In October I wasn't even sure I was going to go to our annual women's retreat. I just didn't feel 100% good about it, or 50% actually! But I'm on our women's council (which I love) so I felt compelled to keep praying about it. As we were sitting in one meeting and discussing the need for someone to lead worship, without thinking at all about myself I said, "You know, it could be someone who plays guitar. It doesn't necessarily have to be a piano player."
Never should have said that! By the end of the meeting I felt like I was supposed to do it! Totally not expecting that one... So I told our leader I'd pray about it (and get my guitar out to see if I had a clue what to do after 6 or 8 years of not playing!). I came home that night and played for more than 2 hours... worked blisters on my fingers and had my own little church! It was great!
So I committed to do it nervously, but knowing that if God wanted me to do it, He'd make it work! I started praying right then about which songs He would have me do (as they needed to be in the right keys to play!) and from the very beginning had 7 or 8 that stayed in my mind. After that I'd look for and practice more, but in the end I stuck with the original ones. And in the long run they ended up being absolutely perfect for the weekend. I chose the song you hear playing (or click below if your reading without being at my site) for our theme song which turned out to be exactly what we needed... to just believe what we knew to be true. It's one of my all time favorites.
We Believe In God - Amy Grant
In the long run it turned out to be a great experience. I loved doing it! God gave me the confidence with just the right amount of anxiety needed to keep me humble, and after the first worship set my anxiety was gone enough that I could worship too. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
~~~Our speaker was Sharon Hoffman. She was so friendly! Quite honestly, one would have thought she'd known us all for years! She had great messages for us each session as well.
During one part of a session, she spoke on loving our husbands. She gave us a sheet that looked like this:
_____ is patient, _____ is kind. _____ does not envy, _____ does not boast, _____ is not proud. _____ is not rude, _____ is not self-seeking, _____ is not easily angered, _____ keeps no record of wrongs. _____ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. _____ always protects, _____ always trusts, _____ always hopes, _____ always preserves.
Then she had us read it, filling in the blanks with our own name.
Melissa is patient, Melissa is kind. Melissa does not envy, ... you get the idea. Her general point at that moment was in loving our husbands, but I was hung up on how I was behaving toward Jacob. He and I had had a few hard days, especially the morning before I left. I was feeling badly about leaving even. But as I read my name in that paragraph I realized there were so many areas in which I was lacking... being patient, kind, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, always protects... and felt very convicted that I needed to be more of these in my interactions with him. At that moment I couldn't wait to get home and apologize to him. I asked God to let me get home safely and protect us both until I could get with him and do what I needed to do.
He gave me that chance and I had a chance to talk to Jacob Sunday afternoon. I read him the scripture and showed him specifically where I was failing him and asked for his forgiveness. Jacob didn't know what I was talking about, but said he'd forgive me. Since then God has given me a very difference spirit toward Jacob. I certainly haven't been without sin since then, but I have been much more patient and positive with him. Not just in my speech, but I feel more patient and positive toward him.
All in all it was a great weekend, but that conviction was my nugget of truth that I needed.
One idea Sharon mentioned regarding our speech and general demeanor was to behave as if we were leaving ribbons behind us. Well, that sounds pretty ridiculous in an isolated sentence, but in her talk it was great! If you were there it will make sense...
Jacob loves colorful things, so one thing I'd like to implement is a system that allows all of us to encourage others toward kindness, in our speech specifically. I'm going to get two vases and a bunch of black and colored buttons. When one uses an unkind voice or commits an unkind action, anyone in the house is allowed to put a black button in the jar. And when one uses a kind voice or does something kind, anyone is allowed to put a colorful button in the other jar. This will give Jacob an opportunity to keep me in check in a respectful way and give all of us something to do to work together toward kindness and sweet speech. And when we reach a certain point with our colorful buttons, we'll have a family reward of some sort.
I haven't gotten to this yet, but we have been talking a lot through 1 Cor 13 and some other verses about encouraging each other toward love and good deeds. It's been good time and has been a very good reminder for me.
This is my great friend, Jessica, with me. I met Jessica at last year's retreat and we were quick friends. I'm so thankful for her and the good things her friendship has brought to my life!