So this weekend I went away on a retreat with the church, first one ever, and it was beautiful and rewarding and full of love and lots of chocolate. I am going to put an excerpt from my journal here.
Sitting here in the quietness of my room reflecting on today's Cafe Chocolate sessions my first thoughts go to man I wish I had a keyboard! My thoughts are faster than my hand. God truly blessed me when he gave me the courage to speak up and say "Betsy I think I want to go on a retreat" very specific on A retreat as I knew this was something I would need to save up for. God answered fast and quick through Betsy "Re there is room- there are scholarships-fill out the papers" Excitement filled me where anxiety had been for months. Amanda and I were going on a retreat! That's right Amanda was supposed to be here with me. My security blanket, my best friend. Then before I knew it the bottom fell out of that plan, her sister was in town. A part of me wanted to stay home in the comfort of what I knew. Where I felt safe. Don't we all long to be where we are safe and secure? What is a safe place? Your home? Your spouse? Your children? Your siblings? Your parents? Your church? So much of my safe place has been ripped away in the last few years I felt as no where was safe.
Now here I am in the middle of a womens retreat with 50 women 98% of whom I do not know and I don't care for crowds! Yea NOT SAFE! But wait.. don't judge a book by it's cover- Remember Re, God brought you here through a very long sad drawn out series of events- So there I am sewing up my Obi Wan Kanobi robe thinking "Ok what exactly am I doing here? This is nice and all and I don't have much to worry about this weekend except maybe when will I do my lesson for Ms Bev's Disciple 1 class (side note I still haven't) and why is the coffee pot going insane. The signing is nice. The lessons are ok. But God you brought me here to eat too much chocolate?? Water to wine, paralyzed dude through the roof, warm Obi Wan Kanobi robes for the elderly- I get all that, what I don't get is why am I here? I don't understand why the things that have happened happened!" Then the next thing I know someone says "pick a number 1 through 4"... "ummm ok 1." followed by "Change groups!" WELL CRAP! Let's see how far we can shove Re out of her comfort zone.. now no Ashten. Wait a minute didn't I send Theresa a message yesterday saying that I wished she was going but I thought God was pushing me out of my comfort zone? Yup totally did. Ok let's do this, new group and I knew no one by name. Our first session was about bitterness, do we hold bitterness towards another....
I have to end the excerpt there because that is how far I got in an hour and 15 minutes.. seriously I do not like paper and pen.. I lost SOOOOOO many thoughts because I couldn't write it fast enough and it didn't feel right, my hands on the keyboard is what comes natural to me when my thoughts are flying, as my thoughts roll so do my fingers. I also write really strange in hand writing, flipping all around from past to present to future to me to third person.. weird. (Thank you Ms Jackson for the ability to type this fast)
I am going to include an excerpt from our books here.
The Bitter Taste of Cocoa
You may still have the flavor of that bitter cocoa in your mouth. As you consider that taste, think about a person who has made life bitter for you. This might be a friend who has hurt you, a family member who has turned others against you, a coworker who has made life difficult, or even someone you don't know personally well.... Share about one of these "bitter" situations with your sweet circle...
GOOD GRIEF did THIS hit home.. well thank you God for showing me why I was there.
At the end of this session there was an empty chair placed in the middle of the room and we were asked to imagine the person in the chair that was making our life bitter.. easy.. we were asked if we could forgive the person.. easy.. then we were told to let them walk away... ouch.
I think that may have been my biggest hang up.. the letting them walk away however is another situation. I felt like I had lost enough in the last few years, losing something else was too dang much.. but those were the words "let them walk away". I have heard over and over the past few weeks to put space between me and the situation, the issue, and I tried but I was still holding on to hope of some sort of reconciliation. (let them walk away). I thought an apology would come (let them walk away). I thought something would happen (let them walk away). Yesterday morning this was again on my mind and the lessons we went through over the weekend and I wrote this...
What's on my mind.. forgiveness and allowing the bitterness to go away. Life is way too short to hold grudges, I think back to what if my last conversation with either of my babies had been hateful and mean, or a mean act towards them, how could I possibly forgive myself. Let go of the hurt in your life, forgive, and LET GO. I have no hate towards anyone in my life, have I been hurt yes, are they forgiven yes, I will hold no regret or harbor any grudge towards them, I am peacefully walking away from situations that no longer allow growth in my life and running into the arms of true friends and family.
(let them walk away)
Thank you God for answering my questions.. and giving me the strength to let them walk away, even on days that it hurts so bad.
So much more happened on this wonderful retreat, there was so much love and bonded me with a wonderful group of women at church, and I was blessed with enough strength from God to let the bitter makers walk away. Goodbye old friend, this is a peaceful resolution to a hurtful situation that no longer allows any growth in my life.
Do you have a bitter maker in your life... let them walk away.