-- In His Strength: Fall Retreat 2005: Father Heart of God www.superfluousbanter.org

In His Strength

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength --- Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fall Retreat 2005: Father Heart of God

These retreats never cease to amaze me.

I had been to a retreat a few years ago where I had heard Dick Schroeder, XA pastor at MSU Bozeman. God moved in me in a powerful way regarding specific relationships. I decided to go this year, mostly because I had missed both Fall and Spring retreats last year due to school being too hectic at the time. I was not going to miss hanging out with a bunch of great friends again, even if I HAD heard the speaker before.
A few days before the retreat I became really excited. I still wasn't sure what to expect but I started to have faith that God had something specific for me while up there, and that I wasn't going just for the pleasure of hanging out with friends. We arrived rather late on Friday night (around 11pm or so) and unfortunately missed the first session. Usually the first session gears me up for Saturday (the meat of the retreat) and Sunday is the wind down. But I had faith that it was going to be great no matter what time I arrived.
I recognized a few things that Dick had spoken about from the first time I heard him, and reading my notes from last time when I returned home, realized there was a lot more that was the same, but a majority of what I heard before had hit me in a new and refreshing way. If I had to sum it all up in just one sentence, it would be that I have a new understanding of God's love for me.
There is a prayer I prayed the night before my grandmother died, and I still pray it today. "God, You know what I want. You know what I need." It was one I prayed after committing to going to the Fall retreat. God seemed to speak to me in areas of prayer, love, how I define myself, How I see Him, and His plans for me.
My prayer life has been rather difficult lately. He's seemed rather quiet lately, and it's been discouraging. Satan seems to lay on the guilt if I miss a quiet time which only discourages me even more. I once heard someone say that is it important to give God the first part of our day. Mornings are difficult for me, for a number of reasons. So I've been praying at night, and yet I still tend to struggle because as soon as I climb into bed, I'm out! Or when I try to do my quiet times when I first awake, I am rushed as it takes me an hour or so to get ready for classes, and I need all the sleep I can get in order to function. One thing that was said was the a our prayer life can hinder how we view our relationship to God. My prayer tend to be wish list for Santa (I want this, this, and this, oh and please do this, etc...) Prayer= intimacy with God, telling Him about your day, thanking Him for what He has done, what He's going to do and what He is doing now. God loves me even if I don't have my quiet time, and my behavior can't increase or decrease His love for me.
Since the retreat, I remind myself daily that God loves me. And for the first time in years, I can feel it once again. I have let life experiences define who I am and who I see God as, this weekend has caused me to surrender it all and to let God change all that.
We had a few hours of free time Saturday afternoon. There wa a group going on a hike, as well as a group going on a drive up Going to the Sun Road. A beautiful drive this time of year, as I did it with XA friends a few years ago, as well as a former roommate last year. I wasn't going to go on the drive because I had done it before, and I probably should have been reading for my
social Work class, but something made me raise my had when we had a hand count of who wanted to go. Ah, what the heck they could use my van since we had a lot of people. We ended up taking multiple vehicles. Now, I already have numerous pictures from the last time I went up going to the Sun road on a previous retreat. I ended up picture happy. Sometimes taking pictures of the same scene from different angles.
At the Summit of GSR, we got out of the vehicles and walked around. Some going different directions. I was with our campus pastor Scott and a couple others from different groups. Scott happened to be carrying The Message translation of the Bible and had asked each of us in the group to call out a Psalm for Him to read aloud. Standing out in the middle of Creation hearing God's Word just does something to ya. It was my favorite moment of the entire trip.
Scott has wa-a-ay too much fun pushing my wheelchair. He sings while he does it, or he makes racecar noises.
I got a flat tire when we loaded into the van afterward. I had;t pulled forward enough and so the arm of the lift came down on my tire and punctured a hole (Always when I am way from home!) Between Scott and a gentleman from another group, they were able to fix it for me.
Saturday nights service ended in prayer with staffers from our campus groups. I had a time of prayer with Krysty (dynamic woman of God, and staffer with XA) that was beyond amazing. Our drive home was just as our drive to the retreat. I slept the whole way.



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