When I saw the retreat advertised I knew I wanted to go. It wasn't my church and I didn't really know anyone so I asked a friend who usually goes to these events if she was going and could I tag along, get a ride and share a room. The answer was yes, yes and yes. So I registered and paid.
This past Thursday my friend let me know a family emergency came up and she would not be able to make it. I was offered a ride with someone else and still had someone to room with... but I was a little less excited because while I knew who a few people were, I didn't really know anyone that was going. I was afraid I would end up feeling alone or not fitting in.
In the end, I decided to drive myself to the retreat. I needed a few extra hours to get some work done before I left and planned to get there about a half hour before things got started. I worked all day Friday. At 3:00 I started throwing things in a bag hoping that I wasn't forgetting anything. At 3:30 I pulled out. A quick stop at the post office and then I was on my way, mapquest directions AND a GPS to get me there.
As I was driving down the road about a half hour from home, I started thinking through everything I had packed and hoping that I didn't forget anything. And then it popped into my head... underwear!!! I forgot to pack underwear! Thankfully I was right by a Walmart so I stopped and fixed that problem.
I later stopped to get dinner and another time to use a bathroom and call Mike to get me some information I forgot to bring along. At this point my GPS was telling me that I was ten minutes from my destination. I also was no longer following my mapquest directions because the GPS had told me to take a different turn and since there was a sign for the camp I was looking for I decided to go with it.
So there I was... ten minutes away... and the GPS turned me onto a dead end road. I had no idea where I was and no idea where to go. It was dark and I was lost. I was stuck sitting at the turn around on the dead end road looking at my GPS and mapquest, trying to come up with a plan. That's when another car came down the road and the woman hollered "are you looking for the retreat!?"
Her GPS also took her to the dead end road. But we worked together and did things the old fashioned way... we stopped at a gas station and asked for directions. Several back roads later and we arrived at the camp with about two minutes to spare.
God is cool like that.
He orchestrated my entire day so that when I got lost it would be at the same time and same place as someone else so that I wouldn't be lost alone. God knew my unease about going alone and gave me a friend before I even arrived. I walked in with two other people laughing at our story instead of walking in alone.
Throughout the rest of the weekend the word alone never crossed my mind again. I was right where I was meant to be this past weekend... surrounded by an amazing group of women and listening to great speakers. We laughed, cried and created memories together. When I left Sunday afternoon I had found several new friends and the hard areas of my heart had begun to crack.
God is cool.
God is good.
Retreats are necessary.