I have had enough, Lord,” Elijah said… Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. —I Kings 19:4-6
Good food, a chance to get away, encouragement in a peaceful setting. All these things scream ladies retreat to me. Spring of 2012 was the last time I had been able to step away and be a part of one of these special weekends. I was looking forward to having time to breathe, reflect, share victories and defeats, and feast on His Word with fellow soldiers—some MAF wives and other expatriate missionaries from the little mountain town of Wamena, Indonesia.
An MAF airplane delivered our group to a beautiful village called Ibele. As I stepped off the plane, I was picturing delicious food, sweatpants, long walks and laughing, but what was creeping up in my heart was a night of soul freeing crying. I still felt like the newbie here, and the weight of loneliness was rising up in me and spilling out my eyes by suppertime. “Breathe, Debbie. Don’t cry in front of these ladies; you don’t really know them yet.” That’s what my head was telling me, but my heart had other plans. I tried to hide, but they found me. This sweet group of warriors who have walked this lonely road so many times let me cry, prayed with me, and reminded me that feeling this way was normal.
I love how the Lord cares for us. Even in the midst of ministry, He longs to minister to our hearts, just like He led Elijah to rest, eat, and then rest some more.
In the stillness of Ibele, God spoke to my heart to be real, and then provided what I needed to move towards true rest in Him.