Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Here I Am, Lord!

What do you do when you are in the midst of grief and missing your daughter so much you can't stand it anymore? Why, you sell jewelry, of course!

Seriously, I sell jewelry. It helps me heal. No, I am not crazy. I work for a company called Premier Designs. I have been with them for over four years now. This past week I was on retreat with my Premier Family, and  I cannot tell you how much I learned about grief and healing and learning to raise my hand and say-Here I am, Lord! Use me!

Sometimes, I get very caught up in my grief. I forget, God created more than one mother with more than one child. I am not alone in my grief, nor am I alone in my responsibility to share God's joy. This weekend showed me just how He works.

We stayed in cabins with roommates assigned to us randomly. Folks from all over were there, so I had no idea who my roommate was going to be and I was a little nervous about it. Truthfully, I was a little nervous about going altogether. I was unsure about being away from my husband, unsure about not being with anyone I really knew, unsure about driving down with people I did not know, I was just plain unsure.

God wasn't having any of it. I guess He figured you tell Me how much you love Me, you trust Me, you believe in Me, and yet you don't want to come on this retreat because you are a little unsure of yourself? I was a little unsure of Myself when the Father asked Me about the whole Cross thing-and you know how that turned out, right?

So, needless to say I was packing my bag at 6:30 in the a.m. and my husband was dropping me off at the designated meeting place at 7:45. Unsure or not, I was going. I said my prayer and off we went. Dawn and Sandy greeted me with a smile and a wave. The first words Dawn said were, Rose I am so glad you could make it! David just smiled and kissed me goodbye. He handed me over to Dawn and said I'll see you Sunday. Our adventure was just beginning!

I have a nervous stomach and I was really worried about having to stop frequently along the way, but I didn't have to worry, Dawn made sure she stopped every two hours or so, just to stretch our legs-I hadn't said a word about my stomach, it just worked out for everyone in the car. The Lord is in control! Migraines are terrible and plentiful this time of year for me, I have really bad sinus issues and allergies, and my meds were in the trunk..

Dawn patiently just said now take your time and go through your bag, don't rush-nobody likes a headache. Take your time and your meds will pop up. I was searching frantically because I thought I was holding them up needlessly. Quietly, she unzipped the bag, and loosened the handle, and there they were. Not too worry!

You see, God was letting me know, if I follow His lead, it will get better. In every walk and turn of my life, if I can just rely more on Him. But this is just the beginning of what this weekend had in store for me. Wait 'til I get to the really good parts of this Hope Renewal.

First impressions can be overwhelming, right? I walked in the Hope Lodge and there were probably thirty women gathered around tables, talking and smiling and laughing. I arrived in my two year old stretch pants, sneakers and t-shirt, twelve hours off the road-feeling like I needed more than a weekend retreat, I needed a whole new makeover! Little did I know, the Lord was on it!

Dawn, who I rode in with and Sandy, my car mate, did not leave me until it was time to go to our cabins. We chatted a few minutes, got our cabin assignments, said our hello's and our good nights-we were weary travelers, but we had made it! Steve, one of the hosts of the retreat, pointed out where the cabin was, and I acknowledged him, grabbed my gear and headed off down the path. About seventy five feet along, I hear,"Rose, Rose" very gently..I'm thinking,whoa, God you must really want my attention this weekend for You to be calling my name so distinctly. Actually, it was Dawn, in the car. She had followed not too far behind me and saw that I was off the path and heading away from my cabin. Already, I needed to get back on track!

The cabin was decorated with verses from the bible and beautiful ornate crosses. A more peaceful living area you couldn't ask for, to reflect and think and praise. But I was feeling a little guilty. Here I was on a retreat, and I sell jewelry. How does a company that sells jewelry spiritually help me? I was still unsure of why I was here, unless it was for more training, because I desperately needed that. I hadn't been having much energy since I lost Shanny and jewelry really wasn't on my mind. Shanny and I shared the interest and she held a lot of events for me and with me. Once she passed, I kind of lost interest because it pained me to think of the fun we had doing it together and how much I missed her sweetness and her gentle nudging to get out there and sell, sell, sell! Did I mention I held some fundraisers for her charities? Shanny had the heart the size of Texas and then some. She could fund raise like nobody I know! If you had Shanny in your corner or working on your cause, it was going to be a success because she poured her heart into everything she did! Are you reading this? Helloo...Message to Rose-this isn't about you. Shanny knew it wasn't about her, it was about
the cause she had taken on, she was doing God's work. That is how she lived her life. For her family, her kids, her husband, and God. Oh, Shanny wasn't a saint, she had her moments, like all of us, but she always understood the message and shouted, "Here I am, Lord! Use me!"

And so, the weekend went. Speaker after speaker delivered a heartfelt message that reached me to my toes! One after another had a word I needed to hear that had me tearfully saying,"Lord, here I am, broken and messed up, but I am Yours, use me." Just one favor, Lord-please put me back together first. Not so fast, He said!

My room mate approached me one morning coffee in hand. We sat at the table and really talked. " I haven't been very active with my jewelry lately. Well, for a while really. I lost my husband last year and not too long after that, I lost my brand new baby grand daughter. I just haven't been the same since. You might not understand though. I'm sorry to go on like this.."

My hand automatically reached for hers. My eyes filled with tears and I said quietly, I do understand. You see, I haven't been very active with jewelry sales either. I lost my daughter two years ago and haven't been the same since. I wasn't sure I would ever do it again until this weekend. God brought me here for a reason. He wanted me to realize it isn't about me and my pain all the time. Sometimes, broken and a mess, I can help heal someone else's hurting heart. If only I remember, it isn't about me. Here I am, Lord, use me!

We talked much of the weekend whenever we had the opportunity. Sharing memories, pictures and tears. But, most of all-healing. Being broken doesn't make us useless. God doesn't make mistakes. He is the Great Mender, right? And something magical happens when we leave our pain and move in the direction of someone else's needs. We begin to heal. Suddenly, it all makes sense-God is listening and He hears me, and He uses me; because sometimes my brokenness is what someone else needs to see so they know they are not alone in their grief.

And I will always pray-because I know the power of prayer and faith as a mother grieves.

Thank you-Premier Designs Jewelry for a much needed retreat at Haven of Hope! Blessings.