Earlier in the fall my mom asked me if I would co-lead a workshop with her at her church’s women’s retreat the end of January. Always one for a new challenge and adventure, I said yes. Last Thursday I flew to Indiana for the weekend. The retreat didn’t start until Friday evening so we had the day to play. We spent our day well—getting manicures, eating Indian food for lunch, and my favorite, shopping at T.J. Maxx. Let’s just say I was glad I flew Southwest. I took advantage of the “two bags fly for free” on the way home!
There was certainly a “work” element to the weekend. The workshop we co-led was entitled “Getting Beyond the Rind: Trusting God in the Everyday.” We used the image of an orange to illustrate the point that sometimes it is hard to trust God. Our circumstances or situations can seem hopeless or as if God doesn’t answer our prayers, but if we move beyond the rind, we get to the sweet—that place where we see God’s provision and care for us even in the difficult circumstances. My mom started the workshop by sharing briefly about my brother’s brush with cancer this past summer and receiving that initial phone call from him. From there, she moved into how learning to trust God deepens our spiritual lives. She shared the stories of Joseph and Priscilla as two figures who found themselves with big opportunities to trust God.
Then it was my turn .I focused on trusting God in our work lives and in our home lives. I wanted to convey the idea that each of us desires meaningful and purposeful work, but the reality is that sometimes our work is mundane and less than perfect. Filing invoices for eight hours a day isn’t my idea of meaningful work, but it was a summer job for me during college, providing extra money for the coming school year. For my last point, trusting God in our home lives, I shared my story of the past eight years—the graduate school years as I have come to call them—and the many opportunities I had for trusting God from financial worries to an uncertain future. Working on this workshop and writing out my thoughts, allowed me to see once again God’s hand in my life and my family’s life. I will admit that I felt overwhelmed at times as I prepped for this workshop. I had a serious case of self-doubt the day before I left, but in the end, I trusted God for the outcome (no pun intended) and experienced a sense of peace.
I flew home Sunday afternoon and jumped right back into being a mom. Anna needed help reviewing for two tests, there was laundry to fold, and dress shirts to iron. I was right back to my everyday life, and that was okay.