On Day 4 of the 30 Days of Prayer, we prayed,
Blessed are the women who trust in the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord. For they’ll be like trees planted by the waters, which spread out their roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but whose leaves will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit (Jeremiah 17:7-8).
In whatever circumstances the attendees are arriving, may they experience anew Your light and hope in some tangible way during the retreat. God visit these women with grace in their seasons of transitions. We pray that the barren landscape of trial will become the fertile soil for new growth. May our gracious God revive their spirit and restore their laughter. May they find Him in their pain and trust Him in their waiting. May the One who redeems all things meet them powerfully as they journey through a “Land Between.” We pray that You free them from a spirit of fear. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
On the last day of the retreat, I saw her in the lobby. “In just a few words,” I said, “What did God do in you this week?
The shape of her face transformed before my eyes and tears trickled from her eyes. “Well that’s a story,” she said, putting words to a response I wasn’t expecting.
“When I first heard about the Peru retreat in October,” she said, “I was so excited. I’ve wanted to attend a Thrive retreat for a long time. But as the date of the retreat approached, I got more and more stressed.
“I’m heading to the States right after the retreat for a year of visiting supporters,” she continued. “My worries started mounting. I’m leaving work in Bolivia that I love and am good at, and trading it for an uncomfortable year of asking for things—speaking engagements, funds to continue. America has changed, and I don’t feel ready. My family has changed, and I wasn’t with them during the process. By the time I arrived here, I was feeling pretty low. I cringed every time I had to introduce myself, share about my life.
“In fact,” she added, “I almost left the retreat the second night.”
I was surprised. You have to be pretty low to leave a retreat.
“What turned things around for you?” I asked.
Her face brightened. “The speaker talked about joy as a sort of cornucopia of delights. In processing with a counselor, I realized there were some big things on top of my cornucopia obscuring the fruits beneath. As I started to remove the grief and admit my fears, I began feeling lighter.
“I’m leaving the retreat with a whole lot more peace than I came with. I’m ready to go back to America now.”
Ann arrived feeling pretty low. God answered our prayers for her: she experienced anew His light and hope in a tangible way during the retreat. God visited her with grace in her season of transitions. He revived Ann’s spirit and restored her laughter. The One who redeems all things met her powerfully as she journeys through a “Land Between.” Thank You, Lord, for freeing her from a spirit of fear.