I’m going to go kind of out of order about the weekend because all of it was great, but one part stands out above the rest in the way it affected me.
On Sunday after the workshop, all 40 of us women loaded into our shuttle bus and drove to the spot that changed America. We first went to the WTC visitor center. When we first walked in, I have to be honest and say I wasn’t sure what to expect. It didn’t take long for heart sinking images to bring tears rushing to the front lines. There is a wall at the beginning that is covered with faces of people that were never found. As I walked along the wall, all I could do is pray for all of their families.
The anvil sitting in my stomach stayed for a couple hours. The images, the faces of the lost, and the words of the survivors; all of it as so heavy…so real. To add to the emotion of it all I was walking around with mothers and wives that had been so greatly impacted by what happened that day as many of us have sent our men over to fight the war and most of them came home another man.
Right after we all headed to the WTC site, and in another way were able to be brought to reality of what was and what is today. The fountains they built are beautiful. When I had walked out of the visitor center, I couldn’t say anything…what do you say? The same thing happened when I stood looking into a fountain that was so beautiful after being such an ugly dreadful mass of despair. Before leaving one of the other wives and I stopped and prayed for all of the families that had lost someone, for all the people that have been directly affected, and for God and all of His glory to be seen through it all.
When Cale had surprised me one year for my birthday to watch the ball drop, we had gone to the site and prayed for all the families just like I prayed last night. So many lives changed so quickly…I’m still moved by the emotion that filled the area.
The flight over was filled with adventures like many of my days are. My flight from Pasco landed in Salt Lake at 7:55am and my next flight started boarding at 7:50! The announcement was made that there were tight connections, but of course hardly anyone pays attention. I kept telling myself not to get worked up and that everything was going to be fine. I prayed that the Lord would cover me in His peace even when my flesh wanted to panic. As soon as I figured out what gate I needed to be at and how far it was away, with my pink converse and flower covered carryon, I bolted. My little legs ran as quickly as I could get them to move! I flew past people and when I arrived at the gate, my heart was pumping hard and fast all to find out that they were still boarding first class. I stood waiting for 15 minutes all the while people that I had just zoomed by (like a crazy person) strolled up to wait with me. Uh…haha!
The shuttle that picked me up was a whole other story! I was on it for 3.5 hours and at some point during the ride I turned into a person from Europe instead of Washington. This weekend there was a marathon going on in the city. Our shuttle was full of foreigners that had come to partake in the pain and excitement of running for hours. The two kind ladies next to me were from Ireland, but even before I found out where they were from, I became mesmerized by their accent. I couldn’t help but soak up the sound of each word…yes, I really am that pathetic when it comes to accents! I have been known to walk around with my best made up copycat accent after watching movies like Pride and Prejudice. This time ended up being not much different. After some confusion of the pricing, the lady right next to me asked a question and when I opened my mouth to speak, it wasn’t my voice…it was (my guess) a mix of a few countries. I was talking with a fake accent! As I was realizing what was happening, I couldn’t get myself to stop and it was really hard to not laugh hysterically! Oh man. Don’t worry the rest of the ride was great and um…my normal voice came back. :)
I’m sure I could go into a lot of detail about the weekend as a whole, but that in itself could turn into a book! This weekend was so good for me. I needed it in more ways than I can count. My heart was worked on in ways that I wasn’t expecting. I was humbled and encouraged. The ladies that I spent time with each have their own story and as I listened to each of them throughout the weekend I was continually reminded how blessed I am. PTSD is something that I am so thankful we are not walking through.
I had a few opportunities to share about the power of prayer and how God has been my rock and strength to make it through every day. At one point after sharing a little piece of our story, one of our mentors said, “and look at you, you’re not devastated. You’re one of the most cheerful people I know.” All I can say is it’s directly because the joy of the Lord and knowing that His grace IS sufficient!
I was challenged and reminded that the journey Cale and I are walking is one that God chose for us. We wouldn’t have chosen it, but He did when He created us. He’s written a story that needs to be shared because it brings glory to His name. The more that I saw and met women that are hurting so much and walking in discouragement and pain, the more I wanted to be even a sliver of encouragement to them! I have no idea all the ways the Lord is already using us and all that He has planned, but if the love story that He so perfectly knitted together is one that will bring hope to the hurting, then I can claim nothing less than being truly blessed.
As far as writing…
I received this text from Rachel during my flights on Friday, “Hey! So you made it off? Keep me posted today. I’m praying for you…that God would use you in the lives of women, and that you might learn something about writing in the meantime as well. :) I was thinking about how you’re feeling a little bit discouraged about the writing. You’re first priority is as a daughter of the King. You’re second is to be an awesome wife. Writing is somewhere further down the line. You’re succeeding at the first 2, so I wouldn’t worry about not having much written yet. It will come! Love you! Have fun this weekend!”
I needed that text. I needed the reminder.
Writing is tough work and especially since I’m not trained in any kind of way that makes it seem even more like a somewhat crazy idea for me to attempt. If I’m keeping my priorities straight, and living as a daughter of the king, then everything after that will line up.
I was nervous to show what I have at this point and hesitant to share for fear of the changes that would need to be made, but with the encouragement of our mentors and the ladies in my group, I feel so excited!!! The hard work is about to begin and that’s going to mean changes in my day, but I know in the end, it’s gonna be worth it.
The weekend was a complete blessing. The Wounded Warrior Project paid for the flights, really nice hotel, and ALL of the food. The mentors were writers from books to TV shows. They’ve all won awards and prizes and were still willing to sit and help us become writers. Wow. It was all such a blessing!
I have more pictures from the trip coming, but my point and shoot isn’t great so one of the other gals snapped a bunch!
As for getting home, right as the plane was getting ready to take off; they powered down and took us back to the terminal. There was a mechanical issue which caused me to miss my connecting flight…which meant getting home about 5 hours later. I love traveling and all the adventures that go with it, but tonight was our bible study and I felt terrible for having to miss it AND have them switch plans. Other than that, it’s given me some time to write some of this and eat some chocolate. :)
This is my happy place…
Home with my Boy. My man. My love.