So Adirondack Bible Chapel had a women’s retreat this past Friday-Saturday in Lake Placid, NY. Which, by the way, is GORGEOUS. The view from the hotel was worth the trip alone. The theme of the retreat was, “The battle is the Lord’s.” When I normally think of that theme, I think of cheese, but the women who put the retreat together did a really great job. And, I got to design the flyer. I gave it a 1940’s war poster feel with a bit of a feminine side. I love it.
So we had three sessions with our speaker (more on her later). The titles of the sessions were: Attitude in the Battle, Wounded in the Battle, and The Commander of the Battle. All three of them were great, my time spent with the older women of the church was great, the food was great. It was such a blessing of a weekend. The following is what I wrote in my journal early Saturday morning:
Why did the Lord decide to bless me so? How is it that I, a really messed-up sinner have found favor in His eyes? Christ! If I walk away from this amazing weekend of re-focusing with nothing else, Christ has to be it.
I do desire to walk by His Spirit according to His Word each day, but I often find myself praying for exactly that and then forgetting it five minutes later. I cannot leave that prayer at home sitting on my dining room table. I must take it with me, tie it around my finger and remind myself of it constantly. I the awesome thing is that the Holy Spirit desires to and delights in helping me do so.
Carla (our speaker) mentioned in her first talk last night that apart from God’s grace, we would carry out every sin that comes to our minds; which includes but is definitely not limited to: deception, stealing, adultery and murder. Every sin that comes to mind. Every one. After letting this truth sink in, I realized that this is true even for the unbelieving heart. The “good” people who do not believe in Christ can and do say no to sin. No one on this earth can say that they’ve never experienced God’s grace in some form or fashion. The fact that he would bless us with views like these is good enough for me.
So why does the Lord choose to bless me? I don’t know. What I know is this: We are to believe Christ with His Word (John 4:21). One reason we can trust Him is because He has never forsaken those who seek Him (Psalm 9:10). When we do trust Him, His steadfast love surrounds us (Psalm 32:10). As we trust Him, He will act (Psalm 37:5) and we can trust Him to act because He is our Help and our Shield (Psalm 115:9-11).
One thing that was a real encouragement to me this past weekend was seeing our speaker, Carla, live her life before us. She’s the assistant dean of women at the Word of Life Bible Institute here in Upstate NY and she also happens to be the best friend of one of the women in our church. It was really neat to see these two older women together. Not only did they look and act similar, but they shared a common bond through Christ. You could tell in the way that they interacted with each other that their friendship ran very deep and it was all about the Lord. I hope that one day my best friend and I will encourage younger women in the same way I was encouraged through them.
Also, Carla’s main job is discipling young women. I’m sure she’s spoken at conferences before, but she’s not a speaker by trade. Working were I work, I have the privilege of hearing some amazing speakers, and sitting under some amazing teaching. Hearing so many speakers who all have the same verbiage and teaching styles can sometimes make life a little stale. Not only did Carla not use Christianese-phrases that you would typically hear from a retreat speaker, but you could tell that her language was true to her knowledge and personality. She spoke from the knowledge that the Holy Spirit has given her and not from what she heard Billy Graham say 10 years ago. Her teaching style was dripping with the sweat of realism. She was real in front of us and I appreciated and was encouraged by that.