When it came time for Joel to pray, he raised his hand a second time and asked the man if God would bring meat for dinner. The man encouraged Joel to pray for just that, and he did. A few more children said their prayers for God to bring them dinner when Joel raised his hand a third time. He asked the man what kind of meat God would bring for dinner. The man said he didn't know what kind of meat, and the kids continued to pray. Joel again raised his hand and said something like, "I'm going to pray that God brings steak for dinner," and he did just that.

Meanwhile, on the other side of this story, Beth had previously met a man who came to Mexico to do business. He gave her his card and said that he would like to come visit the orphanages sometime when he was in town for business. Time passed when one day Beth's phone rang. It was the same man she had met, and he was asking if he could visit the orphanages during his visit. She agreed to take him around to visit, and then the man mentioned that he was at the convention center with all of this extra product. He wondered if maybe the orphanages would like to have it because he could not cross back into the United States with this product

***I wish you all could have been there to hear Beth tell this story. The story is SO much better in person!

Anyway, Beth had thrown away his business card and had no idea what kind of product he was talking about, so she asked him, "What kind of product are we talking about here?" The guy reminded her that  he worked for this meat distributor, and they were trying to get restaurants to sign contracts with them to buy their meat. He asked if her husband could bring a pick up truck to load up this meat. So, her husband left to help this guy, and Beth proceeded to call the orphanage that was closest to the convention center...the one where little Joel and the other children were praying for their dinner. 

The man working at the orphanage picked up the phone, and Beth said hello and asked him if he had any room in his freezer. The man was like, "Yeah, we have room. Why?" knowing that it was completely empty. Beth told him that there was this guy in town who had some extra food to put in his freezer. The man then asked, "What kind of food?" At this point, Beth is thinking to herself, "What does it matter what kind of food. It's food," but she said something like, "There is a guy at the convention center with a bunch of extra meat, and we're going to be by to drop it off soon." The man again inquired, "What kind of meat?" Now at this point Beth really was confused. She said something like, "When did the children at the orphanage get so picky?" and we all laughed. She said she wasn't sure but that she could call her husband to find out. The man thanked her, and they hung up.

Then, she called her husband, and she said something like, "I don't know why [guy's name] wants to know this, but he asked what kind of meat you are bringing." Her husband replied that she wasn't going to believe it, but they were loading up boxes of the finest meats...so many cuts of steaks. She said, "Ok, let me call him back and tell him." Beth called the man working at the orphanage and told him they would be bringing by steaks to stock his freezer. The man stopped and shouted to the kids something like, "You guys! God's bringing dinner...and he's bringing steak!" It was only later that Beth learned that the children had been sitting together praying for God to bring them dinner for maybe a couple hours and that Joel had interrupted the prayer session multiple times and ended up praying specifically for steak.

I loved that story. Loved it. In fact, I still love it.

Almost two weeks have gone by, and I'm still thinking about Beth's story from that first session. What would the world look like if we all had the faith of a child...faith like Joel? I have some people in my life who I love very much, but they deny that God exists. I hope they read this story and that it plants seeds that will grow into full faith in the Father. There are others in my life who believe that God exists but that He doesn't have any influence on their daily lives. Instead they believe that they can only rely on themselves. This means that any times where they are anxious, they stew in that worry because they don't think God can bring peace. This means that every time they feel sad, they think they are alone because they don't believe that God will hold them through it. I think that because we live in a culture that embraces independence, self-reliance, and success that results in personal gain, our culture misses out on a God who brings steak for dinner. People are so busy taking care of everything that God never has an opportunity to show up and show off. Being in a relationship with the Father and depending on Him frees us from our anxiety, loneliness, sadness, anger, and hurt.

And when we are freed of those burdens, we can start healing.

And when we allow God to heal us, we can create a space of love and healing for our children, biological and adopted.

This weekend was the beginning of some significant healing for me, and I can't wait to tell you all about it.

Some of the organizers used glow sticks and danced like stick figures!

Photobooth Fun!


More music by candlelight

Missing these girls like crazy.

Stephanie, Kelley, and me (missing Sara Noll!)

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