Our women's retreat was wonderful! God did an amazing work! Women were ministered to by the speakers and by one another. It brought such thankfulness to my heart as I watched these precious women connect with one another.
Several women said to me that it was good to be reminded that we do not have to be control by our emotions or circumstances, we have a choice. We can choose to have the fullness of the Spirit's Joy!
We have several women share their journeys on Saturday in the area's of marriage, prodigals, romance, the sandwich generation, girlfriends, prayer and changes of life. I attended prayer and marriage. It was so encouraging to listen to these women share their struggles and how God grew them in the process. Today they have even more joy knowing that God walked them through it.
God also gave me definite confirmation that I am where He desires me to be. Even though I still am amazed that He wants to use me. :-)
Several of you were praying for me as I shared on Sunday. Thank you so much. I was nervous, as always, but it went well I think. I hate to try and judge myself. At least I got through it without making a total fool of myself. :-) Looking back there are a few things I wish I had said differently, and part of forgot I wish I would have remember...but I need to just trust that God spoke through me and used me.
I shared my journey over the last 7 years and while I have shared much here already I thought I'd just mention a few things.
This seven year journey begins with the rebellion of my oldest son which I have shared here also. Then I shared...
While I would never have wanted my son to rebel as I look back I see that God used that time in my life to grow me. God used that time to peel away areas that I had been in bondage to. God knew that my son would rebel. It did not surprise Him. He used it for good in my life. I know God will continue to draw my son as he walks his own journey to God. My son still isn’t walking with the Lord, but there are new seeds of hope that we see everyday. I believe he is on his journey to return to his Father.I have learned that our "older" children have their own journey to walk with the Lord. I may not understand what God is doing, but I must trust in His sovereignty.
I also shared my personal vision, which I believe God has given me.
“To encourage the women that God places in my life toward the knowledge of God’s Truth, so that they will know that they are God’s beloved daughters. With this knowledge they will learn that they can walk in true victory and freedom over their past, and have the fullness of God’s joy. For Christ came so that all could be free of sin and shame.” See Is 61:1-5Then I shared...
God has continually used this ministry to peel layer after layer of areas that need to be surrender to Him. Being in ministry of any kind is hard work. There have been times that I have felt so beaten and so discouraged that I have wanted to give up. It can be lonely, and very tiring. In the past I have even prayed that God would release me from this ministry, but He did not. So my confidence grows, not in me or my abilities but in what God is able to do.
God took a broken, abused, lost young girl at the age of 16 and set her on a journey to freedom, a journey that, like most of yours, has gone through many valleys and storms. But with each storm that passes I find the next a little less frightening. And I have learned to say along with James, “consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.”
In order to walk a journey of joy we must want it. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and it is something that can be ours, but we must choose it, we must ask God for it. It is not something we can just muster up in our own strength. We must allow God’s Spirit to work in us and through us to develop His kind of joy.Well that is the very much abbreviated version. You can read more of my journey (if you haven't already) by clicking on the right where it says My Journey to Ministry.
Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that we are to throw off all that hinders and run the race set before us. What is hindering you today in choosing joy? Is it un-confessed sin? If it is then you need to go before God confess your sin and allow him to cleanse your heart. I believe more often than not we don’t have the fullness of God’s joy because we believe the lies of our enemy. We are still tied to past painful experiences, to guilt and shame. John 8:38 says “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We can walk in freedom; we can be free of all that hinders us. It’s not always easy, when we are in bondage to the lies of Satan or our past it does take a lot of effort and hard work to become free of all that hinders. And just as a reminder it’s usually not a once and done event, it’s a process of letting go, choosing to hear truth over the lies and allowing God to expose the areas that hinder our journey of joy.