Jesus in a treehouse?
I just spent the weekend hanging out with Jesus in a treehouse. It was AMAZING! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
For weeks, or maybe more like months, it’s like I’ve been wandering around in a dark, dense forest with no sense of direction. I could hear a voice telling me which way to go, but I guess I was kinda like the Israelites wandering around in the wilderness looking for the Promised Land. You know, stiffed necked. Going my own way. Or worse yet, just flopping down on the ground with my picnic basket full of my own desires and ignoring the voice altogether.
Last week, I had finally had enough. Exhausted from all the aimless wandering, bored with roaming around in circles yet getting nowhere, and dissatisfied with the “goodies” in my picnic basket. I became very uncomfortable where I was and knew it was time to stop.
That faint voice that had been trying to get my attention became more audible. “Be still.” It became clear to me what was expected of me, and I was ready. I was exhausted.
A Plan Develops
I’m kind of a planner. I use that term loosely because I believe I always need a detailed plan, but then I usually prefer to fly by the seat of my pants. I’m all about plan B (and sometimes C, D, and even Z). Anyhoo, I started planning.
Take Friday off from work. My day on Friday was pretty clear, so this wasn’t too difficult. I was, however, a bit apprehensive about taking a day of PTO because I’m saving as much as I can for when the grandbaby arrives. I finally took a leap of faith, knowing God would bless me if I would just be obedient. So, I did it!
Day off: CHECK!
Find a secluded place to meet. Now, originally, I had just thought I’d hang out at home. You know, have coffee on the porch, love on my dogs, etc. I knew in my heart of hearts, though, that before the day was done, I would have my entire house cleaned from top to bottom, Halloween decorations out, laundry done, chicken coop cleaned, okra picked and pickled, etc. I’d squeeze a little Jesus time in there somewhere, but I knew that was much less than my heart needed. So, I got on the google machine and started looking for secluded places to stay.
I found lots of neat places, mostly B&Bs, but most were booked, too expensive, too far away, or too isolated for a woman alone. I kept coming across a place that I’d been told about a couple of years ago by my cousin Garry. A lovely old late 19th century home on Sayles Blvd in Abilene, TX. I’d seen photos of it in magazines, perused the site on the internet many times, and rubbernecked to the point of danger every time I drove down the street. As I looked on the site, a room called “The Treehouse Room” kept inviting me.
I asked the Lord over and over to show me where to go, and I just felt like I was being drawn to that place. That very room. My only hesitation was that Sayles is a busy street – not really the “secluded” place I felt like I wanted to go. Everything else about the place felt right, though, so I booked the room. One night in the Treehouse Room.
Reserve a room: CHECK!
After the reservation was made, I began planning what to take, what to wear. Did He want me to fast? Should I take one of my spiritual help books? What about worship music? I became a little anxious about what to expect. I’ve always desired to have a personal retreat like that, but never took the plunge.
I started imagining what the time would be like. Would God speak to me? Would I be able to hear Him clearly or would I get in the way? What if this was all my own doing, and God didn’t even show up? The best way I can describe my emotions is that I felt as if I were preparing to meet an old friend with whom I hadn’t spoken in ages. (Which was, sadly enough, not too far from the truth.) I was nervous, excited, and even giddy as I waited on Friday to arrive.
I awoke on Friday morning, ready for whatever the Lord had in store for me! After Emily and I enjoyed our coffee on the patio, I began packing my meager belongings. I only took one change of comfy clothes, one of Todd’s t-shirts to sleep in, and basic necessities. No makeup. No blow dryer or flatiron. Just deodorant, toothbrush and paste, hairbrush, etc. In another bag, I packed my Bible, a journal, my rainbow of gel pens and highlighters, and a few books about prayer that I felt led to take. That was it! A canvas shopping bag and a small hot pink tote.
I arrived at the Sayles Landmark (click here to visit their site) at 3:00 sharp, the earliest I could check in. I was thrilled to be greeted at the driveway by a man who introduced himself as Terry Browden, the owner. Now that was what I called service! We both laughed later when he realized that he had been on the lookout for another guest in a red SUV who had lost her way, but intercepted me instead.
As Terry opened the door for me and the other guest, he said, “Welcome to 1889.” I was breathless!
After a personal tour through the beautiful house (which I’ll write more about in another post), Terry helped me with my bags to my quaint, cozy, and lovely room, the Treehouse Room. It’s called that because the view from the windows looks out into the canopy of the trees, just like you’re in a treehouse! I knew, the moment I walked in the door, that this was exactly where Jesus wanted me to be! I could scarcely contain my joy! (I forgot to take photos before I moved in, but you can see it on the website.)
After I got settled in my room (which basically consisted of unpacking my Bible, journal, and a book called Fervent by Priscilla Shirer), I awkwardly sat on the bed and looked around, waiting on something to happen. I prayed, inviting Holy Spirit into the room and asking Him to guide me and move me out of the way.
Now, I’m just gonna be real honest here and tell you what I actually expected to happen. I fully anticipated that Jesus would show up. I even bought a giant economy box of Kleenex for the occasion because I just knew He was gonna work my spirit over and there would be some ugly cries – lots of them! You know what I’m talking about! The kind of cry where your eyes and lips swell up like you ate a bunch of shrimp but you’re allergic to shellfish. Where you’re blubbering and not making a bit of sense to anyone but yourself? Those deep, soul-wrenching cries that make you ache all over.
I waited for it. Even desired it. It didn’t happen though.
What did happen is that my Savior met me there in the quiet of that sweet little room – He gently led me into a quiet time with Him and reminded me of His unfailing love for me. He invited me to reconnect with Him in a much deeper way than I ever have and prepared me for battle against the enemy who hated me being there.
I felt led to read Fervent and work through the exercises the author recommended, praying for every aspect of my life. Through my obedience in this, hidden things were brought into light and were promptly dealt with. He blessed me with a glorious nap and later a peaceful night’s sleep, and then we resumed our time on Saturday. It was perfect!
On Saturday morning, I awoke unusually early for a weekend. I lay in bed for a bit, but decided to make the most of the time and headed downstairs for coffee and the sunrise.
Shortly after 8 a.m., I returned inside where I was served the most delicious and lovely spinach and bacon omelet!
The conversation was great, and I feel I gained a new friend!
After breakfast, I retreated to the courtyard with my Bible, journal, Fervent, and another cup of coffee. The time was amazing! I didn’t want it to end! And it didn’t have to because I had the opportunity to stay another night, so I did! Todd joined me later in the day, giving us a chance to reconnect as a couple as well!
I am reminded that a wee little man named Zacchaeus once climbed into a tree to see Jesus (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus told that little guy to come down out of that tree so He could stay at Zacchaeus’s house, which really set the people to gossiping because “Jesus is staying with that sinner!”
I’m a sinner just like ol’ Zacchaeus. And I kinda climbed a tree (albeit a very luxurious upstairs room amidst the trees) to see Jesus. I surrendered myself to Jesus, much like that wee man, and was beautifully reminded by Him that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (v. 10)
I gave my heart to Jesus when I was 13 years old, while lying in a sleeping bag in my aunt and uncle’s living room floor in New Deal, TX. I’m not lost, but I am a sheep who had wandered for a bit from the Shepherd. He sought me, and I’m safe in His arms again.