How long has it been since you’ve felt so full of Jesus that you thought you’d explode? How long since you’ve felt so much love for your friends and/or family that you thought you’d melt? I experienced both of those feelings at a recent women’s retreat. It had been years—even decades—since I’d felt so full. And it changed me…
Started With a Prayer
Several weeks ago, I spoke at a women’s retreat at Cannon Beach, OR. The topic was Sacred Love, Sacred Dance and is a subject that always draws me nearer to Jesus when I share it with women. Not this time. The ladies seemed blessed as we journeyed through the Song of Solomon, but I explained the text and delivered the message like reciting a grocery list. I felt nothing, and it scared me.
When I returned home, I sent an email to my prayer team, confiding my spiritual dryness and asking them to pray that my intimacy with Jesus would be restored. Honestly, my request was a little selfish. I had interviews and another retreat on the books, and I knew my strength came only from the Lord. If I didn’t have Him, I couldn’t DO all the things on my calendar.
Seeking His Presence
The interviews, conferences, and retreats came and went. God was faithful to supply all my needs—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—but I still didn’t feel that intimacy that I realized I’d lost long ago. The realization nagged at me, but my schedule continued its break-neck speed.
Another retreat took me back to Cannon Beach, but this one was different. I would attend our church’s women’s retreat and have no responsibilities whatsoever. I couldn’t remember EVER being at a women’s retreat without any duties.
During this retreat, we were challenged to spend time alone with the Lord on the beach—no distractions. No cell phones or iPods. Nothing but me and Jesus. I cheated and took my Bible and a journal.
My mind was so scattered, I found it hard to concentrate. For over a year, I’ve found it hard to write more than a sentence or two without a break in between. (That’s why Miriam was such a challenge.) This jittery restlessness had not only robbed me of concentration, but it had stolen my intimacy with Jesus—and with others.
Friendships had dwindled to surface relationships because I couldn’t concentrate on a conversation long enough to go deep. Prayer had become a quick check-in and check-out with my Savior before getting on with the real work of my day. Then my mind ricocheted from one task to another, never settling on one thing long enough to finish it.
But on that beach, I was quiet. On that beach, I grew utterly still before the Lord for the first time in months. How long had it been since I’d felt the undeniable brush of the Holy Spirit?
I’d lived too long on the “just enough” principle. I’d been doing just enough to get the job done, just enough to keep friendships alive, just enough to care for my family.
That must change if I’m to experience intimacy with my God and others.
The New Plan
You’ll hear more about my weekend in the Friday blog posts over the next few weeks. God is shaping my heart and challenging me to implement some practical changes that will help me live more intentionally.
For some of those changes, I’ll need help from the amazing support people God has given me: my BFF team, prayer team, and Klicia (assistant).
Klicia and I have already worked out a new To-Do List system that’s helped immensely. I’ll be in closer contact with my prayer team since I was trying to do too much of this work in my own strength.
The things I need from you, my dear BFF members, are listed in the announcements of this week’s newsletter. I’ve listed them briefly here, but please go to the newsletter for a better explanation.
- (all members) A simple graphic to add to our pool of “Weekly Share Suggestions” so Klicia and I don’t have to create those. If you don’t feel comfortable creating a graphic, please just send Klicia or me a sentence quote from one of my books that spoke to your heart.
- (all members) Post your review of The Pharaoh’s Daughter on one or more of the online retail sites: Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, etc.
- (only one member needed) A co-coordinator to join Kate in helping shepherd our little flock on the FB Page and generating ideas for group activity.
- During June through September, we’ll take a “BFF Breather” and only send the newsletter once a month. I hope you’ll take that time to enjoy God’s creation and open your heart to the deeper intimacies He has for you!
- (any number) Volunteers to write devotionals for the newsletter. Kate, Klicia, and I will write three weeks a month, but we’ll need others to fill that fourth week spot during the months of Oct. 2015 – May 2016 (that’s eight devotionals).
There are 72 of you! You are an ARMY of God’s warriors, and I’m full to bursting at the blessing you are in my life! Thanks for your constant encouragement, your prayers, and your love.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26