Sunday, April 27, 2008

When God Shows Up

In a word: Wow.

I'm so glad God is omnipresent, because I would hate to have to apologize to all of you for His absence with you this weekend, because HE WAS AT OUR RETREAT.

To begin with, I have never been part of a retreat that has been bathed in prayer like this one was. How many times do we pray "Lord, bless our plans and our retreat?" The 3 ladies who co-chaired this retreat were burdened at the beginning that this be HIS retreat. In fact, the Children's Minister, who also oversees the Ladies Ministry, confessed to the church this morning that she was beginning to be a little worried as she went to the meetings for the 10 weeks prior to the retreat: "They spent hours praying, and I began to think they needed to quit praying and start planning! I learned that I need to spend less time planning and more time praying. "

Obviously, many plans were indeed made. But that was done by each of us in our own areas of responsibility, and when we came together it was for prayer, with just a bit of logistical discussion after we prayed.

I remember one particularly sweet meeting about 3 weeks ago. We had the list of all who were registered, and we went down the list name by name and prayed for each lady individually and specifically. I will admit when they said we were going to do this, I somewhat panicked because there were 60 names on the list. And it did take us a while. But what a precious time it was. And I know it did not return void. For at least two people, you'll see evidence just a moment.

We were relatively primitive this weekend. Scheduling logistics resulted in our staying in a bunkhouse instead of in cabins. We were 70 women in 3 connected rooms with 2 bathrooms! But when you are stripped down to the basics without the fluff, you realize what truly matters. Someone commented that they would sleep on a dirt floor to have the encounter with God this weekend produced.

I just have to share one goosebumps moment. At the end of the Saturday morning session, we had what was called a Divine Connection. One of the organizers stood at the front of the group with a basket containing everyone's name on slips of paper. She was going to pull them out in pairs, and those two individuals were to go for a walk or find a quiet place to visit and share. This had been much prayed over like everything else, that God would orchestrate exactly the pairs that needed to be matched up. I don't even know all of the stories of the conversations that folks had. Mine was definitely a sweet blessing and divine appointment.

But here's what our amazing God did: well into the process of "randomly" pairing up these 70 names, 2 names were matched up: the name of a wonderful lady in our church who is a licensed marriage counselor, and the name of a precious young mother who is experiencing tremendous marriage pain. Tell me how that could happen if not for God! I almost fell out of my chair. Just a few of us even knew about the situation. What a mighty God we serve!

That reminded me that God loves us so much that He ministers to each of us at our point of need, and it brought to mind this song that I love. I know it's not Saturday, but it's a great encouragement to begin the week!




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15 comments:

Kelli said...

I am praising God with you, sister! I just love to hear stories of how He is working in the lives of women. This God never ceases to amaze me!

Kelli

Lisa writes... said...

Praising God with you! Our God is indeed faithful!

Natalie said...

I'm sure you were hardpressed to find words that expressed the power you felt at the retreat. When God is at work, it is overwhelming! Bless You!

Carole said...

Most of the time we do the planning, then ask God to bless our plans. It's so refreshing to see how God works when we get it right by turning everything over to Him in prayer! And then we're amazed at what He does.

Xandra said...

What a mighty God we serve, amen? I'm so pleased that you had a wonderful weekend, and that lives were clearly reached for Christ.

When you described praying for the individual women who were going to attend, it brought to mind my brother's church. The elders meet once a month to pray over the congregation.....by name. They take out the church directory, and specifically pray for each person. It takes hours, but what a blessing!

Thanks for sharing and reminding us that God works in wonderful and mysterious ways!

Xandra

Cheryl said...

PRAISE GOD!!!
I can just feel the excitement through your post!

My cup runneth over... said...

Wow! Rejoicing with you about this awesome weekend with the Lord! Thank you for sharing this!

Blessings,
Tracy

Becoming Me said...

But here's what our amazing God did: well into the process of "randomly" pairing up these 70 names, 2 names were matched up: the name of a wonderful lady in our church who is a licensed marriage counselor, and the name of a precious young mother whose husband is in the process of abandoning their marriage. Tell me how that could happen if not for God! I almost fell out of my chair. Just a few of us on staff and Pastoral Care even knew about the situation. What a mighty God we serve!

WOW- Praise God. That just is more proof that He cares so deeply for all of us and is never absent...not from one moment of our lives. Thank you for sharing.

The Preacher's Wife said...

I am SO glad God used this weekend to minister to all of you in such a powerful way!!

Now, breathe...:)

Lisa

Julie Stiles Mills said...

THANK YOU. really. Thank You.

KJ said...

This is so true, Linda. God is always reducing us to Him, that's for sure. When we get on the same page, we're always so amazed at what gets done. And yet, it was His plan all along.

Thanks for sharing about this fabulous retreat! I am the Women's Leader at my church and we had a terrific retreat in January... We got out of the way and God moved...

Best Blessings, KJ

DidiLyn said...

Reading this post was a blessing to me. I loved your first sentence of apology, too. LOL! Very funny. You had dibbs on God this weekend.
We do serve a faithful and loving God. What a joyful thing that is.
Thanks for sharing.
Diane

Kelly said...

Our God is amazing! It is so fun to hear stories of His power at work--thanks for sharing:)

A Stone Gatherer said...

God knows exactly what we need! Why do I doubt?!!! Thanks for sharing your weekend! God be praised! Also having Sandi Patti sing that songs is awesome! She is one of my favorite singers, and I was even told this past Christmas that I looked like her! I just wish I could sing like her!!!

Linda said...

God is good. Glad it all went well.