(For Part One of this story, start HERE.)
Psalm 119:103 "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
I think I can sum up the whole Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration in one word: SWEET. Every aspect of it was just so sweet – from the time I spent with other Siestas, (that's what the girls that read Beth's blog are called. Started as a typo and stuck as a nickname. J) to the time I spent alone with Jesus, to the incredible sweetness of His Word. It was all so sweet!
Friday evening (after an interesting drive!) I finally arrived at the church and found everyone a couple of minutes after it started. My new friends Bethany & Yvonne (who I hadn't actually met in person yet!) had saved a seat for me in the very front row way over on the side of the room. It was so much fun to be so close to the action! There is something incredibly special (and sweet!) about 500+ women travelling from 48 different states (+ Canada!) all to celebrate memorizing Scripture together! So many of us had travelled alone, but there was an uncanny sense of sisterhood and connection that can only be explained by the fact that we are all part of the same family of God.
The teaching was on Psalm 119, which I will have to admit to you in the past I have not been super excited about. I was a bit like some of the Bible scholars who have said it's really long and an amazing piece of intricate poetry, but it's a bit repetitive. Let me say right now I DO NOT feel that way anymore!!! Now I think it's a lot like the Grand Canyon – and I had been looking at individual verses (there are some in it I have loved for years) like looking at beautiful rocks or trees with a magnifying glass instead of stepping back and marveling the whole amazing, beautiful landscape of it! I've known for years that almost every one of the 176 verses in it referred to God's word and always thought that was the theme of it. I wasn't completely wrong, but missed (again) the point. Beth explained to us that the theme of Psalm 119 is the longing of the Psalmist (who is anonymous, by the way) for God's REVELATION. And not just written! It's about loving and longing for God's word as written AND as spoken to our hearts, His instruction in the Bible and His leading us by His Spirit, His teaching in the Torah and the enlightening that comes when He lets us UNDERSTAND it. So much more than what I had thought before! And as she spoke about the Psalmists feelings, frustrations (with others and himself!), joys, longings, confusions, and rejoicings, we could all see how he was writing about the whole of life as we experience it – the highs, lows and roller coaster loops in between. I felt so inspired to keep seeking God's revelation in my life and in His Word. That night when I couldn't sleep at 3am I read through the whole Psalm TWICE, marking up all sorts of amazing verses I had never noticed before. I think the whole thing is so beautiful now that since I came home I even wrote a song about it using only scripture (except for a couple of words) straight out of Psalm 119. How's that for a change of attitude??? J
After the session Friday night, Beth (sorry… I just can't call her "Beth Moore" anymore b/c it sounds so impersonal) and her daughters and Travis (the worship leader) were all out in the lobby talking to people and taking pictures with people. There was a line to meet Beth, so we skipped it for that night (I was just getting to know Bethany and Yvonne as well!) but I did get to meet her daughter Melissa and I got to meet Travis! And I was standing so close to where Beth was taking pictures with people that I could have reached out and pulled her hair if I'd wanted to. But I think I would have gotten scolded so I didn't.) The whole night was fun. We found out on Saturday that we missed another chance to meet Beth after the Saturday session, but we left b/c we thought she wasn't coming back out that time. Bethany and I decided that God thought it would be better that way… less temptation to make it about her instead of about God. J We ended the whole thing with a loud celebration in song that I keep reliving b/c I downloaded the songs so I can keep remembering the thing. It was so good!
I also have to mention in here somewhere that my sweet, sweet husband had flowers delivered and waiting for me in my room when I checked in on Friday. They were just beautiful!
That afternoon I had my very first Chik-Fil-A sandwich with my new friends and then Bethany and I decided to do a little shopping together for souvenirs for ourselves and others. I was determined to find a new journal b/c I knew the one I was using was going to be full by the time I got home – AND I had asked God for a new journal anyway. (At the conference they gave everyone a weekly planner. Really cute, but my thought all the way until last Monday was "What in the world am I going to do with this?" J Well, God's teaching me. He knew I needed it.) I did find an adorable journal and we just enjoyed the most leisurely, sweet afternoon I've had in a very, very long time. Hard to even explain why, but it was a treasure. I think I so often even make relaxing so hard! I go on retreats and think so much about how to get the most out of my few hours of free time that I miss the FREE part of it!!!
Well, the best part of the afternoon was finding the Williams Water Wall with Bethany. (PLEASE click on this link and watch it for me!!! It's not my video, but I can't remember how to put the video on here and I really want you to see it!!!)
It was so absolutely breathtaking we couldn't wait to bring the other girls back that night after dinner to show it to them. We met up with several others for dinner and ended up all talking for so long that it was too late to go see it. I drove by it on my way back to my hotel, just to see it lit up at night and was amazed to see it wasn't even ON! I was so grateful God was sweet enough to keep us from dragging everyone over there for nothing. J I went back to my hotel that night feeling so satisfied, loved, full and blessed. I packed up my stuff, figured out how to get back to the airport and went to bed, not knowing that God had a grand finale in store for me that was more than I ever would have been able to imagine.
(Sorry to leave you with another cliff-hanger, but nobody else is folding the laundry or making dinner around here!) J