Friday, April 21, 2006

Just when I thought it was safe to go back to knitting...

Those of you who've been visiting for a while know that God asked me to do something that required a tremendous amount of faith and strength. (See blog entries on Radical Obedience). I'm not done yet, but I've started the lap quilt and will be finished by next week.

I thought that was my test, but in reality, it was just a quiz because just when I thought I'd reached the boundaries of my ability to be radically obedient, God has laid an even bigger task on my heart... to build and operate a retreat (a sanctuary of sorts) that would provide temporary shelter for women who have been sexually or otherwise abused. It's not exactly a shelter for abused women, but rather a place where they can go to heal, rest, pray, find comfort, commune with God and with nature, and begin the process of knitting their lives back together again.

Now I can imagine how Noah must have felt when God told him to build the ark. It's incredibly exciting but it's scary too. My old nature is to start asking a million questions like "How on earth am I going to pay for this?" "Where will the women come from?", and perhaps most earnestly "Why me, Lord?". But my new nature in Christ reminds me that this is exactly where faith comes in. I believe that a lot of times, God has to ask 500 people to do something before 1 will actually do it. I don't know God has picked me, but I'm willing to say "Yes" and believe with all my heart that He will make a way out of no way.

God has already started placing people and situations in my path that confirm that He is sovereign in this. He directed Ann (my best friend and co-founder of SKM) to a general area in Southern VA. He led us to a wonderful and knowledgeable female Christian realtor. He led us to a model home which very closely resembles what we believe God's vision for the retreat to be. And, he led us to a fantastic Christian builder. When I met with him yesterday, he started talking about God and Heaven and he started crying! After I finished explaining what we wanted to build, we were both practically in tears. It was awesome!

There is so much to be done, but in God's time and in His way, things will come together. I am so excited to witness how this miracle is going to unfold... to continue to meet the people that God is sending to help make this a reality. This is so much bigger than anything I could manage on my own, so the mere existence of this facility will be a living testimony to God's awesome power. When I think of the day God welcomes the first hurting women through the doors of the retreat, it brings tears to my eyes.

Here's a picture of the great room in the model home. Imagine women sitting in front of a stone fireplace like that curled up in comfy chairs, knitting and talking.

Here's a picture of the outside of the model. It may not look exactly like this one, but this is the general idea. It's supposed to look like a nature retreat, not a big house. There needs to be lots of light and vaulted ceilings, like a sanctuary. We're even planning a small prayer room where women can go to pray privately. I can see a piece of stained glass art of some sort with a cross in the center on the window in the prayer room. We also want to have an outdoor prayer area as well. There's something about praying outdoors under God's magnificant skies that makes Him feel so much closer.

Here's another picture of the model at night. I just love the way it lights up the night. It reminds me of the way God's light shines through the darkness of this world.

There's so much to do that I hardly know where to begin. So I'll begin where I know I should, in constant prayer. I am open to any comments, suggestions and anything else. One thing I know I need help with early on is creating a 501(c)3) non-profit entity. If anyone knows of someone who's done this and would be willing to help, please share this post with them and have them get in touch with me.

Much more to come!


Mary said...

What a lovely idea, Syd -- and what a lovely model home you selected! I have some friends (married couple) who own an accounting & financial planning firm in downtown Richmond who might be able to help you with the non-profit paperwork stuff. They're wonderful Christians and I'd trust them implicitly with anything involving money and finances. Email me if you're interested and I'll give you their contact information.

Shelley said...

Wow! What a gorgeous looking place! How exciting that God has placed this task in your path. I can imagine it is scary too though.

As I was reading all of this, the thought came to mind that it would be great if you could get donations from other of prayer shawls to give to each woman guest to keep. And, if the guest can knit or crochet, maybe she could make one to leave for the next guest that occupies her room...something like that. Anyway, it was just a thought I had as I was reading.

Syd said...


What a wonderful idea to have others knit prayer shawls for future guests and then to have each woman knit one to leave behind for the next woman. That's exactly the kind of reciprocal healing that this ministry is supposed to be about! Keep those wonderful ideas coming. :)

Jan said...

That is just beautiful. I will be praying for your new ministry, and I hope to be able to donate shawls to your ministry in the future.

Shayne said...

How awesome is this??? I have only been blogging for a short time and I felt led to begin a website that is a forum for women who have been sexually abused and/or abused in any way. Just a place for them to anonymously speak out their feelings and fears and request prayer. And then, tonight, i came across your blog. Wow! I think God wants His daughters healed. How bout you???