When that same lump clogs your throat as it did when you tried to say goodbye to the beautiful sisters at the retreat, you bow your head in prayer. Without a doubt in my soul, I sense the urgency. The story of His power this weekend needs to be told.
What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs (Matthew 10:27).
I myself have never experienced anything like it.
From the inception of how I was invited to speak, how Karen was drawn in, to the preparation in and with Jesus, to the witness of amazing changes before our eyes.
Its hard to know where to start. Its harder yet to access the same emotion to share with you. Collective tears, laughter, sorrow, guilt, fear.
But His presence. His Spirit.
A couple days before the retreat, Karen and I prayed: spiritual protection, extra angels, an opening of souls, healing beginnings and closures. We prayed for their hearts, and our eyes to see their hurt. We prayed to be emptied and poured out.
We prayed while music played. Karen saw a vision of our prayers ascending to heaven wrapped in the protection of our worship.
Simply amazing how God let us know He was with us and for us.
Oh my, more than I could have possibly imagined, He heard and answered prayers.
I cannot thank you enough if you prayed.
He hears. He cares. He delivers on promises when we set our own glory aside.
Yes, Jesus, all glory to You.
Friday night at the retreat:
You could sense the excitement in the air. Women away for a weekend. Some on their own. Others in groups.
Karen led us in worship. She gave us a piece of heaven with her God-given voice and her masterful fingers on the keyboard. Karen was overwhelmed by the end of the set. She shared her view from the keyboard: a room full of sisters singing praise to Him above. Tears filled her eyes.
Then it was time for the story. My hands were sweating, stomach jumping.
It was the first time I would give my testimony this way. Reading the letter I wrote in therapy two summers ago, the one written from my ten year old self to my adult self. It was that summer God lifted the veil and showed me how abandoned I felt as a child by my parents and by Him.
Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away (2 Corinthians 3:16).
The theme for the weekend was Forgiveness and Grace.
Though this story was hard for me to tell, His grace held my shaking legs. His strength brought forth the message He wanted all to hear. His power in the room throughout the evening was evident.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, they did not love their lives so much to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11).
You can forgive before you are fully healed.
You can forgive people who have died or gone away (I told of forgiving my mom who died when I was 21).
You can forgive the deepest hurts.
You can forgive yourself because He died with the weight of all our wrongs.
Yes, Jesus commands we forgive others (Matthew 18:22).
Yet, He knows the amount of pain that we carry around in unforgiveness.
He never leaves or forsakes us as we delve deep into the pain.
Jesus doesn’t stop there. In fact, He never stops. Our Alpha and Omega.
He never tires of reassuring us of our worth as His sons and daughters.
How do I know this?
Because after He lifted the veil to reveal the hurt little girl inside, I came undone. I had to start over again, combatting all the old lies and leaning … no eating His truth. His bread of life.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35).
I trust Jesus ministered to women through my story, the one He’s been writing in my life since birth.
There was one woman who approached me for prayer. Our hands laid on each other, we sweetly swayed back and forth. Whatever words the Lord gave, I shared. She needed reassurance. Jesus didn’t hesitate to use me and meet her where she was to provide just that.
They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord-the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden and they will sorrow no more (Jeremiah 31:12).
Smiles, tea shawls, dresses and hats galore! I didn’t take as many pictures at all the whole weekend, but just check out the smiles and imagine joyous laughter releasing to God, an offering for His glory.
The family of God, some of whom just met that night, communed to eat and share stories. Worship continued at the tea party.
How much does God’s heart swell when He sees us loving on each other?
A quiet end to that first night. I wasn’t sure if I was empty or full. Pretty tired. I knew He would meet me the next morning to prepare me for His Saturday plans.
Thank you for your patience as I tell about each day. May this story of His power bless you.
Today a new posted at https://faithhopeandpoetry.blog called A Sleepless Spirit
If you have any comments or questions, I look forward to talking with you here in the comments.
If you have any private prayer requests, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are looking for a speaker for your next event, you may email me using the one above.
Have a blessed day in the Lord,