Spiritual truth is learned through the atmosphere that surrounds us, not through intellectual reasoning. It is God’s Spirit that changes the atmosphere of our way of looking at things, and then things begin to look possible which before were impossible (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest).
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When Holy Spirit awakens the women He hand-picked, you simply inhale His holy breath. When you exhale, you know something is different about you and those around you.
A woman approached Karen and me after the Saturday morning session. Holy Spirit cleared the room of any lingerers. It was just the three of us raised into a heavenly realm where evil collides with peace.
Karen, facing me, with the woman in her arms, motioned for me to bring a chair. The woman’s back rose and fell with each heave.
We gently lowered her to the chair.
Her sobs lessened to streams of tears.
Karen and I laid hands on her, stayed as physically close to her heart as we could.
The woman’s head tossed backward. Eyes closed. Saliva filled her mouth as the unintelligible words prayed to Jesus.
Thank you, Jesus.
Concern furrowed her brow, eyes still closed. She spoke in a panic of being out of time.
Karen banished the spirit stealing peace in the name of Jesus.
I can’t tell you how long we were there or how many angels carried us to and from earth. What I can tell you is there are many enemies unseen, but Jesus reigns over all. From that point forward, this woman walked in a strength infinitely more mighty than her own.
During afternoon worship as I was praising my Jesus, I felt a hand lay on my shoulder. I almost didn’t turn around because my heart assumed I received reassurance from Him. At the end of worship, I would speak again.
Lo and behold, it was Stacey letting me know she and Annette needed to see me. A prayer matter had come to their attention. A young child with a harsh diagnosis. Could we gather to pray for this child?
Thank you Jesus that You hear us, that you connect our hearts to lift others up to You.
At the end of the talk, I called everyone forward to hold hands and pray. The sanctuary held seating for maybe 100 max. Its aisle narrow, but I felt strongly we could do this.
Sure enough, all women present stood and found a place next to another. By the time we were done locking hands, the shape of our gathering was of His cross with both sides of the aisle connected with those of us who wrapped around the front.
The praying began, the laying down. Burdens unloaded. We raised up the child. We invited all who had a prayer need …
As different women spoke, I prayed silently for those who couldn’t.
What does God do when His people unite in His spirit and love?
He receives all the glory. He moves, He surrounds, He protects, He heals.
As His body, we held each other figuratively and literally. Hearts opened. Though I do not know for certain, my sense was Holy Spirit stirred searching, aching souls.
After a night’s rest, we gathered for our final session. Annette and Stacey began with their wrap -up, a gracious invitation for new ideas for next year, and their bountiful thank you’s. I felt a twinge as they spoke. Not a nudge from the Spirit, more like a page from an old book, the one about good-byes, the one my heart had never been rightfully prepared for, the old Julie lost so much. The old Julie never received this much in this way.
As the music carried my soul above the dip, I lifted my eyes high. I trusted He would give me words to express my gratitude and awe.
Before Karen and I said goodbye, we gave the morning session. I wrote a story about Mary Magdelene, Biblical fiction. I acted out Mary’s part. I am no professional actress, but I have an inkling of how emotionally taxing it can be to assume a character’s life as your own.
How incredible that God nudged me to write this story on the day He knew I would sincerely try to express my thanks for all.
Karen said good-bye first. She eloquently shared how much the women meant to her and that she would see them again, whether on this earth or in Heaven.
My sweaty hands received the microphone.
I began speaking about the fullness. I thanked the women for witnessing my story Friday night, a difficult one to tell.
My thoughts had a direction, sort of.
A lump clogged the coming group of words.
I bowed my head. I figured I just needed a moment with Jesus to un-clog.
Holy Spirit’s power overwhelmed me. Tears became the words of gratitude, worship and praise. Has God ever surprised you? I mean have you ever communed with women, felt so united and blessed, and amazed at How He works?
Someone said, “let’s gather around.”
There we were again, interlocked souls for Jesus, hands laid, tissues passed.
Women began to pray. Jesus filled a new jar with more tears.
Thanking God for this moment, His power, shall we remember this as we go home.
As eyes cleared, Annette’s daughter said, “Yesterday we made the shape of a cross. Today we look like a heart.”
I never did say good-bye.
Words are not the only way we testify to His power.
One woman said, “I never cry, but I did today.” Another, “Oh His presence, we all felt it.”
May we all surrender to receive the transforming, healing power of Jesus that surpasses our understanding and our sometimes vain need to speak.
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is the same mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at the right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way (Ephesians 1:18-23).
Thank you to all who have followed this retreat journey. Did God reveal anything to you as you read? If you are willing to share, I am here to read. His power is too life-changing NOT to share.
If you are interested in talking with me about speaking, please let me know at email@example.com. I still have a few weekends this December available and am actively booking for 2019.
If you are led to pray for those affected by Storm Michael, I have been praying Psalm 107:28-32.
Have a beauty-full Fall Friday.