Well, here it is. My much awaited post regarding my week-end in Simpsonville with Wayne Jacobsen and some other believers. It'll probably be a long one since I have the unique ability to be able to take a short story and make it long.
The week-end was great for various reasons. Even before we got to the gathering place, Father showed me some areas of my life where his grace has been transforming me.
We had a major rain storm pass through S. C. Friday so, as I drove home from work, the rain was heavy at times. What amazed me was that I wasn't fearful. At one time, I would have been scared driving through that much rain and I would have been praying in tongues all of the way home. Instead, I was totally at peace and didn't think about the rain too much. For me, this was amazing since fear has been a major part of my life for many years but this is one area that I see Father's grace working in me to bring transformation.
When I first discussed this trip with my darling husband, he said he would go with me but wouldn't attend any of the gatherings. I accepted that and didn't try to manipulate to try to get him to change his mind. I didn't remind him of all of the bluegrass concerts I went to when I really would have preferred not to go. In the past, I would have done that but now, I just handed the whole thing over to Father and was okay with whatever happened. Well, Charlie ended up going to all of the gatherings with me although he didn't really participate in them. When I thanked him for going, he said that I went with him where he wanted to go so it was only right that he go where I wanted to go. I was thrilled. It's obvious Father doesn't need my help to accomplish what he wants to do.
We left Friday after lunch but didn't meet with the others until Saturday because of the way the hostesses planned the events. We attended a drop-in Saturday after lunch. Besides Wayne and the host couple, there were 3 other people present. Basically, we all sat around in the living room and talked. Although I knew there was no planned agenda , it still seemed strange to just sit and talk to a room full of strangers. Also, I don't do small talk very well so I was wondering how that would turn out and what we would say to each other.
The conversation seemed somewhat forced with lots of quiet times. I also don't do quiet very well so I kept trying to think of something to say. Since I couldn't think of anything, I finally decided to just accept the quiet and not try to force conversation. This is another place where I see that I've grown in this grace walk. Just like the apostle Peter, normally I would have jumped in and said something just to end the silence.
We gathered together again Saturday night for pizza and conversation. There were more people this time and the conversation flowed more naturally. We began with a large group conversation and Wayne shared about the amazing transformation his wife, Sara, went through a number of years ago. If you haven't heard her story, I know you would enjoy hearing this wonderful story about how Father took a fearful and insecure woman and transformed her into a daughter who is secure in his love. This led to others in the group sharing about marriage and relationships.
When the pizzas arrived, the group naturally divided into smaller groups of 2 or 3 in order to eat, share and to get to know each other. Everyone was involved in their individual conversations. Even though Wayne was there, he no longer was the focus of attention and he seemed very comfortable with that. He did nothing to draw attention to himself. He just simply participated in the conversation as another brother in the Lord. The groups were very fluid and, as conversations ended, new groups would form.
It was totally unplanned and no one was there making sure conversations were going smoothly or dividing us up into groups and assigning topics. The Holy Spirit formed the groups and it was okay for those groups to later break and new ones form.
Charlie and I planned to leave Sunday at about noon but, before we left, we went to see Wayne again. The group that gathered was small. Other than Wayne and the host family, the only other folks there were the two men from Ga. We sat around the kitchen table and talked. This time it seemed like the barriers were down and conversation flowed freely and naturally. It was simply friends having conversation around the breakfast table.
The week-end was great. I guess the words I would use to describe it would be real and authentic. It was just friends relating to one another in the real circumstances of life. Even though Wayne was the reason we were gathering, his presence served more as a catalyst to bring us together. He didn't come to be center stage or to share words of wisdom with us. He came as a brother to share life with us and I believe that's what happened.