It’s been a week since I left for my last Unity Retreat, and though I’ve e-mailed certain beloved alumni (yes, consider yourselves special!) about the retreat, most of it was still just recounting the events that took place. I think there’s something I want to say about the entire retreat in general that would sum up this whole experience for me. From the planning that’s done behind the scenes, to the last minute saves, God has been constantly showing me His providence. I’ve honestly always disliked parts of planning for retreats, of any kind. As someone who is serving, I always feel obligated to have to find my own time for my own “retreat”.
As much as I’d hate to be just another grain in the sand, I would have to say that that All-Night prayer was my highlight also. Ok, worship was pretty smacking awesome, I’ll admit, but not because of any single one of us actually ON the worship team. Truthfully, until like 5 hours before the all-night prayer, we were still practicing. I find that God likes to do this thing with my stubborn heart in which He pushes me into despair until the only option I have left is Him. Not that this happens every time, because let’s face it, that’s not really having faith, but it teaches me to go to HIM first before I turn to another human soul.
The most important thing I wanted to say about the All-Night Prayer was something that Christine said to me. I suppose I was aware of this also, but it didn’t really hit me until Christine mentioned it. Of all the times she has seen me lead worship, this was the first and only time she had ever saw such a wide smile on my face. I’m usually pretty zoned out when I do worship, but a lot of times I do like to watch people in worship to get myself into the Spirit as well. There was something about that night that was unmistakable – joy. I’m not talking happiness with friends, or excitement from seeing the snow fall outside (I still don’t know what caused me to smile like an idiot when I saw the snow..), but I’m talking about an eternal joy that boils deep in your heart. This was something that was incredibly precious to me, and something I had experienced for the first time ever at the end of last summer. The joy never went away, but I wasn’t ever really aware of it either. I have to say, when I saw the different eclectic clusters form that night, it was like God gave me a peek of His grandeur and said, “You see this? That’s what it’s about! This is what I’m coming back to”.
From the moment we entered the room, until this very moment, that joy still hasn’t left. The funny thing is, I’ve felt like this before, yet each time I find this everlasting joy, I am still as excited as ever, like a poor man hiding away treasures. The difference is though, this time, the joy wasn’t just mine alone. In fact, it didn’t even come from me. It was seeing their hearts abandoned in the pure spirit of worship that turned me around to look face to face at the Father I love. This one three-lettered word that I had discover last summer has followed my every turn. The one thing that always brings me joy is seeing OTHERS form deepening relationships with each other. And I think that’s the difference that Unity makes for me. As much as I would LOVE to always hang out with the people I love, I also want others to be me for a day. I understand it will be awkward, but until they step into that position, they can only have a relationship with each other vicariously through me. I like seeing people experience things not because they were forced to, but because they were given the opportunity to (though my method of “giving” is throwing them into the deep end of the pool). What they choose to do with that opportunity is up to them, but more often than not, they seize the chance and a new relationship, their own, is created.
Unity is one of the biggest things I’ll miss about Seekers. People I never knew spend the week with me, and suddenly I’m making plans with them all the time.
God finds His ways to bring people together, and I find that when someone else sees you in your brokenness, that bond is the strongest you will ever find.
Yes, whether we knew it or not, we were all broken that night. But then again, like my incredibly overused favorite phrase from Starfield’s album, “Beauty in the Broken”
There’s the shards of glass, and then there’s the treasures hidden in the jar that otherwise would’ve never revealed itself to the world.