The week before the Women’s Retreat full panic mode had set in. I did not want to be there. I should just cancel. Let someone else be blessed. Through some journaling, I figured out what was triggering me unintentionally. Feelings of being dismissed and insignificant to those around me, especially on the team I was placed.
Julie Rose, Dani, and Jenni were not in my group, however, the three off them knew what was going on. Dani, Julie Rose, and I had come up with a plan to go to prayer room if I was being overwhelmed with panic. Knowing the plan ahead helped. That first night I still questioned why I had decided to walk into my fear, instead of hiding or running from it. I was rooming with Julie Rose and Jenni, friends who knew me well. I told myself I could do this and l would be OK.
Another fear I had, was leaving my husband and his chronic illness. Would he be ok? What if something happens?
There was spotty coverage for cell phones.
I did wake up in middle of night panicking is he all right? I went out to lobby of dorm room and managed to have a signal. I called Matt and talked to him at 5am. He was fine and I went back to sleep.
Later one of my biggest fears happened. Someone came running up to me with message to call C at Wal-Mart. (Matt is working day cashier now, and C, is a manager.) I ran to where I had cell coverage earlier and I had none at that time. Even though I was crying, I kept trying. Others saw me trying, so people got out phones and finally something was ringing. I got a hold of Wal-Mart and C wasn’t there. The operator was friend, who knew of Matt’s health issues. She asked if Matt was working. She found someone who knew what was up. Matt’s heart issues had happened and he had passed out. I called home he had just been driven home by C. I called Matt, hearing his voice, something inside me broke open. He told me to stay at the retreat because he did not want to be a bother.
I couldn’t hold it together any more hearing Matt’s voice and wondered if I should go home. Pure panic and tears. 4 ladies gathered around and prayed. I couldn’t decide what to do. Jenni was there offering to take me home. She told never mind what Matt wanted, what did I want. She gave me permission to figure out what l needed, not what others were telling me to do.
I went to prayer room, sitting and praying and laid out crying forever it seems. Laid it all at God’s feet, giving up control once again. God showed up in amazing way! I left with peace went back to hear the conference speaker.
At the end of this session, we wrote something we struggled with, took it to the altar and tore the paper to pieces. I wrote one word: CONTROL! I had peace the rest of the conference. I did phone calls to check on Matt the rest of the day and we were going home that night. I continued to have peace the rest of the day.
I keep remembering a Larry Crabb quote, “Pain is your friend.”
I think I get it finally at least a little bit. Without the fear and pain and walking into it, then I would not have experienced God in such a big way this weekend.
I see Him in all the little details. How did ladies know to tell me to call work? How did some else have cell coverage when I did not? The first manager on sence when the ambulance was called had known my husband for 13 years and had worked with me the last year I was in the bakery, so he knew details of Matt’s health that another would not have known. K, saw it was my husband, so went to another friend, J, and said we need to get a hold of Katie. J knew I was out-of-town and texted a mutual friend on the retreat with me. I understand how ladies knew to tell me to call Wal-Mart now.
There was lots of fun and games. There was time to enjoy the fall colors and a bonfire. I had time to talk to friends. Yet as much as I enjoyed those times, true Spiritual Whitespace came through pain. God is in the details. In skin friends were there. God is with me in the pain and fear. Breaking down, being real and vulnerable, I was not alone, He was there. Spiritual Whitespace was found in the midst of it all.