Two weeks ago from Tuesday, my sister and I drove up to Ridgecrest for the SAMS retreat before New Wineskins.  It was special to have her with me, for her to meet everyone, and to participate in the retreat herself.  The theme was lamenting.  If you’re thinking that sounds like a downer, I confess that was my first thought as well.  I’m so very thankful for this topic which is the first ever for me as a retreat (or any Christian function’s) topic.  
The last night of the retreat, I shared how I wasn’t particularly excited about the topic when they announced it, but how thankful I was and how I left thinking very differently about lament than I had before.  Honestly acknowledging pain and bringing it to the Lord isn’t new’ but the process of lament was.  Verbalizing and expressing not just the pain, but the questions that come along with it, especially “How long, O Lord?” Is a starting point.  My favorite part, though, is resolution which helps us move forward. 🙂
Besides the talks and small group time about lament, I loved being with SAMS’ staff who I rarely get to see, but email or call often.  I got to meet some of the trustees I hadn’t met before and spend some time with cherished supporters/friends.  

I love my life, but I admit that I don’t fit the norm in many or most ways.  At the retreat, though, for these few days, I was in the company of many who have very different location or roles, but very similar lives, having left homeland, families, and friends for foreign lands with foreign customs and languages.  For a few days, I got to be normal. 🙂