My first morning at Adv Captivating dawned clear and chilly. Sleep had not visited me much in the night, and I was reluctant to brave the pitch dark of our 12-woman bunk room to climb down from my (top) bunk and prepare for the day ahead.
God was insistent. Calling gently, “come walk with me. Greet the sun with me.” So I (grumbling) rousted myself from the bunk and got dressed for the day ahead.
Much of the material of Advanced Captivating focused on establishing conversational intimacy with God. This wasn’t a subject new to me. I have heard the voice of God clearly for most of my life, but for the several months leading up to this event, that voice was
Jesus and I just hadn’t been talking like we used to. Blame it on the busy season of life and my squeezing out his voice with activity and noise. Blame it on the seminary studies and my squeezing out his voice with the voices of classic theologians. Blame it on the dry, desert-like conditions of my heart at the time. Blame it on me….because God didn’t change. He was still there. Maybe I was the one gone….
I was terrified during the first session of the retreat when Stasi encouraged us to take time to chat with God. To ask questions. To start small with questions we knew the answer to, questions that we weren’t too invested in. I was afraid that no matter the size of the question, He would not speak. But I decided I would listen for Him any way, and start small.
When I felt His invitation to walk early Friday morning, I was elated. I knew exactly where He would take me. A beautiful overlook just up from our bunkhouse offered breathtaking views of the sun rising over the mountains….it would be there….we would sit, I would breathe in creation and the wonder of the Creator and we would be renewed together. I packed my camera to record the moment…and set off….
As an act of obedience, I told God I would follow only where he led on our walk. Turn by turn. (Knowing exactly where we were going…of course…) I smiled as he led me up the stairs toward the overlook. I looked ahead to choose the rock I would curl up on. As an afterthought, I remembered my promise….
“Left or right here, God?”
“Are you sure? The overlook is to the right.”
I know. Turn left.
I continued to follow his directions down a small path behind the gym that led past dumpsters and the dining hall. The path led into the woods and was not well lit. The sun wasn’t up yet and the way was difficult to see. I breathed deep and trusted, and made my way up the narrow, windy way.
Not far up the hill I heard a bubbling brook. The sound of water rushing was clear and calming. A few steps more I found a foot bridge.
This is your place. Stop here. Sit and meet the sun.
I sat on the cold wooden planks of the bridge. Sat listening to the water flow. Sat waiting for the sun to rise. Sat praying through my daily prayers.
The white bark of the aspens reflected the light as it began creeping into the wood, illuminating the scene. I looked down at the bubbling brook beneath my feet….
and was stunned to see a dry creek bed.
The bubbling brook was completely underground.
This is your heart, Cari. See, the Living Water is still there…bubbling to the surface here and there, but, mostly, buried. To expose the water, you will have to dig. I’m ready to uncover it…Are you?
I sat and wept that morning. Broken hearted that I had buried His life so far beneath mine, but relieved to know that He still dwelled within me. I asked Him to show me how to dig. He did. He is.
And God is so so good because at the same time…
He also made it rain….
As part of this series of reflections, I’ll be sharing with you some of the music from Advanced Captivating….Ransomed Heart did such an amazing job of creating rich worship experiences I want to share a little taste of that with you.