“I came to Thrive excited for what God had planned for me.  I came with a soul ready to be fed after a hurtful year on our team and a home service full of medical needs and family pain.  I knew the Thrive conference was God’s timing.

I was refreshed and encouraged at the Thrive conference.  God used the many women there to bless me.  I am amazed how many deep friendships I made in just a few days.  I was among women who understood me, my trials and joys, and who loved Jesus with passion.  This brought an atmosphere where we were open with one another and broken before the Lord together.  I loved it!  Every conversation was rich and meaningful.  I was able to hear God tell me who to talk to, hug, and ask their story at just the right time.  I enjoyed listening to each women sometimes crying together, laughing, and always praying with one another.  Some women were really hurting and going through terrible things but I wasn’t burdened by it but privileged to bring it to Jesus for them.  I enjoyed being able to encourage some of the women in their marriages celebrating what God wants in all of our marriages.  I also was able to share my story, my feelings, and be prayed for.  I was so empowered.  I loved meeting new friends – more than that new sisters that love and serve Jesus with me.

God also met with me.  As I sat before Him quietly I envisioned going before His throne and in His presence I began to weep.  Then He lovingly called me up into His lap where I was enveloped into His arms.  He said to me, “rest”.  Rest my child from all you carry, all your hurts, all you’ve gone through, all your worries, all your emotions…rest.  In that place of rest in His loving arms I found healing.  His love is healing.  That is what I needed.  He is what I needed.  I have never felt such peace.  When our quiet time was over I envisioned leaving my Father’s arms and I didn’t want to and ran right back.  He gently reminded me He is always there ready and waiting to hold me again and give me healing rest.  Oh thank you Lord.  At the end of the conference I was able to have silent prayer with one of the Thrive volunteers.  As we sat quietly before the Lord my whole body relaxed and I felt complete peace.  God tenderly called my name and said He loves me.  I am loved to the King!  The Thrive volunteers felt God say rest and she did not know God had spoken that over me at the beginning of the conference.  God You are with us!

So I leave the Thrive conference not rested – because I loved being with all my new friends from Jesus – but refreshed.  I met with the King and He healed me with His loving rest.  He knows me.  I am so grateful.  Thank you Thrive!”

Mandy Shaarda, Retreat Attendee

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