I spoke at my first All Things New retreat recently and it was a beautiful and precious event, let alone a dream come true, something I had been thinking about since last summer.
The event was held at a gorgeous venue, planned by four sweet, sweet women, and provided the backdrop for a group of separated and divorced women to come together for several hours and be poured into and reminded that life is tricky but God is sovereign and they are still worth fighting for. Seriously, a gorgeous day.
But here’s where it gets interesting. I was sick. And hormonal. And tired. And had an infection on my face. (Literally.) And was heart-conflicted over a personal thing.
I didn’t want to go. Like, if I had been an attender, I would’ve blown it off and stayed at home in my pajamas all day. But being the speaker and the person who came up with the whole idea in the first place, that wasn’t really an option.
So I asked my girls to pray. And I prayed. I told Jesus that not only did I have no overflow in which to pour out into these women, I was in a deficit. I was mad and sad and confused and wanted to stay in bed.
I told him he would need to show up. That it would need to be all him. (I’m sure he loves when we say things like this. As if it isn’t always all him anyway.)
And guess what? That is exactly what happened.
Because once I arrived, I felt peaceful. And the space felt peaceful. And the women were welcomed in. And I shared my heart and God’s word, and I had a woman come up and tell me that everything I said felt like I were saying it just to her (worth it right there) and another one wish upon me the fame of Beth Moore (ha!). And I had women come to me in tears, and sit next to me, one I even just boldly held for a few moments even though we had just met, and stroked her hair while she cried and told her I was so sorry and that it was all going to be okay. And I listened to women and prayed over a few.
And through this whole day, which included the arrival of a tummy ache and a weird ear thing mid-talk that made me feel like I were underwater (what was that?!), I was sustained. The introvert in me didn’t want to run and hide in the bathroom. I stayed put and out in the open and available all day.
And I kept pouring out. Not out of reserves. Not out of self-confidence in my abilities which I sometimes do…I’ve spoken over a hundred and seventy-five times, you can start to feel comfortable, you know? Not out of feeling cute (I was wearing a Hello Kitty band-aid on my face for goodness’ sakes…all thoughts of cuteness were out the window).
I kept pouring out because Christ is in me. Because I had no other choice but to let him do what he needed to do that day. He loved those women so much. He knew each of their deep and specific needs. And I felt him work through me.
Listen, if any of the women who attended experienced even an ounce of comfort from one word of my talks or one snippet of a prayer or my gaze holding theirs or a hug that I offered freely, I can tell you this: it was 100% Jesus. It was all Jesus.
And if only my every moment felt like that.
God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. –Colossians 1:27–
If my work has encouraged you and you’d like to partner with me as I reach out to help hurting women, click here for more information. And if you’d like more information on hosting an All Things New retreat in your area, email me at email@example.com.
I needed to hear/read this post today. I have been giving and giving and felt I had nothing left to give. I knew I needed to rest in those loving arms of Jesus and delve into the Word. I have pulled away from a lot of people and things and was getting no where. My failure has been calling out to God. Giving it all to Him and quit trying to fix things myself.
Once again, thank you for pointing it out in your own transparency.
Faith, thank you for sharing. So grateful my words could help a little bit today. -Elisabeth