As I previously told you, this past weekend I was given the supreme honor of teaching a retreat for the girls at Grace Church Northwest Arkansas. The flight out was pretty uneventful which is precisely how I like them.

When I arrived at XNA in Arkansas, I immediately recognized my ride when I saw a car full of adorable girls pulling up to the curb. Seriously. Could anything be more fun than being picked up by a vehicle full of smiling, waving, happy-to-see you people with great hair? I jumped in with no hesitation whatsoever. My introvert of a hubby thinks I am totally insane to enjoy such a thing so much. I truly look at a group of women I’ve never met as fresh meat who’ve not yet had the opportunity to grow sick of my talking, talking, talking. It doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit if you agree that I am best served up in small doses. I promise you I get on my own nerves way more than I could ever get on yours.

And at this point, you are probably thinking that’s debatable.

Okay, so let’s get to the point. We traveled to The New Life Ranch which is located in Colcord, Oklahoma. The Center was beautifully situated on a lake or river or something. I just know it was water and it was pretty. There was another women’s group there who were easy to spot since they were wearing princess crowns. They looked like they were having a ball. There was also a mother/daughter retreat taking place and can I just say those moms have lots more faith in their girls than I do mine? At one point they played a game of some sort where the moms wore blindfolds and the girls led them around. My Girl would have promptly pushed me in that pretty river/lake/creek. I know this because she has been well trained by the boy people in her life. Let’s just say I was completely happy to be a part of the non-crown-blindfold-wearing crowd.

This is where I get to brag on the entirety of the Grace Girl group. Y’all, I didn’t know a single one of these women going in except for Teresa from The Grace Incubator. (And even she was an Imaginary Friend I’d never met in real life.) Oh my goodness, these girls absolutely embraced me and treated me like a princess – crown or not. No wonder this is such an exciting time in the life of their church. If you girls love your newcomers like you loved this one, you’ll be packing out that new, big building in no time flat. And to all the Elder Wives, it was a delight to spend time with you and see the love you have for your people. I soaked in every second of it!

We had our first worship/teaching session Friday night and afterward were told that we could go on a hayride in a modified school bus. By modified, I mean that the cab of the bus was intact but the top had been cut away from the back, seats removed, and filled with hay. It was pretty chilly but I’m not a girl who likes to miss the fun, so I jumped in.

Let’s just say this wasn’t your typical meandering hayride.

Ours was more in the vein of this Nightmare on Elm Street bus scene from about minute 2:50 to 3:50. (There’s no cussin‘ or killin‘ in this clip, I promise.) I don’t even remember our “tour guide’s” name, but he’ll always be Freddy to me because, y’all, he never went below 35 miles an hour on a rutted, wooded road that was clearly not intended for such travel. I handled the speed thing pretty well. It was the 45 degree tilt that got me a little terrified. {I should clarify here. It was fun in a riding-a-rollercoaster-that-horrifies-you kind of way. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. Laughing = Fun.}

Just as we were back to our cabins, just when I was prepared to jump out and kiss the sweet pavement beneath my feet, Freddy sped up and we went for round two – I believe at the suggestion of those crazy girls who are made of stronger stuff than I.

Round One was just a warm up.

We bounced and tilted and whirled and I begged Jesus, begged Him, to understand that it was not I who had tempted Him. That it was not I who had asked to try His ministering angels. I pleaded that for the sake of the husband and children, could he please, please, save them from having to declare on my headstone that I’d been killed in a chopped-off school bus on a backroad in Oklahoma. It’s just not the legacy I’d intended.

Here lies Lisa,
She loved Jesus,
but the school bus flipped,
and she rests in pieces.

Thankfully, that was not my fate and I’m now safely home. I’m not going to say that I would do the hayride from Hades again anytime soon any more than my chicken self is looking forward to riding the Superman at Six Flags, but it was definitely a memory-maker as was the rest of my time with Grace Church.

Girls, THANK YOU. What a gift to experience pure, authentic worship with you (You rocked, Jordan!). What a privilege to almost die with you? But most of all, I am grateful to now call you real life, real LIVE, friends. :)

With Much Love!

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