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The Church Ladies

My mantra going into any retreat experience is simple: get the heck out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do the heavy lifting. I am a slow learner in this department, but Spirit tends to be pretty reliable when I remember that I am actually not in charge :)

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to have been asked to lead a retreat for the women of Stone Church in San Jose.

For the first time in 4 years, women gathered, ranging in age from mid 20’s to mid 80's! I literally witnessed a 60 year bandwidth of wisdom, faith, and caring in real live action. I recommend this to every single human.

During the break on Saturday, some participated in Qi Gong under an old oak tree, while others were knitting or crocheting. Others congregated around a 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle and had it completed by Sunday. We laughed, prayed, and sang together.

As I sat in the chapel before dinner on Saturday, I could hear their hum from the next room, and it enveloped me like a prayer.

At the conclusion of worship on Sunday, women who sought healing stepped into a circle, while a larger circle of women stood behind, gently laying hands. Did I mention a woman pastor was presiding? You better believe I stepped into that inner circle.

And that’s when it happened: I came undone, as the tears and snot flowed freely, and the women on either side of me held me a little tighter. One wise woman offered me a clean cloth tissue from her very own pocket, instructing me, “Just go ahead and really blow.” Following her sage advice, I sounded my trumpet, and it was over as soon as it had started.

Turns out being held by something way bigger than all of us is a gateway drug for belonging.

* Also I think I may have found my new church

If you are a seeker, I see you. Love, Michelle

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