Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I Survived the Encounter Retreat!

After a few years of flat-out refusing to go on one of my church's Women's Encounter retreats, I finally broke down and agreed to go. I must tell on myself and admit that when I first heard about the retreats, I thought that the leaders were going to ask the Holy Spirit to show them all the sin in my life and then they would call me out on it. Now I'm relieved to admit that no such thing happened to me last weekend when I went on the Encounter and now the leaders and I can laugh at my crazy idea!

In the weeks leading up to the retreat weekend, I felt a lot of anxiety, which is not at all like me. I was afraid of being vulnerable with women that I don't normally spend time with (another trait that is uncharacteristic of myself). I even fought tears several times during a casual time of fellowship with other women who had been on or were getting ready to go on a retreat just because I was so afraid of what might happen to me over that weekend. I was warned on multiple occasions that I would cry the "ugly cry" and that I should pack lots of tissues. Sounds refreshing, right??? Thankfully, as the time approached, my anxiety waned and I looked forward to fellowship with other women and some time away from my normal routine and the demands of a toddler, although I still hoped to avoid bawling my eyes out at any point during the weekend, ha ha.

I thoroughly enjoyed staying in a cabin overlooking beautiful Lake Cumberland, eating delicious "chick food" that I would never get away with fixing for Alex, and being surrounded by a wonderful group of women. We were told that the groups of women are divinely appointed to be on the retreat together and I couldn't agree more. I loved getting to connect with the three other ladies in my small group and ended up letting my guard down to tell them my struggles, even to the point of doing that "ugly cry", but only once! :)

I left feeling so encouraged and energized. I really didn't want the weekend to end. For two years, I have felt frustrated with some things involving leading worship at church. After my miscarriage in January, my frustration just vanished and I have been able to put my feelings aside, but I have still been missing some my passion for worshiping the Lord. On Sunday, when I got back from the retreat and walked into the sanctuary for worship team practice, I practically ran up to the keyboard with a huge smile on my face and an immense anticipation and expectation for God to use me to usher in His presence.

Tonight, the ladies that went on the retreat met for a post-encounter meeting and one thing we were told was that we will have to fight to keep the breakthroughs that happened on the retreat and not let Satan steal them away by telling us we were happier and life was easier when we believed his lies and were bound by his chains. The thought has crossed my mind a few times that I don't want to lose the excitement and enthusiasm that I found from working through some issues that weekend. I don't want to get caught up in the routine of life again and lose my focus. I am standing on the Word, believing for specific breakthroughs that haven't happened yet and I want to keep moving forward, closer to the Lord, closer to my victory! My family's victory! I never want to go back to the way things were before, when I did believe some of the lies of the enemy, when I was frustrated with so many areas in my life, when I lost focus. The lady leading our group tonight shared something that she had read in a devotional earlier this week and I just loved it. "When Satan (or his demons) lies to you, just laugh, because it is rude to not laugh at a joke." Satan has no power over my life or over my family. The things that bound us up in the past are broken and we're set free! My children will not struggle with the same sins that I have struggled with and their ancestors have dealt with because those chains are broken and I claim freedom in the name of Jesus! We're moving forward. The line has been drawn in the sand and there is no turning back. I'm so excited to have my passion reignited. My outlook is so much brighter. I looked at Natalie today and started speaking life over her and it felt amazing. My daughter is a child of the King. She will know that Jesus loves her and that He has amazing plans for her life and she is going to fulfill her destiny. I want to take my job as her mom more seriously and not let opportunities to speak into her life pass me by. I'm a work in progress, but praise the Lord, He won't give up on me and He is faithful to complete the work he started in me!


  1. I am so excited for next week's Refresh meeting! I enjoy them so much and feel like they help me remain accountable to what God began on my retreats. Plus--MORE CHICK FOOD!

  2. I won't be able to go because Alex's boss will be in town and has requested to go to dinner with us as a family. Enjoy some chick food and fellowship for me!

  3. It sounds like an amazing retreat, and I'm so glad you had such a great time!