Communication plays a pivotal role in any endeavor, yet sometimes despite our best efforts, it seems impossible to get through to certain individuals. This was precisely the situation we encountered when a particular group booked our retreat. As hosts, we strive to go the extra mile for our guests, leaving no stone unturned to ensure their comfort and satisfaction.
One of our guiding principles as an organization is encapsulated in the phrase “Fresh pressed and lavender scented.” This phrase signifies the level of care and attention my wife Lindsay puts into housekeeping for our guest cottages. She takes it to heart, even pressing our pillowcases and infusing them with the soothing aroma of lavender oil. We understand the importance of creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for our guests, and Lindsay epitomizes this commitment. So, when I sensed that she was being disregarded and mistreated by the group we were hosting, it ignited a fire within me.
At that time, our property was grappling with one of the wettest springs we had ever experienced. Half of our gravel driveway and a significant portion of our parking lot were submerged. Lindsay, with genuine concern for our guests, attempted to contact them to advise them on proper footwear for the conditions. Unfortunately, her numerous emails and voicemails remained unanswered. When the first car arrived, the group leader stepped out in high heels, took one look at the conditions, and remarked, “I wish someone would have told us things were such a mess around here.” My initial reaction was shock, followed by a profound sense of anger that I feared would lead me to respond unkindly. Instead, I turned away, told Lindsay I couldn’t handle it, and retreated to seek solace in prayer.
In that moment of solitude, I decided to ask God for a different perspective. I had preconceived notions about this group of women, but I wanted to see them through His eyes. I implored, “Lord, I don’t like what I see; could you please give me your eyes for these ladies?” In an instant, God granted me a vision of a Destroyer battleship closing in on an unsuspecting enemy on the ground. His message was clear: “Be careful how you address these women; the Kingdom of Heaven knows their names.” This revelation shook me to the core with conviction, and I knew I had to apologize for my initial attitude and abrupt departure.
Upon approaching the group in our barn, I was struck by what I saw. Every wall was adorned with maps and names, displaying every school, teacher, and staff member in our state. I shared with the women my initial feelings upon their arrival and the vision that God had bestowed upon me. I assured them that, despite any doubts or discouragement, the Kingdom of Heaven recognized them, and they had a mission to fulfill. As I looked around the room, I saw tears in every eye, a clear indication that something had resonated deeply with them. I later learned that this gathering was significant, as the State Director was stepping down, and they were praying for a new leader. Many of the women had been questioning the impact of their prayers over the schools. Their tears reflected the release of doubt and discouragement, and they left the meeting with a newfound sense of purpose, complete with a new director.
My wife and I frequently reflect on this experience. Whenever we encounter a challenging guest, we remember the valuable lesson I learned that day: we don’t know everyone’s story, but God does. We lean on Colossians 3:23-24, which reminds us to serve with all our hearts, knowing that our ultimate reward comes from the Lord. When faced with difficult situations, we ask for God’s perspective on both our guests and ourselves. The occasional inconveniences are a small price to pay for the honor of partnering with Him in hosting clergy.
In closing, let us all consider who we need to see through God’s eyes today. As Galatians 5:25 suggests, let us live by the Spirit and walk in step with the Spirit, recognizing the divine perspective that can change lives and bring about transformation.