There we were sitting side by side on board a fancy big plane eating noodles at 11:30 pm heading to Thailand. I was taken back by how much God must really love me, how we delight Him. I could just imagine Him elbowing Jesus saying "wait till they see this...wait till they experience that... they are going to love it..." He must be giddy with all that He does and wants to do for us, all heaven must be filled with laughter that is what I was thinking as they passed around the warm towelettes before our next meal.
Thailand was hot. The air hit us as we got off our plane. It didn't cause our smiles to disappear, it just caused them to catch all the dripping sweat. The vegetation, the limestone formations jutting up from the grounds, the warm, I mean warm sea water, the smells (the good and the not so good) and the food (which I could go on and on about) Andrew and I were on a sensation overload.
We joined the others who traveled around the globe to attend this year's Clearing. From Australia, the United Kingdom, Guam, the Philippines, China, South Africa and on and on it went.
The conference started beautifully with our meeting space being decorated daily with colour and texture and theme-driven designs by Toni and Mark - simply outstanding.
I knew that God had something in store for us and each day... He carefully layered upon what He delivered the day before. The chosen themes were;
Adopted Orphan, Beloved Child,
Grounded Disciple, and ending with Contented Adult
Having the opportunity to sit and listen to great teachings and respond to what I felt God was saying in our large group time, and then having the privilege to share and pray with 4 culturally diverse women was such a blessing.
I got to take part in adult conversation, I got to stay up late with my husband and sleep all thru the night! I had the pleasure to pray with women and see the Spirit move. I jumped in the warm salted sea with Andrew and swam up to a pool bar and a had a Singha beer with my friends. I was smiling! And I knew, just knew that heaven was smiling with me, rejoicing.
The song most touching to me which carried me all the way home and even now as I type was one by Chris Tomlin "I lift my hands".
It speaks to me of being an active participant in the story of my life with God. Of choosing, of remembering and believing when I have felt I have been stagnant and wallowing in the dirt of this particular season. The conference spoke a lot to me of the desert and a place of "liminality." Being in this place of in between, a threshold place and a not yet. I was reminded of the necessity of walking in the desert cause if we stop, surely we will die. The desert is inevitable. It is where we are all called at some time or other. It is place of purging, we encounter ourselves in new ways there. It is a place of reliance on someone greater than ourselves. I have been blinded, sand in my eyes to where I am, and where I am going. I have sat down in the heat, which our awesome speaker Paul Spilsbury spoke of as state "acedia." The passive unbelief, to give up, and not care, and not care that you don't care. Cool huh.
It was a glass of water being dumped on me. It was refreshing it was hopeful.
I have to choose to accept the life that Jesus wants to give me beyond what I thought it should be, I have to give that dream, idea, whatever, up and then I will find the life He intended for me.
God may want to save me from my well ordered life. He wants me to choose to turn to Him. He wants me to live beyond my brokenness, and my healing has very little to do with me being perfect. Rats.
He simply simply wants to give us himself. He is enough.
To go back to the song.
"I lift my hands to believe again. You are my refugee, you are my strength.
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember.
You are faithful God . You are faithful God forever
Let faith arise, let faith arise.
Open my eyes open my eyes let faith arise"
Thank you for your prayers. Thank you who gave the monies for Andrew and I to go. I don't know who you are but I am thankful for your generosity and kindness to us and our family. My children survived and even better, enjoyed their time with Alana awesome Klatt and Erica superstar Daly and Jill you rock Schmidt and last but not least Frieda and Albert the wonder duo Chus. I also must sing the praises of the Kuhn and Nickerson clan who loved on our doggie which may of been the tougher job than the children.
Thailand was a time of refreshment for both Andrew and I. The time away was a miracle in my mind and I am so glad I chose to jump in and go.
Now, if I could only figure out how they made noodles be so yummy with eggs, to cut a pineapple so creatively and how to get some that Singha beer here in Richmond.
Joanne DiGiovanni Lakin