No, today is not my birthday. It’s my rebirthday! On this day nine years ago I had what many who know my story call a “Paul on the road to Damascus” experience. I had been a staunch atheist my whole life. I had gotten into a party lifestyle. I was not seeking and had never sought God or anything spiritual. But, long story short, God in one encounter…saved me. I went from atheist to Jesus freak instantaneously. Abandoned all the worldly, sinful things I was doing because I had no taste/desire for them anymore. And all I wanted was Jesus Christ; I joyfully sold everything for the kingdom of God. I often reflect on my conversion story, but especially in the weeks and days leading up to my rebirthday. I like to commemorate it in my heart every year. And nine years later, I am still in awe of how the Lord sovereignly, graciously, amazingly saved this wretched chief among sinners.
Usually this day is externally like any other; but this year, my rebirthday fell on the weekend of the LION Players annual retreat. It was very special to be able to share the occasion with this community of believers that means so much to me and that has known me for about half the duration of my Christian journey. And especially since we had already been together seeking God and enjoying each other’s company on retreat for the weekend, it was even more special.
Prior to leaving for the retreat I semi-jokingly tweeted a prayer request for the fact that I wouldn’t be able to read for an entire weekend. I was honestly nervous that I would be distracted the whole weekend by the books I wanted to read, so I prayed a lot for the Lord to help me engage and be fully present at the retreat. Coupled with the fact that I’m an introvert and have a difficult time spending days on end with a lot of people and no alone time, events like this tend to be difficult for me.
Well, despite my reservations, this weekend was amazing. It truly is nice to get away from the normal routines of life once in a while, and to experience extended times of musical worship, prayer, and hearing from God’s Word. God really spoke in a profound way and encountered many of the LION Players in special ways. Fellowship was really good, too. It snowed all day Saturday (!!), so instead of everyone splitting up into various outdoor activities during free time as would typically happen, we were all crammed into our cabin. This ended up being a huge blessing, because we had the chance to really bond and get to know each other. We rarely hang out together outside of rehearsals and performances.
One thing that always strikes me about LION Player retreats is that I always leave more hungry for God, and with a greater desire to pursue Him more wholeheartedly. That’s all for my scattered thoughts…after a few days away, there’s nothing better than sleeping in your own bed!