My small non-profit was given a large grant. Everyone says it is a blessing, and it is, but it is also a burden. A heavy burden. It is a huge responsibility to spend it wisely and well. That is why so much disappointment oozed into yesterday’s post.
I was disappointed because we did not capture the stories of the women we invited with cinematic greatness. Stories that could have reached beyond the confines of time and space to bless and warn and heal others.
But the mission was not just about the stories, it was also about blessing the storytellers. In planning the retreat I had given equal weight to blessing the women with a special weekend and to capturing their stories. But God weighted it differently. His mission was much more about blessing the women, and even the videographer, with a memorable experience. To Him it was all about blessing the now.
Maybe it’s because I have been sick and achy and weak since I’ve been home, maybe it’s because my expectations are always high, but I was looking at the trip as a 50% failure.
But today my daughter reminded me why we decided to hold the retreat: On that day she said “No one else is doing this. No one is blessing these women in this way. I think we should do it.” So we did. Today she said, “How many people have the means to bless these women the way we did?” When I look at it that way, the mission was a 100% success.
We set out to bless them and they were blessed. We wanted them to come and enjoy and they did! They enjoyed themselves and the island and the fabulous hotel and the food 100%. There was not a single complaint about the damp, chilly weather. Just joy.
We wanted them to be open to learning, and they were. They were very willing to learn and to share. They shared stories that I never would have guessed would come from their strong, joyful mouths.
Our guests did not let me down at all.
My disappointed perspective had me feeling I had wasted the ministry’s money by inviting “helpers” who did not seem to add anything of value, who seemed to just be along for the luxurious ride. But I am going to let go of that and trust that God did things in those people that I know nothing about. Too much prayer went into the planning to believe otherwise.
I was thinking I had to leverage the event to reach many in order to justify using the grant money. But God will leverage it in ways I cannot even image. Monday morning I ran into June. Bright, beautiful, joyful, sunny June. She was leaving the dining room as I was going in. She gave me a big, warm, generous good-bye hug and said, “I am going home to retrain my daughters. I taught them wrong and now I am going to teach them right.” Seeds were planted and they will grow. Look what Jesus did with His twelve.
I made some rookie mistakes in the execution of our first annual retreat, but I’ve made note of them. Next year will be better.
In the meantime, videos or not, I’ve got stories of redemption to tell.