“Let me take care of you.”

I had pretty much decided I wasn’t going to go to retreat at all. I had suffered through the whole week feeling light headed and nauseous; I told everyone that I needed to study but in reality I just wanted rest. I told myself I wasn’t going for the right reasons, that I was only going to have fun and see people (which was true). I don’t think I ever consciously made the decision to go because I wanted to get closer to God. [I have been distant even towards Him]

I asked Him what He wanted me to do; I didn’t wait for an answer, only argued with Him that if I went, I would get even more tired. But, when He says, “Let me take care of you,” I am reminded that I have taken my life into my own hands again instead of giving it over to Him.

In my remaining prayer time, I am eager to spill everything to Him so I can register for the retreat afterwards. I know with 100% certainty that He wants me to go; I am glad that He drew me to Him in prayer to seek His will for me.

“I will use you to increase their faith.”

It brings me much joy to know that God plans to use me. I have yet to be humbled; I know the humbling is coming for I still take too much pride in being used. How can I, a sinful and broken person, bring glory to a perfect and holy God? For God to pick me to be an instrument of His glory; that is grace.

“I will use you,” He promises and it is a reminder for me to be obedient to His will.

“You are forgiven.”

I am on my knees praying softly when the speaker comes up to me and lays a hand on my shoulder. My train of thought stops as he begins praying for me.

It was as if Jesus Himself had come to stand before me, His voice booming loudly as He spoke. “You are forgiven of your sins,” He says and there is a short delay before the depths of His words hit me. It feels like forgiveness [they told me before that they forgave me but it didn’t feel like forgiveness; it didn’t feel like freedom; I’m not sure if they ever forgave me]. But, His words makes me feel light, like a string is pulling me up from the top of my head; my back straightens ever so slightly. The waterworks come shortly after but I am too much in shock to wipe them away.

“You are forgiven,” He says and for the first time, I believe it.

Instances that constituted an orange day/made me feel orange [orange being synonymous with good; happy; loved];

Frank recognizes me and calls my name from far away in the distance and I wonder if it’s the orange scarf that tipped him off. Nevertheless, for whatever odd reason, he’s happy to see me there and it makes me wonder why.

Trudy breaks from the group and runs up the hill as soon she sees me. I barely know her but her greeting consists of an exuberant hug and a genuine “how are you??” I don’t even remember if I replied because;

Marie blasts outside shortly after and makes a beeline for me screaming, “WHY AREN’T YOU STUDYING?” She hugs me tightly and I wonder when did we ever get so close and what did I ever do to make her care for me so much.

Tiffany says my name. “Beccaaaaaawwwww. I didn’t know you were coming!”

Julian pops out of his seat and takes a couple steps towards me, sees that I see him coming, smiles and waves, then promptly goes back to sit down. We continue smiling at each other from across the room and I smile now as I remember his silent greeting. I still wonder. I wonder if he considers me a friend.

Matthew is all smiles when I pat him on the arm wishing him a happy birthday. “Dude! You’re here!” He points excitedly at me as I walk farther away from him to get food; I nod in a pacifying manner towards him. “Yeah man… [why are you so happy to see me?]” He later begs for us to stay for the remainder of his birthday; part of me wishes we did.

The girl beside me puts her arms around my shoulders; I lift my hand hesitantly up to her waist when she doesn’t let go and we hold on to each other as we worship. I don’t know her name; she doesn’t know mine. She is a beautiful soul and she is my sister in Christ and when she looked at me and smiled, I felt beautiful as well. She hugged me at the end; no words were exchanged; I wish I had asked for her name.

Taylor stays silent as I give a short spiel on Jesus and how He rescued me from the depths of my loneliness. I tell her how I am always struggling to speak to people because I fear them thinking I’m awkward and not cool. She scoffs. “You’re the coolest person, Becca.” I have to recollect my thoughts after that, her comment throws me completely off guard.

Kristin gifts me with a bowl filled with fruit and I insist on her eating it. “But, I got it for you,” she says dejectedly and I backtrack quickly and accept the fruit. I enjoy the slices of oranges the most.

Polaris shines amidst a sea of stars; I am able to pick him out with the help of Jonathan and Kristin. They wait patiently for me as I pull up my compass app just to check that it is him; for some reason, they are willing to entertain my silly fascination with the stars and the color orange.

These people care for me for some reason. They approve of me, find me entertaining, desire my company. But, none of them compare to Jesus.

His love is enough. I should not be in want of anything else.