I had worked for months organizing and planning the details for a ‘Come to the Well’ women’s retreat at the beach, and now it was “go time.” This moment is always incredibly exciting for me, when all the planned details are put into action and I get to watch God write the story for our weekend with Him. I always wonder how He will show up, what wonderful works He will do and how He will amaze us once again. He has never failed us.
The 15 passenger van was packed full of luggage, food, worship equipment and women. With not an inch to spare! We drove three hours to the beach, spent the afternoon enjoying each other and relaxing as we stuck our toes in the sand and felt the ocean breeze wash away the stress from our week. After having dinner at the beach house, we all sat mesmerized as Marti shared her story of God’s amazing grace in her life and the redemptive power of the Holy Spirit. Then we sang “Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone” and I quietly wept. It gets me every time.
Denise, the awesome and gracious food coordinator for the weekend, put out a snack. As we were filling our plates, I noticed my good friend, Steph. Her eyes were still teary. I asked, “Would you like to go talk?” She nodded and we sat alone on the screened in porch. She proceeded to share something with me that she had never told a single soul before. She was full of shame, guilt and torment, and was desperate to be free.
We talked for awhile longer and she suddenly exclaimed with much urgency, “We need to pray RIGHT NOW!” She went first, a beautiful and broken prayer of surrender to Jesus and a plea for freedom. Then sitting next to her on the white wicker love seat with my arm wrapped around her, I prayed to our great Deliverer to come set this beautiful daughter of His free once and for all. When I was done, we sat there in comfortable silence. Then she said, “I have to tell you something.”
I sat there in amazement as she relayed to me what God had just done. As I was praying for her, He gave her a vision. She was walking along the beach, and it was a struggle. She was wearing dark sackcloth and a heavy, thick rope was wrapped tightly around her. As I prayed the words, “God, break the chains…”, the rope burst off and the sackcloth fell away. Now she was adorned in a pink, flowing dress. Then Jesus was there on the beach and He was twirling her. Dancing with Jesus.She was truly free. How great is our God!
My response was to weep uncontrollably, there was so much going on inside of me too. I was overcome by God’s goodness to my friend and that God would choose to use a broken vessel like me to bring His kingdom to this earth. I have often asked God, “Why me?” And His answer has been, “Because you’re willing.” There is nothing but Jesus Christ in me that qualifies me to be His Voice. Jesus is enough.
On Sunday morning the women were invited to share anything they felt the Holy Spirit prompting them to tell the rest of the group. Steph had told me she wasn’t sure if she would share her God story or not. But as each woman read the verse she had picked out of the jar that had been passed around, Steph knew she would tell of His wonderful works as soon as she heard one woman read this:
This was HER verse! Just for her. And God knew long before that weekend. His plan is good. Steph did tell, while kneeling on the floor in the middle of the room of women, all basking in His unfailing love. It was beautiful.
This is why I love “go time.”