Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Rapid Retreat

Two weeks ago I just couldn't shake the thought of running away...to the beach. I spent three hours on the internet searching for just the right getaway location when the time finally comes. I knew the general area I'd like to go to. And I knew the MAN I wanted to run away with, but the timing remained a mystery. Kinda hard to check out rates when you don't know the dates. So, I got myself all excited about getting away and then like a child's balloon let go...it flittered all over the place and turned into nada. Bummer.

I prayed in earnest: LORD, if You don't have it in mind for us to go to the beach this year, then please take this desire away from me. Please, Jesus. Thank You. Amen.

Rod laughs at me: "You pray about everything, Jenn."

"Yes, dear...remember we're supposed to "pray without ceasing"?

So, then the bad thing happened. Well, it wasn't that bad. But last Friday, I had to take Rachel to the airport in Greenville. Now, every time I go to Greenville, SC I always think to myself, "We're almost there." (Meaning the beach.) It's not really true. It's a five and a half hour trip to the beach, but after the first hour in the car you are in Greenville, so this is why I associate it with a beach trip.

After Gracie and I watched Sissy's plane taxi out, we headed to the Greenville Zoo for a quick outing. I lost Rachel's car keys at the park afterward and I called Rod in a panic. "I lost Rachel's keys and I'm in the park IN GREENVILLE!!!" So, I prayed and Rod prayed and there, just as sweet as can be were the car keys on a bench. Thank you, LORD JESUS!

We drove home, had a rest, and before you know it I was on the internet just checking to see if by any chance there were any deals for a quick weekend getaway. Now, I was in the car at 5:30 am that very morning driving to Greenville. We were home in Asheville by 1:30 and I want you to know that I found a great deal on a mom and pop motel on the ocean at Myrtle Beach. So, by 8:00 pm that night we were driving by Greenville again on our way to THE BEACH!! (TEE HEE!!)

When we checked into our room at Midnight, all Ocean Boulevard was in near riot state. The high schoolers had just graduated that day and they were blowing off some very loud steam. Four girls were getting kicked out as we were checking in. The big bald security guard had very little to say as he politely carried their bags to the curb. Rod rolled his weary eyes at me. "Why do I let you talk me into these things???" I patted his arm and lightened his load..."Now don't you worry. They got rid of those trouble-making girls. It's gonna be all right." I had to shout this above the din of booming stereos and a bevvy of cruising teenagers reveling in the hot beach air. I couldn't even hear the roar of the surf.

But, our room was immaculate. Thank you, LORNA, our housekeeper at The Admiral Inn. The beds were comfortable and somehow the LORD allowed us to drop off into a drooling slumber even though it sounded like the end of the world outside the door.

Saturday morning we woke up to birds singing and sun shining and waves rolling gently onto the beach. After a smashingly good breakfast at Mammy's Kitchen we spent the rest of the day on the beach. Gracie dug holes to her heart's content. (I am convinced she just might reach China someday.) I thanked God a whole bunch throughout the day. I just couldn't believe we weren't sitting in our living room in Asheville on a Saturday.

The weather was perfect, the water was wonderful. Gracie was thrilled to swim in the ocean between Mom and Dad. I held her as she clung to me like a barnacle on the dock as we rode the incoming waves. I kept looking for that old feeling to come back.
That's what I was really after...in desiring the beach. But, He kept showing me that He isn't in a place, He's just with me.

I know I've written this before. And many of you have read it already (all right, already...we get it!) I love the ocean because I fell in love with God there. I miss the ocean because I want to get that old sweet feeling back. But, you know...God was showing me something there in Myrtle Beach this time. I have to go with the new sweet feelings He gives me and stop trying to relive my past. The past is over. And that's not a bad thing.

On Sunday morning we planned to head on over to Calvary Chapel Myrtle Beach for the 9:30 service. It is on the way out of town. I knew once we got out of the service we would have to leave and go home. So, I begged Rod to please let us just worship the LORD on the beach. He acquiesced to my request.

Suddenly, I thought of a passage of scripture and I opened my Bible to John 21. Here is what the New Living Translation says:

Later Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several disciples were there -- Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.

Simon Peter said, "I'm going fishing."
"We'll come, too," they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

At dawn the disciples SAW JESUS STANDING ON THE BEACH, but they couldn't see who He was. He called out, "Friends, have you caught any fish?"

"No," they replied.

Then He said, "Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you'll get plenty of fish!" So they did, and they couldn't draw in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the LORD!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and swam ashore. v.1-7 (emphasis mine, of course)

Okay, so I'm sitting there reading this WONDERFUL passage of scripture...my sweet Jesus is standing on the beach watching his dear disciples trying to live the old life. And I happened to look up and this is what I saw with my own two (four) eyes:

I took his picture. He cast his net again and again. I got closer and closer with my camera and kept snapping. It was such a blessed moment. I finally got so close that the young man stopped what he was doing and I had to tell him what this crazy woman was doing stalking him on the beach with her camera.

His name is Killion. I told him how Jesus told a story about the Kingdom of Heaven being like a fisherman who cast his net into the sea. He caught all kinds of creatures. But he only kept the good, the ones who know Jesus as LORD, and the rest he threw away. Killion said he was baptised only three weeks ago. I said, "Praise God. That's wonderful!"

He caught nothing with the net, but he did throw in the line and caught a fish. It looked to me like a baby hammerhead shark. But, I could be wrong. (I wondered if it had a gold coin in its mouth...it was THAT kind of morning!)

By Noon, THIS is what our back seat looked like:

A Rapid Retreat was a wonderful getway and guess Who was waiting for us in our living room in Asheville when we got home? Isn't He marvelous?