She walked up the steps and into the house where dinner was simmering on the stove. Her nervousness was evident as she fumbled to bring her luggage inside. She wanted to attend this retreat for a long time, however personal circumstances had prevented it until now. We welcomed her, made our introductions, and showed her to her room. There, she would have over an hour to unpack, unwind, and settle in.
We continued welcoming each woman and showing them to their rooms. Although there was visible anxiety in many of them, those of us who would lead the retreat felt a sense of excitement and expectation. We had been praying for over a month for each lady and we felt we already knew them! At least, we knew God’s heart for them and we couldn’t wait for them to know it, too. When God shows people His heart for them, healing happens. And that is the very reason we were here!
The evening got underway with an introductory session and then dinner. A sense of friendship and support already floated through the air. After all, these women were in the same boat and it was a boat they had never been in before! It was simultaneously uncomfortable and comforting. Although there was nervousness in not knowing what the weekend held, there was also hope that perhaps something good would come from it. Just maybe there could be closure from things of the past. Before long, there was conversation and laughter accompanying the group. Those of us serving and leading the ladies knew for a fact Holy Spirit was there. He is there every time and this was no different- we could feel His sweet presence!
Each retreat is unique. God orchestrates every single detail of each retreat and He has done it so consistently that our trust in Him and His Divine plan for retreats has grown exponentially! We can completely rely on Him- even if the plan doesn’t look like our plan. We can trust Him even if our retreat agenda gets altered. We can trust Him in every single detail! Praise God, retreat success IS NOT our responsibility! Our responsibility is to come with a willing heart to hear from the Lord, and it is HIS responsibility to do the work and bring about healing in each woman. How freeing!
God spoke! All weekend long, He wooed. He spoke loudly, yet gently- and so very clearly. He was patient with His daughters. He revealed Himself- His character, His Heart, and His Love for each woman.
The woman first mentioned “knew” God. She went to church. She had devotional books- she did all of the “right” things. Yet, her relationship with God still felt stale. It seemed to her there was something missing. “How do I know if He is speaking?” she asked. It was (is) a question we are often asked. She felt frustrated by her relationship with God and was tired of doing the same things without much effect. She was treading water but felt like she was drowning in this whole Christianity thing. She wanted to thrive, to know His Voice, to heal from certain things of the past, and to enjoy her relationship with God- but she just didn’t know how.
As the weekend unfolded, God spoke repeatedly to this woman. She, however, was unsure. She didn’t trust what she was hearing. She struggled. But God, in His incredible kindness, kept wooing her. He never stopped speaking- even using our worship leader to write a song specifically for her! How deeply God must love her! God not only spoke in these powerful ways, but He also helped her to deal with some deep hurts she didn’t even realize she was holding onto. It was a profound weekend in her life. One that changed the whole trajectory of how she would move forward with her Savior.
Take this woman’s story and multiply it by 12! Every single woman left that retreat differently than the way they came. Because Holy Spirit is THAT GOOD! There is power in the Voice of God! There is transformation that happens when we begin to know and listen to His Voice.
It is not enough to “do all the right things.” As women of God, we must KNOW His Voice and we must LISTEN to it. Yet, how can we if we’ve never been taught what that looks like? How can we expect to heal from past hurts if we don’t even know how to hear His Healing Voice?
Do you know His Voice? Have you experienced His Healing in your spirit? I want to encourage you to come away with the Father and learn what it means to heal from your past by Hearing God’s Voice amidst the pain. Every woman needs a retreat!
Read what happens next in this precious woman’s journey HERE.
You can learn more about a Beauty For Ashes Retreat HERE.