My first solitude retreat to Tahoe was almost by accident, really.
It was summer of 2014 and I had planned a road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway to see my brother who had just recently moved to the Northern California coast, and then on to visit my parents in Oregon. On a whim, I tacked on a few days in Tahoe to break up the long drive back to Orange County.
I bought my first paddleboard while I was in Oregon, strapped the 11 foot bohemoth to the top of my tiny little Corolla, and set my GPS for DL Bliss State Park at Lake Tahoe.
I fairly collapsed into Tahoe that first year.
I was burnt out, exhausted from ministry, and ready to throw in the towel. I told God I would give him these next three days to work a miracle or I was out. And then I waited. And God worked. And God spoke. And God breathed life back into my soul. And God took my hardened heart and broke it in all the right ways to put it back together better than before. God gave me a miracle that first year at Tahoe. There are still moments from that trip that I look back on as moments when God was closer than I had ever experienced before.
That's when I decided Tahoe needed to be an annual trip for me. Each year has been different, but significant in its own way. There's something incredibly sweet about the memories I'm creating with Jesus in this place. When I hike past certain places, or take my paddleboard out to watch the sunset on the lake, it's an invitation to remember just how good God was to show up here before. It's like when you get together with an old friend and reminisce about the good old days and tell stories until your sides ache from laughing. It's like that, only I'm recalling stories about how God showed up met me in life-changing ways, and I get to remember his faithfulness, even as I ask him to do it again.
This year was no different. I wish I knew how to bottle the magic of Tahoe and take it back to my everyday life, and also so that I could share it with you. I'm learning how to change my daily rhythms to bring some of Tahoe and the closeness I find with Jesus back into my everyday hectic life.
But I'm also convinced Jesus lives here at Tahoe, or he at least has a vacation home, and I'm kinda ok if there's a special magic about Tahoe that can't be found anywhere else.
Have you found a place like Tahoe? Would love to hear from you in the comments! Where is the place you feel closest to God?