Have you ever planned something and it doesn’t go the way you thought it would go?
Well, this past week I went to a singles retreat in Texas called the Live Boldly Retreat. I was hoping and praying that I wouldn’t get a cold while I was there because colds make my mouth tight and unable to open to eat. Unfortunately, I got a cold but I decided to go and make it work, anyway.
I was really frustrated that I had a cold and had to have help more than usual taking my medicines. I was asking God, “Why this week of all weeks? You know I have been looking forward to this. Why can’t it be easy this one time? Plus Lord, You know that when I go to retreats like this I type a lot more than usual and that makes my left hand tighter.”
I was complaining to the Lord in my mind the whole way down to Texas. I was thinking, “Why did I even make the effort to come?” Then, of course, the title of the first message we heard preached was, “Is Christ Enough?” I’ve heard messages similar to it before, but it was just a great message to start off the retreat. In fact, I would encourage you listen to it when you have time. (He preached it in 2017, click the link if your interested.) The preacher explains how some married couples view single people in the church and make comments like, “Well they’re single because of this and that.” During this message the Lord just softened my heart and changed my spirit towards my situation.
Then on Friday night, the preacher preached on having character during the trials of life and how you should be stable with the Lord’s help going through those trying circumstances and enduring till the end. He referenced James 1:2-4. This was nothing new to me; I knew this. I just needed the reminder that God will give me the daily strength when I need it.
The last message that I would like to tell you about was probably my favorite. I’m not going to explain the whole message; I’ll just tell you what I got out of it. Although I have heard Saturday morning’s passage preached twice in the last few years—once by my pastor and once by my grandpa—this preacher preached on John 21 and explained what “Follow me” meant back in Bible times in the sense of discipleship. I just haven’t ever heard it like we did Saturday. This time it was just so eye-opening, I guess, that Jesus wants us to follow him even if we fail time and time again. And I’m thinking, “I know that Jesus loves and cares for me. But sometimes I just get distracted by other stuff and can completely stop reading my Bible for weeks and just get off track spiritually. He will let me come back and forgives me and will restore my relationship with Him again.” I’m so overwhelmed by his unconditional Love and unlimited Grace in my life. I’m in awe that he would still want to use me after I’ve failed him. It’s very humbling.
While I hardly ate anything on this trip, I was very thankful I could eat some juicy garlic steak at Texas de Brazil. I was also able to do my very first escape room and our team escaped with 3 minutes left on the clock. I also enjoyed several conversations with my friends and new people. I want to thank Julie for being a true friend and being willing to help me take my medicine when I needed help.
If there were a hymn that summed up this past week, it would had been “He Giveth More Grace.” Oddly enough, we sang it yesterday morning at my home church! I was bawling in the back while the congregation was singing it, just because the Lord knew that the song meant something to me.
I don’t know what you are facing today, but I would like to encourage you to keep fighting in the faith and depend on the Lord, because He loves you with an everlasting love and will shower you with His all-sufficient grace and strength.
He Giveth More Grace
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done;
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.