Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Retreat

My name is Marci.
I am an addict.

I've been scrapbooking for ten years.  It started when my oldest son was just six months old.  I went to a scrapbook party, and made my first page.

This was my very first scrapbook page ever!

I was immediately hooked, and I have never looked back...

Fast forward.  Ten years later.  I have a room fully devoted to my love for scrapbooking.  I'm so spoiled.  Thank you Keith!  I even became a Stampin' Up! demonstrator hoping to earn enough  money to support my habit.  Visit my website.

One of my favorite aspects of this hobby is the scrapbook retreat - a three to four day getaway with fellow addicts gathered together for the sole purpose of cutting and pasting.  We also eat and drink.  We listen to music.  We stay up til all hours of the night, and into early  morning.  Doesn't it sound wonderful?!

It's in those late hours, while designing layouts for our cherished photos, our chatter usually turns serious.  I don't know if we're so delirious from lack of sleep, or if we're overly emotional from looking at pictures of the people we love most.  We end up talking about life, love, marriage, pregnancy, hair, clothes, holidays, our spouses (Only good things, of course!), our children, our neighbors, and even our enemies.

Sometimes we cry.  But mostly we laugh.  It's a truly bonding experience.

I highly recommend it.  :)


The last retreat I went on was in February of this year, in Virginia Beach, with the women in my Sassy Scrappers Stampin' Up! club and some of their friends.  At 12:30 a.m., we found ourselves discussing God, faith, Jesus, and religion..

I don't remember exactly how the conversation got started.  But one of the women openly admitted that she does not believe in God.  Two other women admitted to having a lot of questions about Jesus and Christianity.  And so they talked.

They talked about how certain aspects of salvation do not make sense.   About how Christianity seems unfair.  About how believing in God seems illogical.

It was an eye-opening, faith-shaking, life-changing conversation for me.  Mostly because I didn't say a word.

I sat at my table with my head down, my heart pounding, and my mouth shut.

I was completely unprepared for this discussion.  My daddy always told me to never discuss religion and politics with friends.

The women looked to me for input.




I had nothing to say.




God is so intricately woven into the fibers of my life.  Every aspect of who I am stems from who He is and what He has done for me.  He is the focal point of my marriage, of my parenting, of my homeschooling, of most everything I do.




But I had nothing to say.




Finally one woman asked me, "Are you a Christian?"  I nodded.

She then asked, "So how can you believe?"

The only words I found the courage to say were these...

"How can you NOT believe?"

That's all I said.  How can you NOT believe?

Another woman asked me if I had been raised to believe in God.  Again, I nodded.  She looked at the other woman, and they exchanged that-explains-it looks.  As if to say, "That's why she believes.  Because her parents taught her to believe."

My first thought was, "That's not why I believe."  I mean, I guess that is the reason I believed when I was little, but that's not why I believe now?

It was at that moment, for the first time in my life, I realized that I don't know how to explain why I believe.

All I can say is I look at this world, at my children, at the cycle of life, at everything.  And I just do.  I believe.

I believe the Bible is true.  I believe God created the world.  I believe Jesus is God's Son.  I believe He died for me.  I believe He rose again.  I believe God loves me.  I believe I will live with Him in Heaven some sweet day.

I believe it.  I believe it.  I believe.


Last month, a friend of mine who was also at this retreat, and part of this conversation, confronted me about my lack of participation in the whole discussion.  She reluctantly admitted that she was disappointed, as she has always viewed me as one of her most devout Christian friends.

She had every right to question my motives for not answering.  As a Christian, is it not my obligation to jump at any opportunity to tell someone who doesn't believe in God, why they should believe in God?

That was when I finally said out loud all the thoughts that had been haunting me the last four months.

I didn't know what to say.

I don't know why I believe.  I just do.  And now I realize, that's not good enough.

I know God is real.  I have never doubted that.  I still don't.  I just don't know how to explain why I know He is real.

You could not be more disappointed in me, than I am in myself.


I don't know who was more surprised at my confession, my friend or me.

I cried all the way home.


Seeds of Faith - inspired by Elisha Skeen

It's important to me that you know my belief in God has not faltered.  I still know God is real.  I have never doubted that.

I'm telling all you this because I want you to know why I am all of a sudden looking into who my God is.  I want to be able to explain why I believe.  For those of you who are Christians, you probably understand why I believe, even without me having to explain it.  But how do I explain it to a non-believer?

I've just recently come to the realization that I don't know God as well as I thought I did.  I don't know Him well enough to know how to tell others about Him, or in a way that would make them want to know more.

The Bible says in John 1:1 ~
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

It all started with The Word.  THE WordGod's Word.

If I want to know God better, it seems logical to me that I should spend more time in His Word, seeking His divine answers to all my epiphanic questions.

I just want to know more.

I hope you do too.

I'll keep you updated.  :)


By the way, if you happen to be a scrapbook addict like me, I'd be happy to introduce you to my support group.  :)

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