We're back. We went away for a week for a retreat. No agenda, no pressure, no to-do's, no nothing. someone to listen when we wanted, and time to rest.
It was good. Now home to a busy time - end of school, family visits, etc.
But interesting to hear the people leading the retreat say, "Oh, yes, we know your mission.... known it for years.... they don't take care of their people... we already have seen their wounded here..."
And interesting to hear that word again. Spiritual abuse. Used to describe what we've been through with the threats and control.
On the up side, I challenged the waves and went on a solo kayak trip for three hours out into the deep out to a point, battling a strong headwing and waves that broke over my kayak, and returned. Blisters cover my hands where I forgot to remove my wedding ring fist and on my thumbs, but they were well-earned blisters, and I am proud of them. I kayaked because I had read a story of six men who died there trying to rescue a ship. Six men fought the waves and died. One survived and had great difficulty dealing with all the emotions of it. I understood them. Understood the man who struggled to go on after that. And I kayaked to where they drowned and battled the waves myself there... a tribute to those who have died, both in those waves and in other battles to save souls, and a tribute to the man who struggled to deal with the weight of grief and trauma. I battled my own battle out there in waves too big to be out alone in. Battling fierce winds that do not allow even a moment's slowing of pace or I would be blown against the rocks, I fought. And the blisters on my hand are the proof that the battle was hard, yet I won. I stood on that point physically shaking from exhaustion, but I had survived.
On the down side, today I watched a friend suffer. It is hard to watch, and yet the circumstances mean I can not comfort as I would like to. God can when I can't.
Another up, I have been praying for two years for an open chance to share the gospel with the kid I work with. He lives with a fatal diagnosis, yet has no faith in God, neither do his parents. Today, I had that chance. A semester of Bible is required in the school, and he had dreaded it as hew as sure it would be "boring" and "awful". Instead, he found it interesting, and today, during his exam (I scribe for him, so we work in a private room.), he stopped to ask me question after question. Why did the OT law have these laws when no one could follow them perfectly? Why did God not want sick people in the temple? Why couldn't they eat come food? Why did Jesus die? Why, Why, why? I patiently explained it all, starting with telling him that he was right, that no one could ever keep the law perfectly, and that that was the whole point! Over and over, he stopped to ask more questions. I shared with him why this all makes a difference. About my daughter's death, and how I don't think that she just disappeared into nothing, but that I know she is alive with Jesus and I will see her again, and that death has no permanent fear for us. About how Jesus lived perfectly and chose to take our punishment and trade us and give us His life. That all we have to do is not keep laws or work hard, but simply to say "yes". To say yes and take the trade. (yes, there is obedience and all, but that comes from saying yes, not as a means to it.) Two years of prayers, and today I got to share with him... share based on a two year relationship of day to day work with this child.
Pray for him.