This past weekend my husband and I were invited to attend a Marriage Retreat. Now, this isn't just any retreat. It was almost like a vacation, retreat, and a meeting of new friends all in one.
They had paid for the hotel we stayed in, all of our favorite snacks, and all the meals for the entire weekend. They also had a wonderful Life Is Good canvas bag filled with goodies, books, and much more.
All of this was far more than we ever needed, but it felt like a gift quietly given to us from God.
When we walked in, we knew no one. We were introduced to the 3 other couples, and became instant life long friends. Family. We had never been with others all weekend who were all from different parts of the country, all different ages, and had been through so many different things in life. The one thing God had bonded us together with was that we all had a child with special needs.
Now let me tell you what a breath of fresh air it was to not wonder when the moment will be that you share you have a special needs child, or when the moment will cross your mind that your 8 year has never done what someone elses' has, OR the moment that comes when you again get smacked in the face that your life is different.
There was none of that. Only the feeling that we 100% completely fit in. We weren't different. Here, we were "normal".
Now, we don't always go around feeling sorry for ourselves when we are around accepting friends. Those are just some thoughts that cross your mind for a quick second and then leave. I'm just saying that the absence of those questions in my head were SO obvious this past weekend. One of the most comforting few days I've ever had.
We had moments with our new friends, moments learning about personalities and marriage, lots of time alone with our spouse, a date with our spouse out on the town, moments of filling our stomachs full of delicious food and dessert, and the filling of our hearts with time spent in prayer, meditation, and a few hours alone with God for the Sabbath.
As we talked around the room, I could sense how concerned we all were for our children. I could also feel how weary each and every one of us can get. But, in all of that, I saw the joy and sense of humor we all had despite our lives. I believe that the joy and laughter we all shared was only the grace, the love, the heart of God. We could choose to let this stuff get the best of us, or we can see God in all we do, involve Him in our daily lives, and watch as He works something we all may see as broken out for His good.
One of the biggest things that stuck out to me this past weekend was this:
I have so much to learn from these kids. If I could see people through their eyes I would not measure anyone by these measuring sticks we all tend to use based on your clothes, salary, homes, jobs, or even your face. I would love you unconditionally if only you will let me. I would make you see the lighter side in life. I would make you see Jesus. Because that's where He is at. Those are His eyes. That is His love.
It truly was an honor to spend the weekend led entirely by God. And it truly is a privilege to have these wonderful children in our lives, that most only get a glimpse of when they're out and about, but we get to be with every single day. By the grace of God.
and not to twist them to fit our own image.
Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them."