I last visited Mackinac Island on a cold and mostly cloudy weekend in October 2014.
If you know anything about the island, you know that cars are not permitted there. It’s all walking, bicycles and horse-drawn taxis.
The island bustles with tourists and clip-clopping horses all summer long. But by late October it is a quiet retreat. A beautiful, quiet retreat. This view from my balcony, with the lone worker heading to his early-morning post, captures the autumn serenity.
The nights in October are serene, too.
Gone are the late-night bar hoppers, catching the last ferry back to the mainland. Nothing left but the peaceful glow of quiet streets.
Excitement was high on that last trip as my daughter, two of her friends and I boarded the ferry to the island.
Excitement was high as we checked into the Grand Hotel.
And excitement was high when we returned, as we contemplated all that God had done.
Back then I shared a little something my daughter wrote in the afterglow.
I’m sharing it again:
Shelby and Lesley and I weren’t the only ones on the island this past weekend. We brought women with us. Women who deserved to be blessed. Women who needed to know how God felt about them and who He created them to be. Women who had stories to tell, stories that would allow us to learn from each other.
We brought former prostitutes and addicts. We brought women who used to work the streets, and women who currently go out and minister to those who still do.
Really, my mom brought them. She planned the whole retreat and listened when God told her who to invite. Perhaps I don’t know all the factors that were taken into consideration when she chose the hotel on the island as our location, but I don’t think any of us thought about the significance of crossing over water to get to an island until Brenda did.
Brenda was one of the women who came with us. When she shared her story last night, we found out she had been gang-raped at the age of fourteen, an incident that propelled her into prostitution, promiscuity, and drug use until she eventually surrendered her life to Jesus.
During introductions on the first morning Brenda said “I know that God brought us across the water to cleanse us from everything that happened over there. When we go back, it’s going to be over.”
I got chills. And I am just so thankful for everything that this weekend was, and a God who brings His children across the water.
I revisited the island this morning for two reasons:
1. WordPress prompted me to do so.
2. I am planning to return with another group of women. Hopefully in sunny, semi-serene September.