Most often, I have found, that anything that is of great importance faces spiritual warfare and waiting!
This is a reflection of our preparation for the RESTORE retreat as well as the retreat itself. It began with a desire and many requests to "Do It Again!" Our first RESTORE retreat was in May of 2012. We believed that God was calling us to "do it again" the following spring and fall, 2013. After looking through the calendar, we chose a date and I contacted the retreat center to get it on the books early. Spring is a popular time for retreats and if it isn't booked early, you don't get it! We moved forward with the plan - then...spiritual warfare kicked in!
I got the call from Kathy about Ken's illness. A million thoughts raced through my mind. Life was about to look different for them and then days later, it hit me! The RESTORE retreat?! Many questions began to plague my mind and right now (and rightly so) Ken's health was first priority on Kathy's mind! Should I cancel? Should I proceed? Can I do this alone? SHOULD I even try, it's a partnership!?! Wait? Get another speaker? What should I do Lord?!? Should I even bother to remind Kathy about the plan right now? She doesn't need extra weight to burden her down!
Time passed....Ken is okay....I waited.....We proceeded with plans for the retreat.
I made a phone call just to double check with the retreat center because I didn't want any last minute surprises...after all, I was the one responsible for setting it up and I didn't want to goof it up! Well....surprise! We were not on the books and every weekend is now taken! Was this more warfare or God closing the door? I'm a little confused but feel God's prompting to Press On! I make a ton of phone calls and spend hours online to finally find another place with the perfect weekend available. Thanks God! Now we need to advertise and have people sign up. More waiting begins and time is drawing closer...over 400 brochures are distributed and we finally got one response! What?! More questions arise...Did I miss something, God? I thought you said to Press On. Then the most unusual thing began to happen...ladies began to sign up....then...drop out! As we watch the enrollment numbers bounce up and down, we wondered what God was doing. Even the day before the retreat, 2 more had to cancel. This left us with a total number of 12.
Of course, with my crazy brain, I'm very intrigued with this number as it shows up numerous times in the Scriptures! There are 12 disciples, 12 minor prophets, 12 foundations of the New Jerusalem, 12 gates of Pearl, 12 sons of Jacob, 12 tribes of Israel,12 loaves of shewbread, 12 fruits on the tree of Life, Jesus was 12 years old in the temple....12 shows up everywhere!
(Many scholars of Biblical Numerology believe that the number 12 signifies faith, new beginnings, and governmental perfection [i.e. 12 months in a year] I don't consider myself superstitious (and was curious about the number 12) but knew that God chose only 12 for this particular weekend.
He showed His faithfulness to overcome in the midst of much warfare and we 'pressed on!'
I had a nail in my tire the day before we were to leave and didn't really have extra time to sit at the automotive center! There seemed to be many last minute details. We were faced with driving in the night with thunderstorms and the next morning, keyboard issues. Then, Kathy gets the call about her mother! Really God?!?! Am I missing something? Now what do I do? Do I encourage her to go home and do this retreat alone? Do I call eveyone and cancel? Is this really your plan? Then I feel it in my spirit...peace...and the answer...Press On! This is simply spiritual warfare. I have something planned for you 12!
Perhaps you are facing questions and warfare. Let this song encourage you...by the way, it happens to be track #12 on my CD! Isn't that amazing!
God met with us that weekend! In Jesus' name, we pressed on - overcame spiritual warfare...and souls were refreshed, refocused, and renewed.
RESTORATION...is needed after something has been battered, beaten, broken or bruised. I'm glad we pressed on!
All the waiting was over and the women we had been praying for began to arrive. Most came a little early - excited, expectant and full of hope for a wonderful weekend.
(Click play for background music as you continue to scroll through the pictures and captions.)
Everyone was excited as they chose a beautiful handmade journal and gift bag filled with "goodies" to make them feel special and lavished with love! It was fun to watch the women choose the journals and bags that appealed to their unique personalities. Each journal contained teaching lessons, quotes and Scriptures for refection and a prayer journey for time alone with the Lord around the lake.
It was such a wonderful time for
mother and daughter Jackie and
Jessica to share together.
We were blessed with a beautiful room overlooking the lake for our meeting space and worship. We created vignettes on the tables. Each one had spiritual significance that tied in with our lessons. They were filled with "masterpieces" of art to help us focus on the Masterpiece the Father has created in our own lives. Throughout the displays were many quotes and Scriptures for reflection.
The first teaching Kathy used a fun visual display as we looked at what it means to be restored into the Masterpiece God had in mind when He created us. We have to look into the mirror of God's Word to see the true reflection of who we are.
Sherry taught us about hands and feet for His service - in bare feet of course!!
Saturday evening we had a "Concert of Praise". The Lord blessed us in worship with His light and presence. The evening was filled with original songs composed by Sherry and Kathy, readings of "My Beloved" letters in Scripture, prayer and songs of worship as we came before the Lord and offered Him our all.
The Lord met us in many beautiful ways as we sought His face in the Word, worship, prayer and friendship throughout the weekend.
He taught us rich lessons about restoration, transformation and surrender.
We were blessed beyond measure to have the privilege of journeying with these amazing women. We are so grateful that by His grace we were able to "press on " in the Name of our Savior Jesus. We closed in communion, blessed by the sacrifice of His love for us on the cross.
Here is just of sampling of some testimonies from the women who went:
"I cannot thank you enough for the chance this past weekend to sit and soak in His creation - day and night. The times of teaching what God has revealed to you and the worship music, tea party and creative activities were perfectly timed amid the vast amount of time given for one-on-one time with the Lord, however we chose to spend it. From an extra nap for the worn and frazzled mother of small children to leisurely walks around the lake for those who wanted to observe nature's beauty in Spring. It is amazing how we can hear the voice of our Savoir so clearly when we have no responsibilities and the opportunity to slow down from the hectic pace of life. " ~ S. Audiffred
" It was a true restoration for me! And, I loved reconnecting with my friends, and making new ones!
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