Sunday, March 09, 2008

Retreat Recap

Well, everyone, it's Sunday night and I can't believe only a week has passed since coming home from our women's retreat. I am so grateful for anyone who prayed for us/me—especially if you prayed for me when I got so sick less than 48 hours before our retreat was going to begin. I guess that's where I'll start… Wednesday night (2/27) – I got very, very sick and spent much of the night (while my family was sleeping) ummmm… being sick. One of the first conversations I had that night with God went something like this: "So God, I'll probably be feeling well enough by Friday to still go to the retreat, but I'm not sure I'll have enough strength to stand up there and share/speak/talk by then… Does this all mean You want me to switch with Annette and do my session Saturday morning instead?" "Yes, Melissa." "And this was the only way we would get the message?????" J Thursday (2/28) – by the grace of God and love and mercy of my husband, I got to spend almost the entire day in bed recuperating from the night before. A friend of mine told me later it was illogical how non-discouraged I was that day. I think I knew God was taking care of things and that He was preventing me from obsessing about stuff that didn't matter. I was forced to rely even more fully on Him because there was really no other alternative that even remotely made sense. Friday (2/29) – I made it up to the retreat! (I'm so glad I got a ride from someone… I had no idea at that point how exhausted I was going to be Sunday and it would have been really dangerous for me to have driven home!!! But God knew that!) My dear friend Annette (our pastor's wife) shared that night about how important it is to Believe God (that was our theme) and she shared how in the day or two previous she had to completely rewrite what she was going to say. But what God gave her was definitely what was supposed to be shared that first night and I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have switched if I hadn't been sick. (But God knew that, too, so He didn't take any chances. J) Saturday (3/1) – I led worship and then shared my lesson/talk/message on Believing God loves us (not just "knowing it" but really believing and receiving it! God gave me everything I needed to be able to do it – and it was beautiful to see the women respond, telling God that they needed and wanted to know more of His love. I was so incredibly grateful for what God was doing and felt already like the retreat was just getting better and better as we got comfortable and heard from God more. That evening, another friend of mine from our church named Monica shared about Believing God's promises and again, it was so good! One of the things that BLEW ME AWAY about all three of our messages was how well they tied together. We each prepared on our own and were talking about Believing God – but in 3 very different ways – and God made so many things overlap and tie together between our talks that you could have thought we'd done this same set of sessions many times, or that we had planned it together. But we didn't! It's hard to explain, but it was amazing to me and such clear evidence of God's hand in it all – especially since our very first plan had us talking in a completely different order. Sunday (3/2) – Our last morning included sharing communion together and hearing testimonies from 2 ladies. One is a member of our church and she shared some pretty tough things about what God has saved her from. Immediately after she shared, she felt like it hadn't gone well and she was very discouraged. But at the end of the day, we had time for ladies to share what God had been speaking to them about that weekend, and it was so incredible to hear some of the ladies open up and share things they'd never told anyone in the church before – and I know that it was in a large part released because of the testimonies they had heard earlier that morning. Again, God put in place exactly the right person to share and we were all just amazed at the openness and freedom that some of the women shared with. It was the kind of thing you dream about but almost don't dare hope for. And did I mention, I had more fun leading worship there than I think I have ever had before? Again, God picked out just the right songs and it was amazing! J Looking back , I am convinced that in our weakness (not having much experience (or confidence!) planning retreats or speaking) God's power was made perfect! We trusted Him to lead us and He did so much more than we imagined He would - even though we KNEW He had big plans for us all. On a personal note, I really felt like God was confirming for me the call He has on my life to do this type of thing. And He challenged me asking if I was going to respond like Moses (Oh, no, Lord… I'm not ready yet… there are so many others!) or if I would believe Him and obey whether I understand His reasons and plans or not. Like Moses, I have a deep longing to see people – especially women – walking in freedom! So God wants me to trust Him to provide the opportunities (I have SO much more to learn!!!) and to go where He leads me because it's His choice to use each and every one of us as He chooses. Well, that was a long recap, and there are lots of other things I could tell you about, but that will have to do it for now. If any of you are interested in reading the written version of what I talked about (it's almost completely written out, though you'll miss my dramatic pauses and fist pounding (kidding! I mean hand-gesturing) when you read it) just send me an email or leave a comment and I can send it to you or maybe I will post it somehow (in parts maybe). Thank you again for praying and thank You Jesus for gracing and blessing and amazing us with Your Spirit's presence and power as You moved among us. You are beautiful and your daughters are beautiful and I thank You so much for the honor of having been able to share with them and lead them in worship. You are so good and loving to me, Lord. I love You! Love, Melissa


  1. Anonymous10:14 PM

    I told you 5 weeks ago that you would do ok, but I certainly didn't see you getting sick so God could work it all out. What a blessing to have you as a daughter who is so willing to serve God. I would indeed like to see your talk (is it in a Word doc.?), but I will miss seeing you talk with your hands. Love ya, Dad

  2. Anonymous11:42 AM

    It was an awesome weekend. It was amazing to see the work God was doing there. Looking forward to next year :-)

    Sheri T.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and heart with me.