Thoughts on the Eve of Family Retreat

Here I am on the eve of my 45th week at Spruce Lake, and my 50th week of Family Retreat with Joni and Friends.  How did that happen?  At the end of this summer I will have spent a full year of my life (52 weeks) at Family Retreat!
Being the 15th year in a row of driving to  Spruce Lake Retreat Center it’s a bit like coming home; yet it’s not really home.  I love the beauty of this place, and all that the Spruce Lake staff do to make us feel welcome and to serve us.  They are the best! Yet home is a place to kick back and relax; and that’s not something I do much of here.  In fact, each week is so very different and full of change.
One thing that always remains the same – this is spiritual battleground.  We are fighting to share the hope of Jesus with people who live some very challenging and stressful lives.  The enemy would love people to think that disability is a ball and chain and makes life hopeless.  But really, Family Retreat shows us just the opposite!  I know amazing things happen in the spiritual realms here because it is a battle EVERY TIME (yes all 50 weeks!) to get here, and to get here without leaving a trail behind us. 
Jen and Paige, some of my crazy co workers!

Almost without fail, Jerry and I have more conflict between us the week before Family Retreat than any other time.  Take this week for example; I think Jerry and I had 4 “miscommunications,” one pretty significant.  We work through them, but for a time there is tension and challenge.  It’s a reminder that as we come to serve, model and encourage families affected by disability, we have to be sure our lives are in the right place with God and one another.  It is so typical for us, and I hear it from other Family Retreat directors too, that the time leading up to camp is often very challenging for our marriages.    
Even throughout the weeks here we pour out so much that we have to be mindful to not let our exhaustion feed poor communication.  I remember one year on Thursday afternoon of the first two weeks of camp Jerry and I always had a pretty major disagreement.  Finally we went to one of the therapists serving with us and said, for week 3 we need an appointment with you on Thursday morning so we can avoid this mess – HA!  By making ourselves aware of the potential we were able to catch ourselves.  


One of the other hallmarks of Family Retreat – when you have an opportunity to catch some sleep – take it!  You never know when the next chance to rest may be.  So, since I have one of those opportunities sitting in front of me (yes, a comfy bed!) I am going to sign off, get some shuteye and prepare myself to welcome our Short Term Missionaries tomorrow as together we start on Mission Possible!!!!!!

Our theme for the week.  Thankfully the beginning part of the verse reminds us that it is WITH GOD that all things are possible; especially reconciliation with Him!

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