Take A Gulp… Then Step Forward

A few years back, I spoke at a women’s retreat and just found my talk and thought it might be of enouragement to some.  Sometimes the Lord leads us in ‘weird’ directions.  It makes us feel uncomfortable, like we don’t fit.  God will use those who are humble and don’t feel like they have it all together to do something that could only take the Lord’s strength.  Now, He gets the glory…

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Women’s Retreat 2010 – Amery Wisconsin:

I was invited to my first ever women’s retreat in the spring of 2001 after just barely completing Alpha and barely opening my Bible and still feeling like I really didn’t know who God was.  A girlfriend of mine encouraged me to come with her, so I thought it would be a fun time hanging out with her, eating some good food, and maybe listening to some encouraging talks.

Well, we ended up driving separately for some reason, and when I finally arrived I felt completely uncomfortable.  Where was my friend?  What was I doing here?  Who are all these women?  I’m so not like them.  I’ll never fit in.  Everyone knows everyone else and I don’t know one person except for my friend who obviously isn’t here yet.  So, needless to say, I was not wanting to be there at all.   I was feeling overwhelmed, uncomfortable, and completely inadequate.  What was I doing here?  I pretty much pouted for that night and into the next morning just waiting for Sunday to roll around the corner.  Could I really leave early?  What would be my excuse?

On Saturday, I chose my breakout – Worship dance.  Weird.  My attention was being drawn to a ‘sissy.’  I made fun of dancers in school.  They were so totally not cool.  And now, I’m going to go to this breakout.  What was my problem?   The Lord was my problem.  He was moving my heart and steering me into a new direction, one that I had never experienced and would not have experienced ever without Him.  I tucked myself into the back of the room and watched and listened and found myself stepping out to participate.  Wow!  Who was I to try this?  I had no coordination, no gracefulness, no timing, no training, no knowledge of dance what so ever.  But, the Lord touched my heart during this session.  He brought me to tears and I experienced His love for me.  For the first time, I had a desire to worship Him and worship Him with my whole self.  God removed my barriers and freed my body up to move and dance for Him.

One year later, God placed me in charge of the dance ministry at Hosanna!.  I cannot even explain to you how it happened, it was just did by His hand.  He rapidly grew the ministry from 3 to over 80 people in a few short years.  There are now 3 classes each week, and He’s consistently filled my head with visions of choreography & color and put me in front of the classes to teach worship to all ages.  I still have absolutely no training for this ministry and yet God supplies everything He needs to me in order to do His job.

I tell you that as I stand here today, I am an unworthy person in need of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and without Him, I wouldn’t be here today.  But with Him, I can do everything because He strengthens me, He builds me, and He loves me – just like He does for you.

You are at this retreat for a reason and you may not even know why.  9 years ago I would have had no idea that attending one breakout session at a retreat would have such an impact on my life.   You may have been brought here against your will maybe you feel like you don’t even belong here, like I did.  You may not even believe anything that is being said here this entire weekend.  But, God hand-picked you to attend this retreat and He has plans for you.  He may have brought you here to heal from a hurt, to repair a relationship, to show you something about Himself that you may not have known, or to show you how you will be working for Him in the future.  Whatever it is, it is specifically customized to you.

Psalm 139  17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!, How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

If you went to the largest sand beach in all the world and tried to count the grains of sand on that beach, God’s thoughts about you are more numerous than that.  That’s how much God loves you and has in store for you.

Be encouraged.  Open your eyes and pay attention.  God has something for you this weekend, all you have to do is listen to His voice.  And when He calls you, look out!

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