Monday, March 19, 2007


True Story... when I was a junior in high school I was invited to a youth group ski retreat. It was an invitation extended several times over the course of a few weeks. Usually I smiled sweetly and told a then, acquaintance Vicky, that I would get back to her. One day, on the basketball court, minutes before a game, Vicky asked me if I wanted to go on the retreat the following weekend. In an effort to quiet her I said, "Oh yeah, sure, absolutely... let me know all about it." (Insert cynicism here) Well, being the good friend that she was, she talked to my mom after the basketball game while I was still in the locker room and my mom, being the most amazing mother in the world, questioning nothing- paid Vicky for my reservation.
I didn't find out I was going until the day before the retreat. We were playing our second basketball game that week and Vicky said, "I'm so excited you're coming to the Ski Retreat." I'm sorry... WHAT? WHO? ME? She filled me in on the story to which I commented to my mother- HOW COULD YOU? I DIDN'T WANT TO GO TO THAT. HOW COULD YOU?
The irony? I never got to ski on that retreat. Before that very basketball game ended, I came down from a rebound and tore a ligament in my right ankle. The silver lining I figured was that Surely I couldn't go on that retreat now... right? WRONG! I thought it was the perfect way out. I can't ski, so I can't go. But as I was casted and sent on my way the Dr was specific in his instructions... You can join the others on the retreat but there is NO SKIING ALLOWED. And as all mothers know best... my mom said, "I paid! You're going."


Hindsight is always 20-20. Looking back I can see the hand of God in everything leading up to this retreat. I did indeed go. And I met all kinds of people. Most of them amazing, welcoming and encouraging. The youth pastor Cam and his wife Mary... I'd never met before. But you would have thought we were old friends the way they spent time with me and ensured I was enjoying the retreat. Todd, (boy, I wonder what he is up to these days) would ski... then come in to chat with me for a while before heading back on the mountain to ski again. There were all kinds of groups within the group that would visit me in the lodge to ensure I wasn't bored. Almost as if they were all taking shifts to interact with me. By nightfall Cam gave a lesson and then we divided into small groups and went back to our cabins.
The "supervisor" in my cabin was Cam's sister in law, Kim. She was just as accepting, encouraging, patient and well... Godly as he was. I couldn't believe it. Here I was, a junior in high school, an all around athlete, and mostly- a girl STRIVING to be "IN" by means of social standards... and yet, here was an entire group of people who knew nothing about me, didn't ask me to prove myself, and couldn't have cared less about "Status." They simply extended themselves to me as though we were all near and dear friends.
That night I questioned Kim for a good 90 minutes about this God they spoke of. Well passed what should have been "Bed Time". Recalling the conversation, I'm not sure how she tolerated me. I really knew nothing. But she was patient. She explained as much as she could. Technically, the best visual I can give for what that conversation entailed is this... Any advancing toddler when then hit their "why" stage. Example-

Talkative Toddler: "Mommy, why do we have to go to sleep at night?"

Smart Mom: "Because you need your rest."
Talkative Toddler: "Why?"
Smart Mom: "Because everything you do while you're awake requires energy and you gain back that energy when you sleep."
Talkative Toddler: "Why?"
Slightly Annoyed, Feeling Less Smart by the Minute Mom: "Because when you sleep, you're still. You're not running. Or playing. Or talking. Or asking mommy why."
Insistent yet still talkative toddler: "WHY?"
Giving Up Mom: "BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!"

And I was that toddler. And in the end... Kim said, "BECAUSE HE SAID SO." And you know what? It stuck. I got it. And I believed.

I BORROWED her Bible that night. Not knowing where to start I did the logical thing... I began at the beginning. Literally... IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH. Genesis 1:1. And I read for 6 hours on the bathroom floor. (So as not to have the light on in the cabin where the 6 of us were sleeping.)

I gave in by the way. I just couldn't read anymore of the "begats". Or by Exodus- understand WHY everyone was still walking. And I won't even get into the rules found in Leviticus.... The kicker?? The next morning when they woke up and asked what I had read... they shared how I should have started in Matthew... to begin to know the ONE called Jesus. The one that died to save me. The one who is now at the right hand of the Father interceding for me. The very one who enables me to live eternally in the presence of God. SILLY ME.

I am grateful. Sincerely. Truly. Whole Heartedly GRATEFUL. That retreat changed me. That retreat empowered me. I accepted the Lord a week later. (Yes, it was after reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, John... and so on.) I continued on in that youth group,received my bachelors at Messiah and married an amazing man of God. And here I now am. 15 years saved, 9 years into marriage with 3 wonderful children connected in a thriving Christ Led, Bible based church... All because I met God on a retreat. Or should I say, all because there was NO SKIING ALLOWED.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful testimony! Thanks for sharing.

Carol Thomson