I got a text from Laura a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to go to the ladies retreat. By retreat, I immediately thought “a weekend away from the guys! Just a weekend for me, how wonderful!” Little did I really know, it would be a forever life-changing weekend where I would connect with God in no way that I had ever before.
It was a retreat away for women only at a bible camp at a lake that our church supports. This was the 45th ladies retreat and I’m so glad that I was called to be a part of it. The theme for the weekend was “Hearing God’s Voice”. I had often wondered in my journey with God if I had ever really “heard” Him. Part of me just assumed that hearing Him, was literally so. Like one of my mental health patients hearing voices! I know many people do literally hear God’s voice, but the wonderful speaker of the weekend – Carrie – who will be a lifelong friend (and hopefully mentor), opened up my eyes, ears, and all my senses really. She taught me that God speaks to us in many ways, and He had been speaking to me my whole life. I always assumed that “everything happens for a reason” and I do believe that, but now I know it’s because it’s God’s plan for me and that is the reason why I make the decisions that I do and why things happen to me the way they do in my life.
That was our verse of the weekend. We kept going back to it in our exercises during sermon. I will never forget it, and it was so true for me that weekend. God spoke to me through Carrie, our speaker, in so many ways. I was doing a new thing. This was SO new for me. I stepped way out of my comfort zone and truly was a Christian in front of women who had been Christians…worshiping and praising their whole lives! Carrie asked Jesus into her heart when she was 3.5 years old. So young! I can’t even remember being that young! My journey with God has been wonderful, but very unique. Perhaps I will share more on that later, but for now I just want to share a bit about this weekend.
I learned that He speaks to us through songs, prayers of others, His creation – the sky, bird songs, flowers, trees, through books, through our partners, our friends…our children. Wow, does God even speak to me through Braden. Every time I look at him I never take for granted what a true blessing and a miracle he is to me.
I am a forever changed for the better woman. I truly heard his voice that weekend and want to learn his word. Another verse that really hit me, that I really needed to see was this:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? — Matthew 6:25
It was a verse we were to read as part of our exercises, but it spoke to me so much and I needed to read that. I have been struggling so much with body image and nutrition this pregnancy and it has really bothered me. I don’t want to feel this way, but I do. Dreading potential stretch marks, dreading the number that the scale reads as it is happening so much faster this time, feeling guilty about not eating as healthy as I could be, not exercising as much. That verse hit me, and it hit me hard. It doesn’t mean I get a free pass and that I can stuff my face full of Laura’s delicious cinnamon buns, but I just needed it.