This past weekend, my sister and I had the privilege to be with a wonderful group of women, some who we already considered friends and some who are now new friends. This lovely weekend was spent at the NC Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell which is right across the bridge from Oak Island, NC. Neither of us had ever been to this retreat center. What a magnificent place for a time to laugh, sing, worship, and hear God’s Word proclaimed.
On Friday night, after a delicious meal, we were awed by the testimony of one of the retreat attendees. It was a testimony to the healing power and greatness of our Father God. Because of God’s amazing grace, this woman was able to get up from a hospital bed and continue to live her life, although the doctors had already given up on her.
A second testimony was given on Saturday evening. It was a testament to God’s grace when we mess up. I am afraid most people don’t even begin to realize just how much God loves us. So many have God pictured as someone waiting for us to fail so He can bop us on the head. That is so not God!!! He would rather we walk in complete obedience, but He understands we are weak flesh. So when we do mess up and confess it to Him, He smiles at us and loves up on us as if none of it had ever happened. Isn’t that just absolutely amazing?!?!?!
Saturday, our guest speaker, Dawn, (that’s her in the pic on the right) spoke to us about waiting on God for His directions and then obediently walking out those directions. We had some time in small groups to discuss the impact of what we learned. Waiting is hard for us, isn’t it? I know I get ahead of God so many times and because of that, I believe we miss out on blessings. His way is always better!!! If I could just get that in my pea-brain and let Him direct every area of my life.
A highlight of the weekend for me was the prayer cards we filled out and put in a hat to be chosen by someone. What a joy when I unfolded the card I chose and found it to be from a young woman I had met for the first time on Friday night. I was struck by the fact that her prayer request had to do with living her life fully for God in her season of singleness, because that is where I find myself now; single. Although we are over 30 years apart in age,she has already become important to me. On Sunday, before we left, I told her that I had chosen her prayer card and asked her about us “doing” single together. We exchanged phone numbers and have already spent some time talking on the phone and making plans for next week. God truly does work in mysterious ways!
Sunday morning, we had church. Now I mean WE HAD CHURCH! Joan shared from Psalm 34 and spoke about the goodness of God. What does it mean that God is good? God is the definition of good. He is The Good. Anything “really” good is from Him. He cannot be less good or more good than He is. His actions are good. His plan is good. His purpose is good. And His redemption is good. Verses 1 and 2 tell us to bless the Lord at all times and that His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Did you know that praise and obedience “put a smile on God’s face?” We magnify the Lord by walking in obedience because He is good.
We closed our time together by partaking of communion. It was so moving. The first person was served communion and that person served the next woman. One-by-one we went up and received and gave the sacraments. We truly were standing on holy ground.
These past months I have found my time with the Lord coming up short; my fault to be sure. During Les’ sickness, I spent much time with God asking for wisdom, healing and peace. His wisdom was always available as needed. Les received complete and eternal healing. And peace has filled my heart to overflowing. But it has been hard to focus. This has affected my quiet time with God as well as most everything else in my life. This past weekend was a balm for my dry soul. I had felt the Lord nudge me to attend this retreat. I am so very glad I listened to His direction. It was just what I needed!!!
Lots of love, Sharon
GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD,
FOR HE IS GOOD;
HIS LOVINGKINDNESS IS EVERLASTING.