Posted by Colleen Woods on

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

G.K. Chesterton


A feeling of surprise mingled with gratitude sweetly overwhelmed me as the words “no blockage” were declared at the close of the recent procedure I underwent to capture the images of my heart. I was still slightly under the influence of anesthesia, so there was a brief moment of wondering if I’d heard correctly. In a slightly groggy state, I asked a clarifying question, and the answer was repeated. No blockage. What a beautiful, remarkable thing!

God’s unfailing love and intervention filled me with thankfulness. Happiness flooded my soul. There were so many unexpected gifts bundled into this eight-day journey at the start of November (a journey that typically would have taken only a day or two in the past). One of the best gifts was being sequestered for the better portion of the days—alone with God in a small sleeping room I had rented.

Time alone with God always helps put things into their proper perspective. My last little getaway for just this purpose was this past June. I stole away to a charming little cabin (without even running water) in the woods of Wisconsin all by myself for four days. It was an absolutely idyllic setting. The weather was perfect. The only thing that was less than ideal was seeing warning signs posted about bears.

Thankfully, I didn’t let that keep me from going out to explore the woods and trails while I was there. It wasn’t until my departure day—in my car on the drive out of the camp—that I first laid eyes on one. I’m most grateful I didn’t see a bear on the journey into camp. I think I would have missed a lot of beautiful time spent outdoors!

Going out into the woods all alone would have been an easy thing for me to skip over the past 30 years. Getting lost in the woods was what brought on the panic attacks that I experienced all those years ago. Heading off on an adventure into the woods is an exercise for me, much like getting onboard a wild roller coaster at an amusement park. These leaps of faith remind me to bring my fears and failings to the God who loves me and is able to heal the broken places in my life … if I will surrender them.

I headed to the wilderness camp this summer with a heavy heart. Our dreams and plans for taking Ruby Buckle out into the world came to a screeching halt as churches and college campuses closed and events everywhere were being cancelled. 

Because I was the one who had invited my teammates Amy and Veronica to join me on the adventure, I felt this weight of responsibility for the holding pattern we found ourselves in.

The ink was still wet on the lease agreement we had signed for our new offices, and our stockroom was filled with new products and 20,000 Truly Loved booklets to send out into the great big world.

I’ll fast-forward through the details that led up to my confession to our team about the struggle I was having related to all of this, and instead I’ll share a paraphrase of a statement Amy made in one of our meetings:

“Colleen, if our mission succeeds, you wouldn’t take all the credit. So if it doesn’t, let the blame and the failure be shared too.”

It was a game-changer. A burden-lifter. A sweet confirmation that I have partnered with the right girls. Ones who are committed to walking it out, no matter what. As long as God enables, we’ll keep pursuing it together. I can’t help but marvel at his awesomeness in working out the details of all that concerns us. I look forward to sharing some of the great things that have happened over the past many months in next week’s post. 

Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

Exodus 15:11

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