It's the day after...
OK, technically it's two days after and so it shouldn't really surprise me - those faint nagging whisperings of failing. And yet - it does. It does surprise me.
I worked super hard, & I partnered up with Him in an attempt to create a Beach House atmosphere that stirs up Community & challenges us to Stay... I believe the women were blessed, & yet I am struggling now with the wonderings of did I do enough... as if it was ever up to me anyway! But still - I know this path well, & it is a slippery slope with a steep incline. I know how my wonderings can lead to wanderings and that won't do. No - that just won't do.
After months of anticipation and weeks of prepping and praying, (in)RL happened on Saturday in my living room, and my hearts' prayer is that it is still unfolding in the hearts and minds of the women gathered close, leaning in, and longing for a place... for their place.
I had fun decorating the house with fun little Beachy touches here & there...
My girlie is nearly grown so the days of themed parties are mostly behind me...
This - this was feeding my spirit and reminded me of my joy in creating atmospheres
on purpose that evoke a sense of peace and fun of home and love...
Then I prayed specifically for each woman whom He would draw here, and I wrote out a little message in a bottle... a prayer or blessing, from Him to them. I sealed them up with a prayer and believed that He would speak to them personally, intimately, because... well... because that is just Who He is!
I had so much fun creating a table that invited them in, filled with yumminess,
& Oh-I-Really-Shouldn'ts... Next, I printed out the (in)RL sheets last minute
& looked over the questions... I wrote out the ones that I wanted to ask, & set them aside...
Friday night I watched on my own, praying for the names of those I expected,
& a handful of women I knew would not make it...
I was like a kid going away to camp & I couldn't sleep on Friday night... too excited for what would unfold. For what I WANTED to unfold was Community building, digging in deep to find and offer healing... leaning in together to find and grab hold of hearts just like our own... sometimes walled off and guarded, but yearning for fortresses to crumble.
So... come Saturday morning around 9am... they began to gather... I was hoping for strangers... some new faces... but those who gathered were women who I am blessed to know, to live with, and walk beside... women who have His heart, and while there are some I knew more than others, I loved the comfort of familiar faces filling my home. I gave up the choice to focus on the absence of strangers, and instead, I chose to relax in the presence of friends.
We circled around the food (because - as I tweeted earlier 'other than bringin' the Real and Sharing our Hearts, really - it's all about the snacks!')
We snuggled in for a group shot (or 12!)
Our 'Regular one'...
and then we break out the Fun...
So with laughter on our lips, and plates full, hearts hungry, we began to watch (in)RL...
where we heard about Community and choosing to Stay. We listened to the women talk about Mentors and friendships, & we listened to them read posts that hit home and spoke straight to our hearts!
I had misplaced my notecards and finally found them all out of order & isn't that just how we can feel when what we want to be happening cannot be seen on the outside? I had highlighted a few questions that would dig in deep... open space for the Real and the Honest, but for whatever reason, it didn't feel right.
We did discuss the videos a bit, and we shared... (this is when the feelings of failure can swoop right in!) I wanted to go deep. I wanted to get to the heart of the matter when it comes to Community and why we are or aren't connected in tight... If I am honest, I wanted the tears and the broken and the healing to follow... I wanted truth to reign supreme and love to be made manifest...
Sometimes I want the messy, when what He wants is the covering. Sometimes in order to get to the Real, it takes time... & that is ok... because the whole of the message of the day was the power of Staying. Choosing to stay... to fully invest... to be able to have the hard conversations not just about your stuff, but about my stuff too!
True Community is a give and take...
too much of one will bleed you dry and make you a martyr
...and too much of the other will make you ungrateful and yet still oh so needy!
So I battle the whisperings that we didn't go deep... there were no crumpled tissues or lingering hugs, but he gently reminds me that what there WAS offered here was a safe place... an atmosphere of fun and joy and love. He showed up for each of us and I believe that Honor was our guest... and really - how can we go wrong there, right?
I have already heard back from each precious woman and their response confirms this.
So - after cleaning up a bit and relaxing... enjoying just one more spoonful of Oh-I-Really-Shouldn't... (yes - this one is for you - my #FMFParty Sisterhood!)
I decided to create a private
Facebook group with
my (in)RL ladies
where I can post some of those
deeper questions that we didn't
go over in real life
& create a space to discuss it deeper
for those who want to!
(Plus - it will make scheduling meet ups for lunch or coffee or a walk that much easier!)
So please, if you hosted or attended an (in)RL - or viewed it from the comfort of your own home for whatever reason... please do not listen to those thoughts of how you missed out or didn't do enough... didn't say enough... for the enemy hates Community but we know that we are now equipped with the knowledge of CHOICE... of the CALL.. of the power to choose to stay...
...to stay connected - with Him, first...
and with those whom He has surrounded you with
in church, in life, in neighborhood...
and if you don't yet feel connected... pray.
Ask Him to show you who He has for you to pour into,
and who He has put along your path who can pour into you!
I loved what RoseAnne Coleman shared in the video on Mentoring...
how she said that sometimes who God has for you
is not who you would pick for yourself.
Let's be open...
arms outstretched wide, hearts boldly brave
and let's be looking for Community that is all around us!
Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On,