From early Friday morning until late Saturday afternoon, images of whirlpools and roller coasters flitted into my mind again and again, as seven women plunged deep and soared high exploring the endless love of God together.
It began with a rather humorous reminder that our loving Father in heaven cares about the details of our lives. If we watch carefully we can see His hand in the what, the when, the where, the how, the why, and the who of everything. On Friday morning we were paying close attention.
Our plan to overnight at Camp Harmony to discuss the feminine in the image of God had been in place for two months when an impending ice storm threw everything into question. On Wednesday Kristina and Mary Ellen cancelled, but Shari accepted a last minute invitation. Teresa was still undecided, but Joy, Natalie, Anna, Elaine and I were committed in spite of the ominous forecast. Just before I went to bed on Thursday, I emailed Camp Harmony to confirm reservations for six and possibly seven.
Friday morning while I was still asleep, Elaine and Natalie exchanged a flurry of messages to explore the possibility of meeting somewhere along the turnpike for a few hours instead of overnight at Camp. Anna awakened me with a text to tell me that a location for our meeting was under discussion. I emailed Deb (the office manager at Camp) to warn her of a possible cancellation, and sent a text to Joy. The hook-up along the turnpike presented a few problems: Natalie wasn’t free until four, we didn’t have immediate contact with all involved, and I can’t drive on unfamiliar roads after dark because of my cataracts.
It was after eight when I discovered that Elaine and Natalie were not texting as Anna had assumed, but rather they were using Facebook messenger. I still had no contact information for Shari who I hadn’t met, or Judy who decided to come with Shari after I signed off Facebook on Wednesday. I emailed Deb again to say there were three possibilities: reservations for five, reservations for six, or complete cancellation. Then Teresa joined in on messenger to say she decided not to venture out into the coming storm. (Reservations for five) I acknowledged her wisdom and wondered if perhaps we should all just follow her example.
Joy finally entered the fray at 8:30 and she was game for anything! She suggested that the two of us meet Anna and Elaine for just two hours, but for me the appeal of staying warm and safe in my own home during an ice storm grew stronger. So I asked the Lord to make our path clear—and the phone rang.
Elaine was on her way to pick up Anna (without night gear). They would drive the entire distance to Camp, meet us in the cabin from 1-6, and drive the four hours back to reach home before the ice hit. Of course Joy was totally in favor of the new twist in our ever-bending plan. We agreed to stay in the cabin overnight and drive home Saturday after the roads were cleared and the sun was high. Natalie was at work and off the grid, but we assumed she would join us. Both the identities and the plans of Shari and Judy were still a mystery to us as we moved forward.
This time I called Deb to confirm that we would have at least three for the overnight with two day visitors. She laughed and said that the cabin was open on Saturday night and we could stay till Sunday when the roads would be completely clear. I called Anna and told her Joy and I would meet them at the cabin, and mentioned that it was open the next night. Without Elaine’s night gear (which includes bedding), that option was off the table for the two of them.
I picked up Joy just after eleven. We laughed about the ups and downs in the five hours of wild texting, messaging, phoning, and emailing that brought us to that point. That point, to be precise, was less than a mile into our journey. Joy’s phone pinged. Elaine’s message said they would not reach Camp until two because they were circling back to get her night gear so they could stay with us until Sunday morning! While I got gas, Joy called Deb to confirm the cabin for two nights.
We didn’t do the normal thing, the tempting thing. We didn’t cancel our plan to gather in His name because of the storm, and heaven alone can record the powerful blessings God poured out on that tiny cabin in the hours that followed. Total strangers became close friends. Charismatic and Anabaptist worshiped in harmony. Democrat and Republican experienced unity of Christ! Together we found insight, healing, and direction for the days to come. We were paying careful attention, and with our minds fixed on Him, we saw the mighty hand of God moving constantly in our midst.
The Lord speaks most often in a still small voice. We only need to listen.