Joining with the lovely Lisa-Jo and her fellow writers over at Five Minute Friday. We gather each friday to write on a specific word, without editing or censoring. Just letting the word prompt us and see what comes on the page. You can learn all kinds of things from beautiful writers with just one word prompts each week. Make sure you click on over to read what the other FMF writers have posted for today’s link and make sure to comment!
Today’s Topic: SHE
I first heard about the Jumping Tandem retreat when reading a blog entry at Emily‘s. She was going to be a speaker there and since I loved reading what she had written, I thought I might check it out. After reading through the point of the retreat and seeing who would be speaking my heart filled with joy and I went and spoke to my parents about the retreat. I needed them to help me out and asked if they would make both my birthday present and Christmas present helping me get to this retreat. They were in agreement and I saved up my money and was able to pay what was necessary to get myself there and spend money while I was there and they paid the cost of the retreat for me. I will every be thankful. That retreat was definitely life changing for me.
Previous to going, I made an effort to connect with some of the ladies whose blogs I had merely been reading and not commenting on. It wasn’t so much that they would know who I was but that I would have a better idea of who they were. I couldn’t wait to meet some of these amazing women in real life. I have to admit that some of these women were like blogging celebrities to me. They had so many followers and were known in different circles. Some of them even had books published. It was a long struggle for me to even come to a place of knowing that God has called ME there for a purpose, that he wanted me to be there and learn there.
On the first evening of the retreat we had a wonderful service with Holley leading our group. It was definitely challenging and each of us were searching our hearts for what He had put on our hearts. We had mingled a bit at dinner and during our time in the gathering, but really didn’t know each other all that much. When we excited the gathering there was a fantastic photobooth set up which we could make use of to gather together and make some memories.
I stood on the sidelines. I laughed when the guys gathered with Deidra to pose with sunglasses and boas (they were pretty good sports at a mostly female event). Some of the ladies who were known to each other had their picture together, hoping to frame it and remember their real life connection forever. I had just met Sherri and had a picture taken with her…and I also had a picture with my room-mate Joanne.
People would laughingly drag each other into the photos and since I am not one to stay in the middle of a huge group I was kind of on the sidelines again. I longingly watched as time and time again women grabbed other women and had their picture taken together. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to belong. I wanted someone to pick me out of the crowd and smile at and with me.
Jennifer was talking to someone else. I have to admit that she was definitely one of those people who I looked up to as someone with a big following, who belonged there, who was a speaker. She knew my name but I didn’t expect her to acknowledge me. And the lady with the camera grabbed her nicely by the arm and said you haven’t had your picture yet, is there someone you would like it with…and I quietly squeaked, ‘I’ll go’ and she turned around, graced me with a HUGE smile and then tugged me with great enthusiasm into the photoshoot together. We hadn’t even spoken really until that moment at the retreat. She had perhaps seen me comment on a couple blogs, but I was pretty much an unknown. And with her sweet spirit, and her desire to love people deeply…SHE invited me into community with her in that one crazy photo taking moment. This is one of the results:
I am so thankful for this beautiful woman being part of my life. I am so thankful that God was able to connect our hearts in that manner. I believe that later in the weekend she once went by and gave me a little hug as she passed by, and also gave me a hug when I encouraged her after her speaking Saturday night. It was so good to be able to feel connected with a sister in Christ, and to know that it didn’t matter where we came from, the following we had, that we were all sisters there, united in purpose of pursuing His dream for each of us.
I am so thankful that SHE chose to spend this special moment making a memory with me. Thank you Jennifer Dukes Lee 😉 you are loved.