(Posted after the fact - no internet connection in the woods!)
I’m dragging my fingers across the keyboard. It’s been a long but very satisfying day.
Last night and this morning (early this morning!) I was a judge for the TN Fine Arts Competition. It’s basically like a Christian talent competition, where junior high and high school students get the chance to present different kinds of creative ministries. I judged some of the drama categories, and it was really fun. It’s always neat to see what happens when you give kids a chance to tell stories for themselves.
After this morning’s session, I packed up the car, picked up Sally Barris, and drove out to Cadiz, KY, for the Redeemer Women’s Retreat. I’m currently sitting in what only can be called a hotel room in Lake Barkley State Park. People keep saying we’re camping, and let me tell you, if this was camping, I’d be camping all the time! Our room looks like an HGTV version of “rustic chic” - dark stained walls, toile comforters that match the imitation-silk gingham curtains, and a granite and slate lined 3-piece bath. The true piece de resistance: each room has a private balcony and a completely clear view of the lake. Truly stunning!
Sally and I arrived just in time to rehearse with Jenna and Kendra for tonight’s sessions. Crazy rushed, but we worked with the time we had. I had a glorious 25 minutes to sit by the lake. The water was calm, and three fish jumped right in front of me. My kingdom for a pole!
At supper we ate BBQ and banana pudding, and chatted with the Redeemer ladies. It was easy to tell they’d been having a good time - everyone looked beautiful and relaxed. Laughter dominated the conversation.
Right after the meal, we gathered for our evening worship set, which I was leading. Jenna and Kendra filled out the all-girl praise team. Jenna had really blessed me by entrusting me with the leadership position, and it was somewhat intimating to lead with her on the team, but it all worked out so well. She and I have learned each other’s signals, so once I allowed myself to get out of the way, things flowed beautifully. We did a four praise songs, included a little acapella group singing, and Kendra ended the set with prayer. It was powerful and awesome!
After our Bible study session (Ruth - one of my favourites!), Sally and Jenna did a mini-concert. In the rehearsal today, they asked if I knew “Down to the River to Pray,” so tonight, we did it acapella in 3-part harmony. Our voices blended so well! We’ve decided we need to find another song or 2 and do it again some time. Sally did some of her originals, which were fantastic, and then they lead us in a hymn sing. We’d put all the chairs in a circle, campfire-style, and it was lovely to look around the circle and see all the beautiful faces. For the last song, “In Christ Alone,” Jenna called up Kendra and me to sing along. By the end of it, all the ladies were on their feet and the energy was too strong to stop, so we broke out in a round of Michael W. Smith’s “Angus Dei”. So awesome!
As we packed up the sound system (our SoloAmp!) and mics, some ladies prayed, others laughed, and other just hugged and talked about the beauty of the weekend. After the room cleared, Kendra and I did a quick rehearsal for tomorrow morning. I’ve now been on the go almost 18 hours. I’m tired. My voice is tired. My feet are tired, but I feel so good and satisfied and relaxed. Looking forward to climbing into my fluffy bed and dreaming of fishing...