I got home from last weekend’s women’s retreat full of joy, exhaustion, and a new found fire to behold and become the woman God created me to be. There were 60 women at the retreat and we worshiped, cried, laughed, and got really vulnerable together. Every morning and night there was worship and a word- so it was a complete weekend filled with Jesus.
The first night, the twinkling lights were on, the worship was incredible, and I was ready for whatever the weekend had in store. Then the altar call happened. An altar call that had specific prayer requests. “If you have fear, come here.” “If you are in a financial crisis, move here.” “If you have insecurities, stand here.” A part of me wanted to remain seated, to keep my insecurities hidden from the world and myself. But deep within, I knew it was time to confront the lies that had been holding me back for too long.
I don’t care who you are- taking the steps to walk to the altar is not easy. It’s a bold move to leave the comfort of your seat and walk those heart pounding steps to the altar. It takes mighty courage to stand up there knowing the other women in the room, or the women you went there with, will see you needing/asking for prayer. But all that worry somehow goes away and you find yourself walking up. Trust me, my mind wanted me to stay in my row. My flesh didn’t want the people around me to know my struggle with insecurity. But my soul knew I needed prayer and freedom from the lies.
Tears flowed as I stood there, eyes closed, uttering words I hadn't realized I'd been carrying. I spoke to God about my fears of inadequacy and my terror of embracing the calling on my life. The fear of becoming a disappointment or a failure had weighed on me for so long. Self proclaimed pressure, really. Yet, in that vulnerable moment, what mattered most was that I was laying my heart bare before God, willing to face the truth and seek His guidance.
The retreat theme of rising up, taking courage, and taking action resonated deeply. It became clear that appearances can be deceiving. Despite how it may seem, none of us have it all figured out. It may look like I’m confident, but there’s a daily struggle within myself. Daily. I believe the lies, God's voice isn’t always the loudest, and I battle like everyone else. I’m ok with others knowing this because the things that stay hidden often eat us alive. We need to bring them to the light so that we have room and get the help we need to rid ourselves of them. We all battle doubts and insecurities, and it's through sharing these struggles that we find strength in each other and in God's presence.
As we were on our way out, God gave me one last nugget to hold onto. I received an unexpected encounter with one of the women at the retreat. The young woman told me that she was shocked I went up there for prayer on insecurity. That out of all the ladies in the room, I’d be the last person she’d think was insecure. She said she saw strength and confidence in me that I hadn't recognized within myself. That if I could only see myself how God and those around me see me, then things would change. I cried because I knew that she was speaking something God wanted me to hear. That the lies were not helping me, but hurting me. That I needed to quiet the noise and begin to see myself how God sees me- chosen and loved. That’s the thing about retreats like these, they create a space for truth, insight, and vulnerability to flourish. For terror to be conquered and for the courage to step into who you really are.
“Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.” Ezra 10:4
We must rise up from the lies or the disappointments of life, take courage in God's truth and promises, and then put action behind it all. Action in accountability, action on what steps we’d take after the retreat, action in being women of God.
I learned that I have way too many conversations with the enemy and I need to shut that down.
I learned that my insecurities are a lie and that there’s nothing I need to do to be who God created me to be because I already am her.
I learned that connection with others is vital to growth in my faith walk.
I learned that I can trust others after being hurt.
I learned that being is better than doing.
I learned that my heart has completely changed and that’s an answered prayer.
I learned to stop saying I am selfish because I’m no longer that woman.
I learned that there’s nothing to be terrified about because God works everything out for the good and His glory.
I learned that hiding will never get me where I need to go.
I learned that taking time to go to retreats like these is so very important.
I learned to not feed the fear but feed the truth.
I learned that one day I will stand in front of Jesus and I don’t want to say that I held back because of other people's opinions.
I learned that laughter really is the best medicine. (You had to be there for that one)
Friend, if you’re reading this retreat recap, I want you to know that the retreat theme of Ezra 10:4 is for you too. Rise up from discouragement, rise up from the feelings of fear, rise up from the lies of unworthiness, rise up and take courage.
The calling on your life, the anointing, the gifts, the dreams and desires are your responsibility to take a hold of because they were given to you by God on purpose and for a purpose!
You are not alone. God is with you and He also surrounded you with friends and family that want to cheer you on and support you. Sometimes we just don’t know that because we've kept things hidden for so long.
So now it’s your turn to do it. And this is the hardest part of Ezra 10:4. We can read scripture or blog posts, we can learn all we want, but action is the key to change, to joy, to becoming who God created you to be. And to have action you must know Who God is and what He says about you. You must get close to Him, you must believe His promises, and you must take action in where He is calling you.
I just came back from a retreat, yes. But God’s word, support, encouragement, and accountability is at your fingertips too. You just have to take that brave step away from your row and to the altar of confession, of desperation, or vulnerability with God and the right people. I believe that anything is possible with God, I pray you do too. Now we both have to take action towards that belief.
PS. If you need help taking action towards creating a morning routine that serves you and brings you closer to God- I have you covered! Click button below to receive my free worksheets, encouragement, checklists, and more to help you build your own habits/routine for a smoother day and closer relationship with your Creator.