Oh the weekend. How it was a weekend I needed, indeed.
After this week, we did exactly what I needed: we got far, far away from school. Away from stress, away from worry, away from schoolwork- just away.
I was exactly where I needed to be this weekend, with the people I needed (and wanted) to be with the most: my mission trip family. :)
We really have become a family. Even moreso this weekend than we already were. I'm thankful for every one of them and how they've already touched my heart long before we go serve together in Cozumel over spring break.
We fellowshipped. Ate a lot of good food (and too much chocolate). We small grouped it up, spent time in prayer stations, worshiped together. We became insanely competitive in Name that Angel and Catchphrase.We acted silly and learned a lot about each other. It was definitely a night of little sleep, but of many many memories (besides: who remembers those nights where you got a full night's sleep for the rest of their lives?)
My favorite part consisted of two things colliding: our location, and our Saturday morning silent hour.
After breakfast, we had an hour of silence. We could do whatever we wanted in this hour, except for talk.
I absolutely love the practice of being silent, but in the loud busy days in school, I don't MAKE the time to do it as much as I should.
Oh how I needed to be still and quiet after the busyness of this week. It was perfect timing.
So I hopped on to the back porch and sat outside. I kinda sat in awe for awhile. Of the quiet, calmness of the lake, the bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds. I just soaked it in, thinking about how beautiful creation is. It seriously takes us being far away to sit and just revel at God's beauty (something I think I need to do more often when I'm back in reality!)
I then decided to start prayerfully reading Captivating for awhile. I haven't had a lot of time to read this week (such a travesty), so I started getting into it. I am so glad I did.
I'm only 40 pages into it, and I seriously think it's already changed my life. After finishing the chapter I was on, I wrote in my journal: beautiful is becoming more real to me.
It's taken many many years for me to say that. Not only to say it, but sincerely believe it.
I had one of those "aha!" moments. It finally clicked for me. I still don't have it all figured out when it comes to beautiful and feeling beautiful, but I think I reached a milestone I hadn't realized I needed to hit this weekend.
I've always thought beauty was synonymous with the material- how we look, what we wear, our weight- those may be part of it (the physical part of it, I guess). But it is not what beauty is. Beauty is in us- our essence, as the book says. Beauty was with us from the beginning because of how we were made-and who made us. God gave us a beauty to unveil (as the book so eloquently describes it) to ourselves and to the world.
Isn't it crazy to think that the same guy that made this world of beautiful creation made me and you? Last week at church we were talking about how imaginative God was in creation. Isn't it crazy that God made this vast earth-each part of creation beautiful, unique, and mystical- and then decided to make us? I can't fathom it, really. But He did.
And not only did He make us- He made us in His image. If we're made in the image of God, how could we-how could I- not see that that is beautiful? The book says: "Every woman has a beauty to unveil. Every woman. Because she bears the image of God. She doesn't have to conjure it, go get it from a salon, have plastic surgery or breast implants. No, beauty is an essence that is given to every woman at her creation."
This beautiful God made this beautiful earth- and He made me beautiful too.
He gave me beauty right from the get go. It wasn't something to work for or try to "get". It is in me. Wow. That's something I never thought about.
One of my favorite parts of the chapter talks about how you feel when you're in a beautiful place- like I was this weekend- and how you can breathe, rest, listen in this place?
The book says "my heart tells me, 'all will be well'. This is what beauty says-all shall be well."
This life- this world- is beautiful. It reminds me that indeed, all will be well. It reminds me that God created the world, and He created me too- and He created me beautifully. And that even if it's hard to see, hard to understand, beauty is in me- and all will be well.
I may not always see it in the mirror everyday (that's still a work in progress), but I know there is beauty, just simply because of who God is. Every woman was made to be beautiful. It isn't something we gain or something we lose- it is who we are. It's not about makeup or dress size or hair styles- it's about who we are and how we live and who we live for that shows truly the beauty God has given us.
Beauty is in me- and it says that all will be well. I'm trying to live in this truth.
Isn't crazy to think that two weeks ago I didn't think I'd be able to go on this retreat, and see this place, and learn these things I did this weekend (about the team and myself)??
The saying rings true: we plan, God laughs. I'd like to amend it a little: We plan, God smiles. Because I think after what this weekend has done for me, I'd like to say God is smiling a little brighter. At least I am. :)