I’m off on an “escape” and it’s amazing to me how perfect God’s timing is. This trip was booked many months ago and fell not only during one of the craziest times I’ve experienced as an adult, but also right smack dap in the first week of this series. In the words of Patsy Clairmont, “it’s serendipitous.” I had the pleasure of traveling with a true kindred spirit to participate in Jen Hatmaker’s “Belong Tour.” I’ll be sharing more about the experience over the next couple of days and if my suspicions are correct then we will see some particular trends that continue to arise throughout this series. The Belong Tour has a very specific goal and purpose (Thank you to Jen Hatmaker and her team for following God’s specific calling) and I know that the Lord lined up this trip with great care and attention.
We headed out of Seattle to the sunny land of San Jose and every step of the trip seemed ordained by God. Even the hour delay for our flight was truly used well. Discussion and thought provoking questions, exploration of books we have been reading and talking about themes that we are arising in our lives lead us to deep conversations, a lot of laughter, and the Holy Spirit preparing us for what He had for us.
The conference started with a few hours tonight and I was struck with how evident the purpose of this conference was from the very start. The teachers, musicians and artists were transparent, approachable, and immediately did what they could to help us all feel like we Belong. I may recount more of my thoughts about the actual conference at a later date, but here I want to explore the idea of “escape” and what this meant for my heart and life.
First of all having an escape with someone who was ready for it too made all the difference in the world. My dear friend Maggie and I have read many of the same books, and so treasure hours spent chatting and juggling life together. Her questions, listening hear, squeals of delight over the adventure at hand, and soft heart and spirit made this trip a true escape. Truly having her ask questions, brainstorm, share, ponder, enjoy, and truly BE with me was the greatest gift.
“… so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.” There is true refreshing in good company, in company that shares your faith and your heart for the things of the Lord. There is great value in solitary escape and also in escape in community. This particular escape brought clarity, passion, true excitement, a refreshing, and an even stronger bond between friends.
“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” Psalm 23:2
“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3
These green pastures looked more like two mattresses on the floor of a long-time friend’s lovely and warm home; two leather covered bar stools on a balcony overlooking an outdoor shopping mall; and some rows of stadium seats at the foot of a large stage filled with wise, authentic women sharing their hearts.
My still waters the rich conversation, words on journal pages, music flooding my ears and heart, and moments of spiritual connection with the Lord. It’s amazing to me that when you are present and grateful it doesn’t matter if its a loud stadium, a crowded concrete overpass, or speedy uber ride with a hysterical driver; the Lord can truly restore your soul, and lead your life in His purpose.
Escape allows us to see what we have and value what we have been given. It gives us time and space to clear our mind and hearts. It also can be a moment – a time and space – to live in anticipation and expectation. He will show up, He will restore, and lead. For that I am brimming with gratitude and praise.