Brad and I have agreed that this was not only one of the best new year’s ever, but that is was also one of the best times we have ever had period.We got to go to the amazing Chalupsky Retreat and bask in the presence of long-time friends (being Jessa, Aren, Silas and baby, Michele, Phil and Lucy, Chet, Luke, Nicole, Jude and Max, Brian and Amy, Joe and Gen) , our kids, Patty and Stu, and their ever welcoming hospitality. I hardly want to write about it so as to classify it into words and in that way limit my feelings to what I can express though man-made terms. But for your sake, and mine I will:
The Chalupsky’s is a home that feels like a safe fort, clubhouse, tree house and at the same time a place you can continually add in more and more and more people to join in on the fun. It is somewhat magical and seems to always hit you exactly where you need it the most. This is largely due to the fort leaders: Patty and Stu Chalupsky, they are incredible and allow God to work through them and welcome in person after person just to see what God has planned. They sit back and watch as God’s maps unravel before their eyes, and then they follow His lead. I am not saying they are perfect, they are people and we are all flawed, but they choose to live with passion in the moment and bless so many others by doing so.
It started out slow, jackson and oliver crying at bedtime, other little babies waking and all things Jesus being unheard of in conversations, except the all-trendy discussions of hymns vs. modern worship songs and women pastors being okay or not okay. God chose to meet us though, when we hadn’t asked, in a way that we did not expect. He took our hearts and challenged and healed and poured into them. ahhhhhh! That feeling is just incredible. Gifts were drawn out and Jesus did what He wanted, and that was not necessarily what we wanted, but we knew it was safe to follow. He took us to a place where we weren’t concerned with what we disagreed about, and right there we were surrounded by a sense of unity, a bonding and a strength. Some cried, some smiled, some prophesied, some prayed, some sang songs, other tongues were spoken and God’s words came forth. He chose to use the broken and struggling to impact us all, and pulled words from the mouths of lips closed for too long. He puckered His lips and blew dust off our beautiful gifts that were used and then forgotten like day-old Christmas toys. He did it, we watched it happen. I felt a sigh, a sense of relief, a burden lifted…He had been trying to do this for a long time, but this New Years was when He chose to do it.