This weekend, The Garden’s Leadership Team got away for our second annual retreat.
I’m still finding words for all Father did over the weekend. He told me specific things He was going to do in each heart and how He was going to move us as a team deeper into His. Just like always, He did exactly what I felt Him say He would do. I believe our team walked away marked by the love of God in a way we never have before.
The Garden is serving someone you know.
It’s the girl sitting on the same row with you each Sunday. She’s the girl in the next cubicle over. The cousin you love but only see a few times a year. The teacher who pours out her life into your child. The lady sitting on your board. The woman on the other end of the conference call. The girl on your worship team.
Almost seven years ago we started trying to grow our family.
Years began to pass, months of negative pregnancy tests were thrown to the bottom of the trash, and I found myself in my bathroom floor completely brokenhearted and so very alone after we found out, yet another, infertility treatment had failed. That moment, in the bathroom floor, was defining for me. I realized that I had wanted the gift way more than I wanted the Giver. I decided on the cold tiles that morning that He, the Giver, was enough for me.
And really it was Him that I wanted.
I talk a lot around here, about how it’s been in the darkest moments of my life, when the Father has invited me deeper into His heart. The darkness, the hard places, the nights that feel they will never turn to morning, have all been invitations for me to come near, to reach for His hand, even when I can’t see. And every time I have pressed into Him, reached out to Him, I’ve found more of Him. Yet, there is still even more to be found.
The first time I met my friend Megan, I saw it in her. A hunger, a passion to recklessly pursue the Father. She sat across from me at Starbucks and told me her story, and as we both cried, I saw a tenderness in her for the Father. She was hurting, she is still hurting, but it’s been in this pain, that she has truly been moved to deeper places in the Lord.
I want to steward this space in such a way, that it gives a voice to stories like hers. Stories that look broken and full of pain on the outside, but once you peek inside, you really see a story full of beauty and life. A story of a mother grieving her baby, but of the Father intricately rewriting the story that the enemy meant for evil, turning it for good. He does that. He makes beauty rise up from the ashes. It’s clearly seen in Megan’s story. We’re watching and believing as Monroe’s life makes ripples throughout eternity, calling others to move deeper into the Father’s heart. Calling us to move deeper.