So, this year’s annual Agape retreat was one where I did not concentrate on myself and I got to understand why on the last day. If you read my other posts, you may have come across my explaining how sometimes as a worship leader; God will make you feel what others are feeling prior to leading worship. It could take days for me to feel that way and I find that it keeps me before God in worship and prayer to get through those times before I lead worship and release often comes either at the start, middle of end of the worship session.
God blew my mind!
On the Monday before, while sitting in my office at work, God placed some things in my heart about what He was going to do at the retreat. My mind was blown! One of the things that He said that I immediately shared with some of the ministers was this and I am putting it here verbatim “whatever your expectations for this retreat, take it and multiply by 100%.”
Let me just tell you that the retreat was everything and more! I think in hindsight, the most powerful thing that happened was God practically taking my attention away from things that would have been distractions for me. I simply had no appetite for them. If you know me and my addiction to my phone, you would understand. My husband always jokes about how there could be a war happening beside me and I would not know it because I would be too engrossed in my phone.
God removed the would-be distraction
I am that girl in a meeting on her phone and when they ask participants their thoughts on whatever had just been discussed, would go‘oh, wait, what? Can you repeat that?’ I drive my pastor crazy with that stuff! What if I told you that my phone crashed as soon as we got to the retreat grounds? It crashed as in unusable, so many people tried to help me fix it unsuccessfully! This girl was without a phone for 3 days and it was the most spiritually fulfilling 3 days of my life. I will do it again in a heartbeat!
Now, let me get to my story. As I mentioned earlier, this was the one where I did not pray one prayer for myself. It was like God prepped for what I was going to see and spoke to me about other people which were then confirmed by other people. I was getting shocked at every turn!
He prepared me ahead of time
God prepared me ahead of time for this retreat. When I got there, I was just waiting for instructions from Him. As in, I was full by the time I got there that I feel I went for extra. I could go on and on. I went to the retreat trusting He had something good in store, and not even necessarily for me and God exceeded my expectations exponentially!
At the end, we were all saying our goodbyes when I realized that I had not really spoken to my two close girlfriends. While I was chatting with one of them(KO) about how powerful the retreat had been; another sister friend Hephzibah walked by us and instantly began to prophesy. What if I told you that 80% of the things she prophesied to me were things the Holy Spirit had already told me before I even set foot on the retreat grounds? That was quiet an encounter. God practically spoke answers on things I was waiting to hear direction on.
God has a plan and He has the blueprint too.
I write this particular post today to encourage you and to say that for everyone who chooses to serve God, He has a plan. And for that plan, He has the blueprint. Not everyone is going to be a worship leader as I am but that does not mean that God does not have a plan for you.
When I led on the last day of the retreat, one of the things I was led to share was that we were going back to our reality but the good news about that was that we were going back with the truth of God’s word. Of course, I got home and started having ‘thoughts’ that tried to get me depressed again!
Isn’t it funny that the enemy would try to make me forget that powerful, life-changing encounter and try to throw me back into gloom. Remember, the enemy is here to kill, steal and destroy and he starts in the mind. He doesn’t get any rights to your mind unless you give it to him. The truth of God’s word is that He that the Son has set free is free indeed!
The enemy plays the ‘let me see if she/he will give me permission to mess with him/her today’. That is why we must be vigilant and guard our hearts with everything we’ve got! If he gets your heart, he gets your life. Choose God and you choose peace, rest, love, joy, gladness; the list goes on and on.
God gives grace
Nevertheless, God gave me grace to look at that situation that was developing and I spoke the truth of God’s word to it and just like it started brewing, it fizzled out. This reminds me of Jesus telling the winds to be still on that boat. Again, what you give power to will overwhelm and try to drown you.
Over the past few weeks, I found myself listening to one of my original songs that I released in June of this year titled ‘Yes’. I wrote it at a time when I found myself struggling so hard to hold on. I felt like life was closing in on me and nothing made sense. I was constantly having panic attacks and one day I was on the train going in to work and I began say these words:
You are my hope
You are my strength
You are my source
You are my life
My heart says yes, to your will and your ways…
And the more I said them, the clearer it became that for me to truly experience God as those things, I needed to surrender my heart, my life and my whole being to Him, the author and finisher of my faith. The one who loved me enough to give His son for my life. He has given me the opportunity of voice to minister His heart to people and it dawned on me, without surrender, I pretty much can do nothing. Surrender is the key word and I cannot think of a better song to leave you with this week. The song is available for purchase on Google Play, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes and Amazon.
Live and thrive doing it!
If you can relate to any of these things, I encourage you to truly surrender to Him and tell your heart to live again. A surrendered heart is one that will hear God’s instructions and trust me when God is guiding your every step, you cannot go wrong. You can start thriving instead of just existing from day to day. There is a huge difference between just living and existing and living and thriving. It is possible to do the latter! The bridge from the song In control by Hillsong sums it all up for me.
I will trust in only You
No one can add to Your perfection
You’re the beginning and the end
More than I can comprehend
There is no one like You
Season of complete trust
I am now in a place of complete trust in God. I’ve had a lot of confusion in my life and in this season, I have consistently seen God take care of several situations for me just because I laid down my burdens. You may be asking how I laid them down? Often times, it’s either me getting one of my playlists going or reading through my journal to see stuff I wrote down a while back. I do this to remind myself about the goodness of God! Sometimes, I just sit in my car and meditate on the word or just go through devotionals.
Please, hear me when I say that the answer always comes! Let me share one testimony; a few weeks ago I misread a situation and was about to take a drastic decision. This would have caused serious damage to my life, but for God giving me the grace to exercise patience that day.
I have been reading Psalm 23 in different versions of the bible but I stumbled on the Passion Translation recently. Check out verse 2: “He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.” Three very powerful things for me here – resting place, oasis of peace and quiet brook.” I understand life will happen but I know He promises me rest if I trust in Him.
The Place of Trust is the Place of Rest… Choose Rest!
Interestingly, I responded to a friend’s WhatsApp status this week. He wrote ‘Do everything from a place of rest’; and I replied by saying that it is the only place to do it from. For years, I did the exact opposite due to stress and pressure from life happening and this only led to rash decisions which had me going in cycles.
That is emotionally, physically and mentally draining and it will affect you spiritually. That means you cannot pray, you cannot read the bible and when you do, there is no understanding or inspiration. There is simply no interest; you withdraw from people and things when you should actually be visible. That is a very dangerous place to be. I have been there, done that and now I am choosing rest! Choose rest with me, you will feel much better!