From the very beginning of Created for Care, we said we have stepped out to serve based on what we see around us (the need)--and then opened our hands to say "Thy will be done" giving the Lord complete freedom to change anything and everything whenever He pleases. SO--in September 2010 when I felt we should step out in faith and plan a retreat for 25 and 250 registered...we rolled with it.
THEN in September 2011, remembering how there was a wait list ("making a decisions based on what we see")--we decided we'd plan on stretching ourselves to serve more. Instead of 250 we'd plan for 430. Sure it'd take longer to fill up--but we were sure it would. AND it did fill up--in about 9 hours. I felt we were extended enough, but after a week and seeing 200 on a wait list, we opened our hands and said we would do anything He called us to--so the March 2012 retreat was planned...and with great purpose.
We coined the phrase "Well, the Lord just wants to do something big with those March retreaters". And He does...
A week prior to the January retreat, I received an encouraging email from the co-author of "Before You Were Mine" about the work the Lord is doing at Created for Care. We began dialoguing--and the more I heard Carissa's story--the more I felt certain she should join us at the following year's retreats in 2013. Actually...the more I heard her story--I WISHED she could be at the January and March retreats--but with the January retreat just days away...of course we knew that was impossible.
After the January retreat--we reflected and agreed to stick with our plan--REPEAT EVERYTHING TO KEEP THINGS AS SIMPLE AND SEAMLESS AS POSSIBLE. But...have you ever noticed that when you follow the Lord (especially in the adoption world) nothing ever seems to be seamless or simply...but oh my--it's beautiful.
I began to pray over the main session talks--and having someone like Carissa share her perspective pressed on my heart deeper than ever. You see, it's Carissa's story that really Created for Care is the heart behind. You see, Carissa is from Korea. She was adopted at the age of 5 months into a pastor's home in Michigan. Although she might describe herself as a "good adoptee", secretly she grieved her losses while her parents constantly celebrated her precious life. During this process of growing up as a transracial adoptee--looking different than her family and trying to understand her story--she also began to hear things that were not true...lies that many adopted children believe. Carissa wrestled with who she was--but ultimately she realized what the lies were...simply lies. And the truths--were absolutely beautiful. She WAS wanted. She WAS worth fighting for. AND ultimately her heavenly Father delights in her just the way she is.
Her story is beauty from ashes. And for those of you coming in March--this mom...now a family counselor helping others heal...is a beautiful testimony of what God can do.
I felt the urge to ask her to come in March anyway...
YES--this would mean changing all the sessions around. Yes--this would mean not repeating everything. YES--this would mean more work. BUT...obviously the trio (me, Christy and April) at Created for Care have been cook with that from the beginning as our hands remain open. So...we asked her...
And she was booked.
She would be speaking at another event on the other side of the country that weekend.
I was bummed--but I told her I was going to pray ANY WAY. And I did. I prayed for His will to be done and to make a way if it was His will for her to come. I'm not sure about much--but when the Lord presses something on my heart I'm pretty sure He wants it...so I prayed and asked Him to show me what we were supposed to do.
I shared with Carissa I felt like she was supposed to come (at the risk of sounding crazy) and I asked was there ANY way she could even come for just ONE night. She said she'd see, but really it would be very hard...but we both committed to pray together.
And just days later--Carissa contacted me to let me know that the event had all of the sudden been CANCELLED.
I'm pleased and overjoyed to share with you that Carissa will be joining us to share at the March 2012 Created for Care retreat!!! He is the God that puts things on our hearts for a purpose--He is the God that answers prayers--and by golly, He'll cancel things to make things happen if He wants to. I was't crazy for asking after all. And I'm so glad I did! She will be facilitating a panel of adult adoptees and then sharing her personal story...full of God's grace, love and glory.
How thankful I am to be on this journey...to remain with open hands in order to serve these women coming. I love how creative our God is...that He loves these women at the retreats so much--He wants to make EACH retreat unique just for them. I thought *I* was in for a repeat...but I think I need to go ahead and suck it up and realize that the Lord has just called me to a wild ride where Created for Care is involved. This is just how we roll...we can promise one thing--but our disclosure is our hands are open and we roll with whatever He brings our way! He loves each of you THAT much to make things unique and special...to be faithful to lead and guide and He desires to lead and guide you personally and carefully--as you keep your hands always open to Him.
We are excited to see many of you in March! And for you January retreaters...don't think we don't love you...we will do everything we can to record this for you all if we are able to! Because I have a feeling this is one thing you don't want to miss!
Andrea & the C4C team