I returned last night from a weekend spent in Atlanta with 250 sweet ladies who feel the same way I do about adoption and the many orphans waiting for homes around the world. I’ve spent much of the day humming one of our main songs from the weekend called Come Away with Me and I cannot tell you how perfect that song was. Standing in a room filled with what our fearless leader thought would be 25 or 50 Mommas attending the retreat, but instead turned out to be 250, was so awesome! God showed up in every way and so many of us were able to bring our burdened and overloaded hearts to a place of great safety and to a place of comfort. There was such comfort in allowing God in and allowing myself to be vulnerable to what having four kids, including one recently home from Ethiopia, is all about. I have talked before about how I continue to ask God to stretch me and this past weekend was another example of God’s perfect answer to my prayer.
We stood in the banquet room as vulnerable and willing mommas. We were willing to hear God’s call and tug on our hearts and willing to share our beautiful stories with other women who “get it.” It was so encouraging to know that God brought us all together for a retreat, a break from routine and a break from our usual duties as Moms. As women began to pour in and we were all registering and signing up for our breakout sessions the convos went something like this…
“Melanie, oh are you Melanie with the three boys and the little girl, Ava who just came home from Ethiopia? Oh my goodness I have followed your story for so long!”
Then there were cackles and squeals and big hugs. One of my friends commented that she could not wait to meet the heavy hitters of blogland and adoption. That made me smile to think of those who pour their hearts into supporting each of us through blogging and our agency listserv. It was truly as if the Internet was coming to life and so much fun to meet women we have only known through blogs, email and facebook. There was an ease in spite of having not ever met most of them before and I found myself wishing there was more time just to hear each of their miracle stories all over again, this time in person.
Our speakers were exceptional and it is here I am still at a loss for words. I still have much to process and share with Bob and others and I wonder when all of that will occur since I am headed to Ethiopia in just ONE WEEK! Did I just say One week? Oh my goodness! I may not be able to get all my thoughts down into the perfect blog post and that is OK. I am OK with knowing that the weekend I almost did not attend was the perfect introduction to the story of my return to Ethiopia with my son. I have new eyes, restored faith and feel such inspiration from other Moms who seek HIM first and heed the call, acting with obedience. It is their encouragement and many insights I will take with me as I say goodbye to my family and head back to my beloved Ethiopia. I wish I could personally thank each woman who personally touched my heart this weekend. I do hope in the days and months to come to share more about the many ministries and miracles these women are a part of. They are amazing and will encourage me today and beyond to look up and seek the wisdom of the Almighty Provider.
Thank you to the Created for Care Team for all your tireless efforts to make the first retreat of 2010 a roaring success. Here’s to making this an annual event. We will need a bigger venue and far more boxes of tissues. Our focus over the weekend was from the following Psalm. I hope it touches you as it touched so many of us throughout the weekend. Peace and blessings to you this week!