Wednesday, October 12, 2011

another weekend with Him

Murrieta, Hot Springs

I've been really reflecting on this past weekend and the wonderful words that each speaker had to impart to us, and all the love I felt for and from my sisters in Christ. I've never been to a women's retreat before. The church I grew up in wasn't exactly the kind of environment I felt safe in to spend a whole weekend doing the women's retreat thing. Also, I found that a lot of the women's activities were too cheesy and too cornball for me, so I just never went. The reasons I decided to go this time around is because I love my church. I love the women I have come to know in my church. And since David and I have only been going here for two years or so, I want to get to know more women.

I signed up only because I knew that one friend was going and I knew that in order for me to go I needed to know at least one person. Thankfully almost all of the ladies from Fusion ended up going and though they are not the sole reason why I had such a wonderful weekend, I am so thankful each and every one of them were there.

The speakers were incredible. Every one of them chose topics that not only correlated with one another (they must have gotten together to discuss their topics beforehand), but they were all so unique and brought something new and special to the table. It's difficult for me to choose just one message that stood out to me because they all spoke to my heart in tremendous ways and I know that I was meant to be there. All of us who went, it seemed, were meant to be there.

Each message was generously sprinkled with verses that gave me such an overwhelming sense of peace and hope for what the Lord is working so carefully and so thoroughly in my heart and in my life right now.

Regarding the thorns in our flesh, those patterns of behavior that we often think keep us from living out His word and His glory. We were so lovingly reminded that though we may plead with the Lord to remove them, He gave them to us in order to fulfill His purpose for our lives, in order for His power to be made perfect in our weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:7b-10
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Ezekiel 36:26

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

And the subject which weighs so heavily on my heart, the subject of self worth, of our role in life, of what our purpose is, of what and who we are supposed to be.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Philippians 2:13
For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

It's funny to me because that last verse, Jeremiah 29:11, was our "Senior Class Verse" in high school. Back then it meant less to me because at the time I was planning a future for myself. Now here I am, 10 years later and this verse means so much more to me. I find myself in a confusing transition. The plans I had made for myself never panned out. The older I got the less I knew exactly what I wanted and now I find myself lost, not knowing at all what I was made for, what my purpose in life is, where He wants me to go, who He wants me to be, who He created me to be.
There is a saying I've heard many times that goes something like this: "You want to make God laugh? Make plans."

The biggest lesson I learned this weekend was to wait on Him. To have patience, a virtue I was not blessed with. To be confident in knowing that He has a perfect plan for my life. He has a future lined up for me that is better than any plan I could have summoned up and it's already in the works, whether I choose to realize it or not. I may not have any clue what it is and that may drive me crazy, but I can't dwell on it. I need to let Him take me there. I need to give it to Him and wait on Him to fulfill His promise to me; to give me a future and a hope.

I also was humbled by the worship. I am weird about Christian music and modern worship songs. which I briefly talked about in this post. They tend to not speak to me, maybe because I don't let them. I generally prefer hymns, probably because they remind me of my grandparents. I may also have an issue with contemporary worship music because of the church I grew up in. I NEVER connected to it there. It didn't feel authentic or genuine to me.
So as I sat down next to one of my friends for the first message and realized that we'd be worshiping (hello, Andrea, why wouldn't we be?), I kind of grumbled to her telling her how much I feel I can't relate to it and though she agreed and though I felt less alone about my problem, God worked on my heart. By the end of the weekend the music became a necessity for me. I needed to sing those songs. One song in particular touched my heart like no other worship song has ever done for me. It could be the words, or the melody, or the combination of the two... or it could have been that God had softened my heart of stone to be able to receive it. But I couldn't hear it and not sing it.

How He Loves

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree bending beneath
The weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden 
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So Heaven meets earth
Like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently
Inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way that

He loves us

Oh how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us so
~ John Mark McMillan

Needless to say, the next time there is a women's retreat, I am signing up right away.
Post a Comment