I didn’t want to go. And when I don’t really want to do something I can always count on my partner in crime to back me up. As I expected, we were a unified front, if we can get out of it we will….
You see, the women of our church were planning a retreat. And knowing these women God would actually show up, because when they have a party He wants to be there. And I wanted to hang out with God. But I’ve been sort of pampering my bruised ego and trying to grow up and all that stuff. And I really didn’t want to do that with a bunch of amazing women who have all their crap together. Because, you know, I’m the only one who is a mess.
So we show up to church one Sunday. The announcement was made and my cohort leans over and says, “So, are we going?” Now her sister (who was leading it and is a huge mentor of mine) had asked, pathetically, if we would PLEASE come and I really have a hard time saying no to her, but I was resolute. I was only going if God made it really clear I had to go. Which is what I told my dear ally, who concurred that in fact that was her plan. We were both praying that God would tell us we had to go, or that (preferably) He’d stay silent and we’d skip.
So about 30 seconds after this conversation takes place, a dear friend of ours sits next to my cohort (she never sits by us at church, we are troublemakers – really, you should not sit by us…) and leans over and says “You two are supposed to go to the retreat.”
What do you do with that?! (We did verify that she had that on Higher Authority)
These prayer warriors, these women of God who you have to trust, praying you into things you don’t want to do…
I’m so stubborn. I knew I was supposed to go. For at least 6 years, maybe more, the signature line on my email has been “Psalms 46:10”
Be Still and Know that I AM God.
When the retreat was titled “Be Still”, I sort of knew… But I was grouchy. You ever get grouchy with God? No? Yeah… Me neither…
I had prayed that God would make it abundantly clear I had to go (I had 3 good excuses to skip). And when I saw two different friends on Facebook post two different memes with that verse, neither of whom were organizing the retreat nor knew each other, I knew that I was supposed to go.
I knew when my dear friend and mentor pleaded with us to go, that I was supposed to go.
I didn’t want to go.
I went. I went almost cheerfully. I went mostly expectantly. I took a step. A hard step. And God did his thing. As He always does.
I want to share with you what I really got from this weekend. It had nothing to do with the programming. The ladies did a remarkable job. Our worship team was astounding. The teaching was top notch.
But God is so personal. He’s so amazingly personal.
That Sunday when God told us to go, I had been praying some very personal, very specific prayers. You see, I feel lost. Hidden. Missing. Invisible. Forgotten. And that Sunday he used a few women to begin answering that prayer.
But God… He’s not content there. He then used some other women at the retreat to work on the same things. You can’t imagine. Random women, some I know well, some I barely know but all women who I admire and respect, began speaking life into me. Just little things. Comments. Words. Encouragement. In deeply needed areas of my life.
I can’t say I’ve settled all my anxiety. I can’t say I won’t struggle further. I already have. But how encouraging to know that God cares that much. I mean the retreat was great. I certainly got good stuff out of it. But our powerful, loving, amazing God dragged me out of my comfort zone, pouting and all, and brought me to a place where He could tell me what I needed to hear. And He used women I respect so deeply to do it. If I had stayed mired in my unwillingness to go, I would have missed the blessing of the women He used in my heart that weekend. He just wanted my step forward, and He pummeled me with His goodness.
Friends, when you feel the need to say a kind word, an encouraging word, even if you feel silly, even if you think they know, please, please do. So many times I’ve found my best comfort and solace, not to mention encouragement, in a few words spoken and likely long forgotten by the speaker, but deeply imprinted on my heart.
God loves you so desperately my friend. And when you know He loves you, but you aren’t sure about the world, when you know He has good plans but aren’t sure they are for you, when you never doubt Him but you doubt yourself:
Be Still – Stop Striving – Release and Let Go.