Friday, March 23, 2018

Heart Transforming...that's what God's doing.




Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
Luke 14:14-16

I remember when God first asked me to accept an invite to my first retreat with MYRRH Ministries back in 2013. I answered without hesitation, "YES." I shared exactly what God taught me at that retreat in about 8 blog posts, you can go back and read them if you haven't had the chance. Since that first year I have been to every retreat they've held. In fact this years retreat was # 5  for me. God has provided the finances and way there for every single year. This year was no different. Not only does He provide for me to go, He reaches out to specific areas of me. Areas that He's already working with me before the retreat. 

I haven't been faithful to share each retreats transforming moments for the last several years. Not that I haven't been transformed in some way, every retreat God has shown up and spoken through sisters who really don't know me that well, if at all. He always has something good for me. From the first one when He taught me that living for Him completely is what He asks for, every area. Even when "christians" try to put God in a box, He's asking me to live out loud and boldly for Him. The next one He gave me freedom from the guilt and heartache of losing my only sister to suicide. As her big sister I struggled with not being there for her when she took her life, but God, He is freedom.  I can finally breathe in deep now when I think about my Sissy. At the third one He taught me about overcoming...it doesn't always look the way that this world portrays it. In fact it looks different for each of us, and that's ok. The last one was probably the most difficult...for all of us, but mostly for the sweet sister that started these retreats many years before God invited me to my first one. 

Her plans were set and she was ready for ALL He had for her and us...even when His plans were completely out of her control. He knew that the name of the retreat would have a much deeper meaning than any one could ever imagine, in fact it was named way before. "Joy comes in the mourning" took on new meaning to my sweet sister that exact weekend, when God called her sweet daughter Home to Heaven the first day of the retreat. When many of us moms of adult daughters were sharing our stories about our daughters walking out or our daughters making bad choices...she was mourning not having a chance to hug her girl again this side of Heaven.

So in all the years that God has been taking me to MYRRH Ministries Retreats, He has been transforming my heart. Each one He reaches into a specific piece of me and shows me the way out of the darkness, into His light. While I have learned to appreciate the love and truth He speaks through these amazing sisters, I have also struggled with feeling like I fit in anywhere else. From the moment I met the first group I have known that these are my peeps. These are women not afraid to live boldly for Jesus, always. These women each have their own relationship with God and they aren't afraid to share some of the deepest valleys He has walked them through. Not to brag about their faith, or strength, no this is the opposite of that. They boldly share their heartaches and struggles so that they can share their "God" moments. This has been a struggle for me in my life. I learn more and more that every area of my life He wants to give me peace and mercy in the chaos...when others are concerned I'm being tricked by a cult, I'm begging God to take me deeper and deeper. 

This retreat was NO different. God surprised me with the finances to pay for the retreat. Then Mr T lost his job. I didn't lose hope, well I did a few times, but God is faithful. I waited patiently, not complaining at all...not really it was actually more of a desperation I was walking around in. He literally dropped the price of a round trip ticket to Dallas to less than $200. I know He dropped it because I checked those flights and prices everyday for a couple months. I was hoping for a huge drop in price and what I was seeing on a daily basis was an increase in price. About a week and a half before the retreat I said, "ok I will check this one last time." As I scrolled down the flights on Southwest, I saw the exact early morning flight I wanted was the ONLY one that was $47...the rest were $300-400. Not only that but I knew that the return flight had to also be affordable, it wasn't as cheap, but the total round trip cost was below $200 with tax. Since the return flight was for the day after the retreat, it also meant I would have an evening to spend not only with my sweet sister, but also with her family.  At that time I had no idea it also meant a few other sisters from the retreat. Each one an important part of God's transformation of my heart. During that time God brought such great revelation, like the retreat was still happening. 

So, I will end this word with this bit of truth from my trip to my last retreat...every one wants to be accepted...everyone wants to be invited...if we only accept and invite those we know we like, or we know are like us...we are missing the entire example of Jesus. Just like the verses Luke 14:12-14 MSG above, our desire should be to spread out and share Jesus with everyone, not just people we know and like. I can honestly say that some of the deepest messages God has given me have come through someone I probably wouldn't know if it wasn't for God. I have always been the "misfit" in the crowd and for years I fought hard against this title...until God reminded me He set me apart for Himself. Now my prayer is that my Poppa can reach through me to every person He places in my path. Not discriminating as this world does, but loving like He does. In this piece of the body of Christ, I am not a misfit, I am just His princess. I won't even try to imagine who I would be if K hadn't been obedient and invited me all those years ago. I am just looking forward to what He's gonna do through me in the times to come. I will keep my ears and eyes open for the women He places in my life and asks me to invite to these heart transforming retreats just like He invited me into. In Matthew 5:46-48 it's plainly explained...

 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. 
Matthew 5:46-48 NLT

I will be sharing more about the "His Agenda: Propelling Prayers" retreat and some of the transformations God did. This was just the beginning...to much more than I can share right now.