“Go and Tell”, “Come and See”. These phrases have popped up for me multiple times since attending the women’s retreat through my church a few weeks ago. These are phrases that have to do with discipleship. We are all called to spread God’s message and sometimes the easiest way to do that is to share what Jesus has or is doing in our life or inviting someone to church. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you how Jesus has recently worked in my life. It all started with the women’s retreat and being out of my comfort zone.
When was the last time you went out of your comfort zone? Stepping out into the unknown can be so scary. As a believer in God, I know God has equipped me for everything He calls me to do, and He has equipped you too. Matthew 19:26 reminds us of just this. “Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.’”
Several weekends ago, I went on a women’s retreat through my church at Epworth by the Sea in St. Simons , Georgia, and yes, this was out of my comfort zone. A) I am an introvert so being around people for long periods of time wears me out. B) My diet is hard to deal with when away from my house C) I also have Hoshimotos which is an autoimmune disease, and it makes me tired around 8 pm every night and I know the schedule had us out until 9 pm both Friday and Saturday D) I have never been fond of being around a lot of women either. Let me explain this last statement. I know many amazing women and am friends with many, but I don’t have many, close girlfriends and I think it is because I don’t trust women due to past experiences.
Despite all of this, I signed up for the retreat and roomed with my mom and her friends which are the women I grew up with and are all second mothers to me. We stayed in an Airbnb giving me access to a kitchen and storage for all the food I brought. It was a great place right on the beach and I loved the time I got to spend with all my mothers.
The weekend is just as I expected it to be for me, draining. The speakers were excellent. Looking back, I really enjoyed the speaker on Friday, meeting her and now I listen to her podcast daily. It was just a late evening, so I was tired. Saturday morning went well and again, I enjoyed the speaker. By Sunday, I was ready to leave and after the sermon mom and I took off. We didn’t even hang around for lunch, which was the original plan. On the ride home, I thought long and hard about the weekend and the fact I didn’t like the way I was feeling. I hate the fact this weekend was draining and not life giving for me.
Having quiet time with God came up numerous times throughout the weekend and I have not been doing this. I often wonder if it is a time thing, or I am still angry with God (due to Liam’s death), so I avoid Him. I contemplated this while mom drove us home. Lee, my husband, was gone on a guy’s trip and wouldn’t be home Monday morning, so I planned to wake up, not look at my phone but sit quietly with God instead.
Monday came and I started my day with God. I have been doing this ever since the retreat and it feels so good. My morning routine used to be all about social media. I would wake up, mindlessly scroll, post, and then I would go workout. Now, my mornings are all about time with God.
The first morning I did this (Monday after the retreat) I thought more about why I have trust issues with women. I have built a wall to protect myself and I don’t let many in. This is isolating and not a way I want to live. I decided to write down the names of the women that hurt me, and then I took it a step further. I reached out to each one (some by Fb messenger, one by LinkedIn and a few by email and one by a handwritten letter). In my notes to these women, I explained to them how they hurt me, but I also took ownership in what had happened between us. I know this was the holy spirit working through me because I didn’t even think twice before sending the notes off. The first woman I wrote was my college roommate and we were so close and even lived together when I moved to New Jersey after graduate school. She quickly replied and we spent the whole day catching up and chatting back and forth. During the day, I heard back from two more women and each time I felt lighter and lighter. Some of the women I reached out to didn’t even realize something happened between us. A few of the women shared with me that they too have trust issues with women and one of the women told me she has changed a lot over the years. The last woman I mailed a handwritten note to. She was my cooperative teacher during student teaching. I cried every day after leaving her classroom because she treated me so terribly despite her smile, cute clothes (amazing shoes!) and endless gifts she gave me. I haven’t heard back from her yet (praying that I got the right address) but the act of getting my feelings on paper and mailing a letter to her helped. The speaker on Saturday talked about crucifying our old selves and this is exactly what I did. I want to trust women. I want to get out of my head. I want close girlfriends. I need people and I need the wall I built to disappear. I hope this is the first step to healing.
During the retreat weekend I felt like a mess, but looking back God was working in me, and the weekend ended up being life changing. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and see how God works in you.