When I left on retreat last Sunday, my prayer was for the Lord to continue the work he began in me last summer.
I will admit I was a tiny bit skeptical about it being a true retreat this time around, as it was also a 30 hour course on Theology of the Body (with break times, adoration, Mass, and confession every day. Oh, and awesome food :). I'm used to the schedule, but this time was different. Most of my skepticism came from the fact that when I packed my bag it contained the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Man and Woman: He Created Them, A Theology of the Body; Christopher West's two most recent books; an encyclical and a 50 page papal document. I was more than a little intimidated by this stack and prepared for this week to be different, very different, than past weeks with the TOB Institute (this was my 4th course/retreat with them).
Well, it was different. But not in the way I expected.
Yes, it was a lot of engaging my brain and thinking. And I even made it through Sunday night without crying (which made me all proud of myself, and well, pride goeth before the fall).
And then, from Monday morning through Tuesday evening, well, I'm not even sure there are words to describe it, and it is certainly too much for one post, but I will be sharing it, in a few parts over the next week or so. The posts will be titled/themed as follows (this is definitely a little bit of an accountability thing here as I want to post about these and I don't want to forget what I'm thinking of):
"The Barren Visitation" - the story of 2 women who sat with one another for a week and took turns bringing Christ to one another
"Follow Me" - where I felt Jesus calling me to that moment on the cross when he cried out "My God, My God, Why have you abandoned me?"
"My God, My God, Why Have You Abandoned Me?" - what happened when I followed Him to that moment
"In the Service of Life" - my latest thoughts on infertility, suffering, answered prayers, and pain.
The reason for this post is, yes, to hold me accountable, but also to say that I truly hope what I will be sharing is helpful to you.
I used to think peace = no pain; peace = acceptance; peace = no more hot mess of grieving. What I learned last week, is that sometimes peace = pain, anger, even hotter mess of grieving, but believing and knowing (if only in my head) that Jesus is with me and God is trustworthy.
Much of these posts will be raw emotion, in fact I still feel like I have a huge exposed wound after having a bandaid ripped off. It won't be pretty, it wasn't pretty last week, but if it helps one person reading this in the tiniest little bit it will be worth sharing.