Donald Miller kicked the whole thing off with a simulcast out of Seattle. I LOVED Miller. I have only read Blue Like Jazz and loved it by the way. Miller spoke on leadership but not in the conventional way (THANK YOU). He talked about relationships. He talked about going for the absurd. I want to be that way...not afraid to imagine the absurd and totally committed to having really great relationships. I mean the kind that breed friends that would die for or with eachother (sound familiar? maybe like the early church?). I want to show my kids that kind of life. I want them to have absurd visions and the relationships all around them that empower them to go for it.
Margaret Feinberg was one of the other speakers. Her book The Organic God looks great, I will let you know what I think.
This weekend was also my first time hearing Erwin McManus. Mcmanus speaks in a language I so understand and of things I have thought about for years. He ended his first talk on Acts 17 with a q & a time. One of the questions asked without having to go into too much detail, was about how to live in the world but not blow it. His answer was SO ON! He said (something like) if we are blowing it we aren't doing anything important enough and then he said if you are pulling drowning children out of the water you probably aren't looking at the girls in bikinis on the beach. YES! This resonates with me. I have so been there. I have been the one that Christianity did no good. Christianity mind you. Not Jesus.
Anyway, I am out of time but I just had to share some of what was going through my mind though I am wondering if I really even got a quarter of it down tonight. The bottom line to me is this: when you are in conversation with God chances are the things you are hearing, other people engaging with Him are hearing as well. When that is confirmed and you hear things coming out of the mouths of other followers of Jesus, things you've thought and wrestled with, it becomes all the more apparent that He is real and that He is inviting us all to take part in His story. How absolutely... well... FUN. For those of you who read this you are probably some of my dearest friends, friends who are in the conversation as well. I love you. It is being on this journey with you that excites me. Goodnight!
Jeremy and I had such a great time just being "Maggie and Jeremy" and not "Mommy and Daddy" for a few days (though we love those roles). Uninterrupted conversations, long prayers over strong cups of coffee (great coffee I might add!), out of this world food, an amazing movie that I am still thinking about today (Into the Wild http://www.intothewild.com/ ) among other things like writing mission statements and discussing the vision for our family. I just have to share a funny moment about our mission statement time. Mind you we were on the 3rd floor and right as we settled in to our discussion a ladder landed on the palm tree next to us which quickly lead to a tree climbing military style man with a chain saw strapped to his belt peering into our "family meeting." Funny, yet ironic.
We did accomplish a lot. We shed tears. We prayed. We took in creation. We breathed deeply. We SLEPT! Most importantly we reconnected. We connected in our Maggie and Jeremy way. The way that gets pushed aside by diapers, dishes, and deadlines. We were reminded of the awesome sense of purpose and destiny that had drawn us together in the first place. We were captivated by the fact that it's not about us, there is something greater, something we can be swept up in. If we choose to. If we persevere. So here we are, bliss realized (for a few days at least). Now we are back, back in the swing. It's hard. But here we are and we're not the same.
One more picture...bliss I tell you!
The strange thing about this little mini-vacation is that we have been met with SO much opposition in the past 24 hours. Opposition that I know is very intentional. Jeremy and I NEED this time. We just need to reconnect, reorganize, revamp, rediscover. Relationships get lost in the busyness of life. Which is why the Man I cling to the tightest looked at two of His followers once and said, "Mary has chosen the better thing and that will not be taken away from her." You know the story. The Martha story. I have become one of those. A Martha. I didn't used to be. I used to be the one to chuck the to-do list to sit at His feet. But somewhere along the way I joined the ranks of "doers" and left the realm of just "being." Now it seems my life depends on what I "do" or "don't do." Honestly, that is just not me, but here I am "doing." See I think this can happen with all of our relationships. We get so busy that we fail to choose or for that matter even notice the "better thing." For instance, my kids are the happiest when I just stop what I am "doing" get on the floor and just "be" with them. I have watched this happen SO many times. I need to do this with my husband. I need to just BE with him. SO that is how I am going to go into this time away. I'll let you know how it goes.
One such thought swimming to the surface at this time of quiet (also known as naptime) originates with a song titled "Bartender" by Dave Matthews. One line inparticular gets me everytime I listen to the song. It goes "when I was young I never thought about it now I just want to run and hide." In these words there is a sense of desperation that I know I would feel if not for the Lord and have in fact felt at different times in my Christian walk. I love to settle down into the feeling in order to better know know and remember how so many in this world (Christians and non) may feel.
Death comes to mind. I know it never crossed my mind much until I was married with kids. Thoughts about bad things happening to good people. Again, never crossed my mind much in the days of ignorance I call pre-"real world." The list could go on to include things like scandals involving the church and ministry leaders, war, disease, genocide, hunger, childhood sickness, greed, political issues, poverty, cruelty, etc. Things that you just don't spend a lot of time thinking about when the most pressing issue of your life is what you are going to do with your friends that weekend, or whether or not you should go to the prom. Please hear me, I am not saying that there are no struggles when you are younger, there are and Lord knows I have had my share, BUT still I never thought about things that now I find camping in my mind from time to time.
SO what do I do with this??? Not watch the news? Lock myself (and my kids) in my house in fear? Allow a melancholy cloud to settle over my head? Oh may it never be!!!! What I am intent on doing with all of this is to feel it, to know it, to experience it and to go no, run, to the one Who said, "I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly," (John 10:10) and "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33) or "Many or the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him (or her) out of them all" (Psalm 34:19) and not to mention "I sought the Lord and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears" (Psalm 34:4).
I can't help but picture Jesus sitting across from me, intently looking into my eyes not missing a word of what I am saying, tears dancing in His beautiful eyes, head nodding, hand reaching for mine. One of those encounters where you know the person you are speaking with KNOWS just what you are talking about. He is that person. He knows. And I know He weeps right along with us.
Dave Matthews also says in the song "Bartender please, fill this glass for me, with the wine they gave Jesus that set Him free after three days in the ground." I don't claim to know what exactly he means by that but for me it speaks of life, truth, power and spirit. All things we are promised as children of the Father and Christ followers.
Let it sink in Lord. Let me never forget the desperation there in this world all around me. How did you put it? Tribulation. May this drive me to my knees and make me more than compassionate with the lost and with those of my brothers and sisters who may be feeling desperate as well. It's okay to feel that way sometimes. We aren't home yet. He's not wiped our tears away like He will on that last day. It's okay. We can "think about it" and we don't have to "run and hide."