Two weeks ago, I was loading up the back of my car and running through the mental checklist of necessary items while Josh was off coaching at a high school tennis tournament.
Clothes – check
Pajamas – check
Toiletries – check
Bible & journal – check
Laptop & hard drive – check
I threw in a pillow and comforter for good measure, stopped at Starbucks for an iced double espresso, and began my six hour drive north.
I was making a trip that had only come about less than 24 hours earlier.
Kristin had been planning the Delight retreat for months. Twenty girls aged 16-22 were about to make the beautiful 7,000 square foot custom timber home tucked into the mountains of Leavenworth home for the next four days. Leaders were prayed over. Schedules created. Speaking sessions spoken for.
And then, at the last minute, God shook it all up.
One by one, four of the leaders that were supposed to be at the retreat… weren’t. From being stopped at the Canadian border and physically prevented from entering the country, to arriving and leaving before the retreat even began because of a nasty flu bug, God shut doors – rearranging the entire leadership of the retreat at the very last moment.
My free-of-plans weekend turned suddenly into a teaching-on-the-fly weekend. I arrived just as worship was wrapping up and the first session was beginning. I took this photo as I walked into the house, and then set my phone aside for the rest of the weekend:
Over the next three days, we worshipped together. We looked at Bezalel in the book of Exodus and studied how he was content to rest in the shadow of the Almighty (his name literally means Under the Shadow of the Almighty), executing the business that God created him to do. We heard testimonies. Dug deeper. Cried together and laughed until our sides hurt. The girls photographed models at a styled shoot in the back yard. And they photographed each other. And anything else they could get their cameras on. And we sat around the table and learned how to study scripture together. I showed them my type-A-color-coded-study-scripture system, and watched their hunger grow for God’s Word tangibly before my eyes.
I’ve done a few retreats in my day, and they typically follow a loose pattern of the last night being the whammy. The time that God moves. When healing happens. And tightly gripped things are surrendered. But not at Delight.
At Delight, we went around the room on the last night and asked every single girl to share what God was doing. What He was pressing on them. How He was speaking. Fully prepared to take the night any way He wanted to take it. But something happened that I didn’t expect. Stories were shared. Healing had already happened. And every single girl… glowed. The radiating type of glow. And I thought of Moses.
Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testmoney were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. (Exodus 34:29)
You girls don’t realize this, I said, but your faces are glowing. Glowing! The joy in this room tonight is palpable.
And then I read out of Exodus. And reiterated the fact that Moses’ face shone while he talked with Him. That tells me that you’re talking to God. Each one of you is in a continual, habitual, stopping-and-checking-in conversation with God. You’re teachable. Moldable. Listening. And you’re glowing.
And we worshipped. The truly rejoicing type of worship. And washed feet and exchanged gifts and danced and made nachos at midnight. And then, the next morning, we came off that mountaintop still shining and each went our separate ways.
Here is a little slideshow of photos by Janelle Putrich – a mighty talented 16 year old photographer. They show the play time – when the worship and teaching was happening, the cameras were set aside. Because these girls were all in all the time. Delighting and just being. What a treasure of a weekend.