Brian and I just got back from an Outback America weekend. It's this really amazing ministry for married couples or parents and teenagers to get away in the middle of nowhere and work on their relationships with God and with each other. I doubt I can do any justice to explaining just how awesome God is and how much He is at work in this ministry but I will at least try to tell you what He showed me over the weekend.
When we got to Outback, the leaders took our car keys and drove our cars out of sight, along with our cell phones and all electronic devices. We had no access to the outside world from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. The location was this beautiful cove surrounded on all sides by mountains. No A/C and only six showers for about 300 people. Everyone slept in tents.
I came to the weekend seeking God and expecting to hear from Him. There were some very specific things I wanted clear direction on. I wanted for Him to reveal to me His plans and purposes for my life and what I was supposed to do next. What God showed me first was that I need to let go of the details and the specifics and just follow Him. I asked one of the leaders to pray that God would show Brian and me what He wanted us to do, and the leader prayed that God would give us patience. :) That was a clear sign from God that He was saying, "Wait for Me. I will show you in My perfect time." A peace came over me already on Friday night, that I could let go of my impatient desire for specifics at this point and just enjoy being with Him. It rained a DOWNPOUR when we first went into our tent. The sound was loud and beautiful. I kept hearing in my head the song that goes, "Let it rain, let it rain! Open the floodgates of heaven!" I felt that God was doing just that.
On Saturday, the married couples were told to load up on buses to go to an unspecified destination for lunch. So, we loaded into the bus and immediately started guessing where we were going. The Mexican restaurant in Scottsboro? Top Of the River in Guntersville? Every place we could think of sounded pretty good because we were hungry. :) We kept on driving and kept on guessing. After almost an hour, we pulled up to this multi-million dollar lake house. I mean, I cannot describe the beauty. One of the most amazing homes I have ever been inside, set on a GORGEOUS lake, on a perfectly sunny, breezy day. Wow. My immediate thought was, This is so much more, and so much better, and so much grander, than I had imagined we were going to. I didn't even guess anything nearly this phenomenal! I knew God was showing me that when I trust Him, He leads me to a place that is far better and way more wonderful than I could have imagined on my own. The house was owned by one of the founders of Outback America. They fed us delicious food and allowed us to rest and relax. Brian and I played basketball together, which was probably one of my favorite events of the weekend. I love recreation with my man in the outdoors. We attended a marriage session with a really sweet couple who taught us how to pray together and how to have a Smokin' Hot Marriage. :) It was my favorite part of the weekend.
On Sunday, our small group leaders gave us the direction to spend three whole minutes face to face with our spouse, hands on each other's shoulders, looking into each other's eyes. We couldn't talk or look away from each other, we just had to look at each other. That exercise was so cool. We both teared up just looking at each other. Then we had to tell each other one reason why we loved the other. I cannot imagine a more wonderful thing that anyone has ever said to me. Brian said, "I love you because your heart is so big your body can't hold it." Wow. I will never forget those words.
After that exercise, our leaders handed us packets and told us to read the contents. I expected some more Bible study materials, which would have been great too. Instead there were letters inside from my Dad, my Grandmother June, my sister, my group leader, and two other leaders at Outback. I cried in overwhelming gratitude to my good and gracious God as I read their sweet words. God had been talking to me about family relationships, and this solidified what He had been saying. I know He is in the process of healing broken places and completely redeeming relationships. He is so good.
On the way home, Brian was telling me that he was reminded over the weekend of just what a mighty, powerful God we serve. I would say if I could sum up what I learned all weekend in one way, it would be just that: WE SERVE A MIGHTY GOD. He is mighty, and He is awesome, and He is able. And that is really all that matters. It doesn't matter what details I am entrenched in right now. What matters is HIM and His greatness. I don't have to be awesome because I wasn't made to be awesome. I was made to serve an awesome God. HE is awesome. I don't have to be perfect because I wasn't made to be worshiped. HE is the One to worship with our whole hearts. The rest is details.