Monday, April 8, 2013

I surrender all...

It's been a weekend of surrender.

Honestly, surrender began at even signing up a few months back to come to Women of Joy.  I wanted to go last year. I mean, how could a joy seeker, a joy sharer like me, NOT want to go? But something held me back. I didn't really know these women. I'd only joined the church a short time and being with "strangers" a whole weekend was way out of my comfort zone.  Being an onion and a bit of a loner, it takes me awhile to warm up to someone I don't know well.  Even though I call many of these women friends now, it was still outside my comfort zone a year later.

But God whispered, "Go..."

So it was in complete surrender when I signed up in February.  I paid the registration quickly as I could, so I didn't stress or analyze the details of the unknown.

When you let go and let God, amazing things happen. 

There's so much to share about this past weekend of JOY.  My messy notes, scribbled in the dark, will be inspiration for this week's posts.  I'm pacing myself on purpose because, to do it justice, it has to be more than just one writing.

For now, I'll share a picture of the group of ladies I was blessed to share the weekend with.  Some were old friends, some fairly recent, and some were brand new faces I'm glad to now know.

at the Spaghetti Factory...when we weren't at JOY, we were eating!  :)
 You can imagine in a group this big there's stories to share.  Oh, the laughs we had! 
But of course, what happens in Louisville stays in Louisville, so for the most part that fun will have to stay tucked away in the secret vault.  After that kind of tease though, I will end laughing at myself. 
And letting you join me.

Part of being an onion meant I didn't do a lot of sleepovers.  I had one best friend and spent 1/2 my life at her house but never really went to others.  I wasn't a typical college student and didn't do the dorm life, so I've never had a roommate.  Other than having to room with co-workers on work retreats, that world is unfamiliar and scary to me.  It was the part of the trip I was most apprehensive about.

To save money, we were all sharing beds, not just rooms.  The original plan was to have four in a room, two to a bed.  I picked my bed mate early, the kindness of an offer from a relatively new but close friend at church.  Debbie has become so much more than a friend to me - a mentor, a spiritual coach... (I could write a post or two just about her friendship).  Anyway, it did somewhat relieve my anxiety that she'd be the one I'd bunk with. 

Due to a hotel mistake, we ended up two a room, one small bed.  Anxiety returned. 
(surrender, surrender, I told myself!)

It was L.A.T.E. when we finally went to bed our first night, after a midnight feeding at the Cheesecake Factory and lots of walking at JOY conference.  My legs were beyond exhausted and I felt like I was riding a bicycle with their restlessness.  Of course, I tried to softly move them, so as not to disturb my sleeping pal.  In the wee hours of the morning, all hope was lost.

Being shocked awake by massive leg cramps, I tried to jump out of the bed and stand, the only relief I knew to seek.  Debbie, being the sweet pal she is, is startled from sleep thinking I'm having nightmares.  She grabs hold of me (a somewhat funny sight when you picture her size compared to mine) and in a David vs Goliath attempt, pulls me back shouting, "It's ok, you're just having a bad dream!" 

At the same time, and unable to speak because of the pain, I'm pulling away from her, struggling with the mounds of covers, trying to get out of the bed and stand on two legs.  For probably seconds, but what felt an eternity, we did this humorous tug-o-war.  Eventually I won and stood in the small room, trying to walk enough to work it out.  Still mute from the pain, she's not giving up trying to wake me, continuing her shouts of compassion to bring me from the nightmare.

After a few stretches and old man roll-on medicine, I was able to communicate to her what happened.  Still groggy, it dawns on Debbie what just occurred and we both collapse into laughter.  For the next thirty minutes -or more!- we enjoyed belly busting, side splitting laughs.  I was actually afraid someone would call the front desk and complain. 

Though an awkward icebreaker, it was kind of hard to have any nervousness after that.  It certainly gave us both something to laugh about the entire weekend!  And it helped me at least to physically surrender to the experience!

More JOY to come this week, friends...


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