We met in a small room with walls-papered-gold rooms...a hotel with venice rustic paintings, fountains, and fireplace settings made to look like we had just walked into a European hotel suite. We were in Costa Mesa close to the ocean with about 40 women who were used to living in a desert. It was hillarious how green the lettuce looked to them! :) (The little things we neglect to notice!)
Friday night - I thought that since they were arriving from their 3 hr. drive at around 9:00pm, they would probably not be thrilled to see "Session" written on their schedule for the night. But, then again, I would be having many suprises throughout the weekend. Bibles and notebooks in hand, these women (many of whom had given up one of the husbands few free weekends at home - not in the field - to come on the retreat) had been praying for God to move long before they arrived...it was obvious through the excitement and expectation I could read through their eyes. God laid on my heart to just scrap the bulk of my notes and challenge them...then to have them each pray and ask God for something - personally and for this retreat. I had given verses to many and as the first one began to read aloud she began to cry...I had somehow given the next woman the same verse. I, realizing that God was doing something, I had her read it again...then God had me have them sit down. Women cried while they prayed that evening.
SAT. Morning - I was thrilled about the session and I left, again having watched God direct me to scrap most of my notes, wondering what exactly I had said. What did I remember? Women hungry, crying, and excited for more. Then I sent them out to read one of three "random" passages I had felt led to offer them as they embarked on a "date with God". It was like a feeding frenzy everyone scurrying to be alone - Some of them had never thought of having that kind of one on one time with Him. I gave them three things to do/answer while they read. From that point on it was like anyone I was around couldn't wait to tell me what God had taught them! One woman had been led to memorize the whole chapter and did! She quoted it to me on the bus to Doheny Beach while reliving everything that God had shown her as she said it! Shocking!
SAT. Evening....We had all arrived at the beach and although it was cold we gathered in a sort of woman-pod overlooking the rolling waves and masses of birds in the distance and began talking. I began to pry as to what God was teaching them...as if someone had just given someone an outlet to share what was about to explode within them, one woman shared that after years of guilt she had been freed to accept God's forgiveness! The rest of the retreat I don't think I saw her with a dry eye or smile. She got it! Then there was another that spoke up telling her story...the same conclusion. The rest in the circle told of their breakthrough as well. I noticed that the once outgoing friend next to me had quickly become silent. After hesitantly sharing, she finally concluded, with deep "searching" within, that she was ready to forgive and I watched her allow God to break down that wall! She was different from that time on.
It was cold, and I was concerned about the women not wanting to listen around the campfire. I went to the side of the bus and prayed and prepared...He led me to speak on "We all have a choice and we must choose!" I applied this to the Christian's life especially - what are you unable to move through/past? But, again God floored me! After I finished speaking (by the way, God laid on my heart to also add the story of Paul speaking to the Aeropagus on Mars Hill about their "Unknown God" that Paul wanted to reveal to them - I would later learn that someone had begun to talk to the one unbeliever and mention Paul,etc.)
There are so many other details....But I'm falling asleep. It's hard to be detailed on blog...I want so badly to tell you this in person! :) More tomorrow.