What can I tell you about our Women’s retreat? Or really, as I sit here getting ready to write, I wonder how I can tell you what I experienced.
See now that all the rushing for our office has settled (and even though there are still boxes sitting on the floor in my office) I find myself looking back and wondering how I can describe what happened there. Perhaps I could tell you about the laughter, the worship in a room with 145 women, all of us praising the Lord. Maybe I could share with you the fun goodies we received that made us feel special, or I could talk about each session and the speakers and what they brought to the table. But for right now, that would be too much information.
Instead, I want to highlight one very important verse which stood as the focus point for our entire weekend.
I delight to do Your will, Oh God, Your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8 (NIV)
Using this verse as a lens, we looked at seven different women in the Bible. We heard about the Woman at the Well, the Woman Caught in Adultery, Hagar, Esther, Ruth, Leah, the Woman with the Issue of Blood, Hannah, and Mary Magdalene. As I look back at these sessions where we learned of these women, I find myself wondering what I can share with you.
You see, at the retreat we had 145 different, unique, beautiful women in one room together. I knew some of their stories. Others I learned about while there, and still others held their hurts and struggles close. There were widows and single women, married and divorced. There were young teenagers, and grandmothers. There were those with many children and those longing for children. There were women walking through loss, the fear of a loved one who received a bad diagnosis, and even those who had received a bad diagnosis for themselves.
All of these are factors and “lots” in life. Struggles that we each carry individually.
As I looked at that room full of women, I realized we are not so different from the women in the Bible. Each woman we studied needed something from the Lord, and don’t we also have needs? Don’t we have deep longings within our hearts.
The Woman at the Well needed connection and attachment.
The Woman Caught in Adultery needed forgiveness and mercy.
Hagar needed to be seen in her affliction.
Esther needed courage to go to the king and rescue her people.
Ruth needed a protector and redeemer.
Leah needed to be noticed and loved.
Woman with the Issue of Blood needed healing.
Hannah needed to be heard and find her joy again.
Mary Magdalene needed Jesus.
Each of these women were in need of something and there was only One who could satisfy. Sabrina Carter said it so well when she asked the question, “Do you need a touch from the Master?” She was talking about the desperation of the Woman with the Issue of Blood and how she did all she could to touch Jesus and be healed.
Don’t we need that too? Whatever our situation, don’t we need to trust the Lord, standing in faith that He is working and moving in our lives? Don’t we need to remember that He is the One who changes things?
Each woman in the Bible that we studied had one very important thing in common. They were in need and when the Lord met that need, they left changed. Think about it.
The Woman at the Well found acceptance and joy in Christ, the fulfillment of the longing she desired. The Woman Caught in Adultery received forgiveness and pardon, she walked away from that encounter simply woman, loved by Christ. Hagar needed to be seen and after hearing from the Lord, she called Him “El Roi,” the God who sees me. Esther needed courage, and the Lord helped her and used her to save His people. Ruth needed protection and redemption, the Lord planned out her kinsman redeemer long before she left her home to return with Naomi. Leah wanted to be loved, and with each child she gave birth to her eyes focused more upon the Lord, praising Him with the birth of Judah. The Woman with the Issue of Blood needed to be healed and with one touch from Jesus, she was healed. Hannah needed to be heard, and though her circumstances didn’t change at first, when she knew the Lord had heard her, she praised Him—her face no longer downcast. And then there was sweet Mary. She needed to see her Lord and Savior, needed to know where He was, and in the midst of her tears, she was the first to see the risen Lord.
Each woman had an encounter with the Lord and left changed.
The neat part about having a hand in the planning of the retreat is hearing from the women who attended. I have had the blessing over the last week and a half to hear individual stories of what the Lord did in those rooms. I am in awe, to God be the glory! Only a marvelous God could work that way. Only He could know each of our hearts and needs and meet us exactly where we need Him most.
So, I ask you today, have you had an encounter with the Lord recently? Have you spent time with Him in His Word and in prayer?
If not, why? Is there some reason you are holding back?
My encouragement is to remind you that He already knows what you need. Only Jesus can satisfy that longing in your heart for the things that are of Him.
Spend time today in prayer, remembering that to spend time with him is a DELIGHT. It is a need we each have and when we delight in Him, we are changed, our countenance raised up and refreshed.
My dear friend Catherine said it best. When she told me her takeaway from the weekend, I couldn’t help but smile. She said, “Do you know what I tell people now when they ask me how I am doing? I say, ‘I am DELIGHTED in the Lord.”
Amen, Catherine. There is no better answer.
For today—and moving forward—lean back and DELIGHT in Him.
I delight to do Your will, Oh God, Your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8