Because I really want to share all the amazing things God did at the Calvary retreat, I'm just going to jump in even though I haven't given all the background I'd like. Sometimes the best way to share is just to jump...Here goes!
First of all, you should know this is a group of ladies I have been seeking the Lord with for twenty years. Back when I was in college, their church experienced a refreshing of the Lord that was just incredible. An ordinary church experienced a fresh move of an extraordinary God. Somehow a group from College Station ended up falling in love with the Jesus that this church so passionately pursued and the College Station group was born. Through books, seminars, workshops, classes and ultimately their ladies' retreats, I've come to know lots of these ladies and love them all. When you are with a group from this church, you can be sure of one thing: They waste no time warming up; they seek the presence of the Lord full throttle. As their worship leader so aptly put it, "I just say hi God, then deep." I love that!
College people have the time to travel the hour drive to Houston and the hour back lots. Married ladies with jobs and kids and responsibilities do not. This is how I adopted their annual ladies' retreat as my own. There was one thing that set some of us apart from College Station through the years. Once I had experienced worship, seeking and soaking like this, I never wanted to miss it. I have arranged and rearranged my entire year around attending this retreat. I have attended over fifteen Calvary retreats and anticipate many, many more to come!
When Tammy contacted me inviting me to share, I immediately said yes. Excitement filled me instantly. Just as suddenly a flash of fear came. I had no more asked myself what on earth I could possibly share with the ladies who have witnessed most of what God has freed me from when I heard a voice. It was the voice of Steve Meeks, pastor of Calvary. One of his famous saying is, "How do you spell faith? R-I-S-K."
Followed closely by a small whisper. This is a safe place.
I knew this was a place where the risk was minimal but the blessing would be exponential. I knew it would be well worth the risk both this time and in the all the future times He will call me.
As I realized what a gift speaking to these women was, peace and confidence flooded my soul. The Lord showed me that every time I speak from now on, I will see myself in front of those amazing women as I prepare. Many of them are mentors and role models to me that have watched me mature from a barely out of high school nineteen-year-old child to a thirty something mommy of four. I wanted my words to be a gift of repayment to them. I wanted them to see the fruit of their labors. I wanted to be sent out by them, commissioned by the ones whose message I carry. I am part of this church's legacy.
Almost immediately I knew that I was to speak to them the hope of a destiny fulfilled. I wanted them to know that my speaking to them was my destiny, a destiny they'd all had a large part in making. The verse God gave me was Proverbs 13:12. The message being in a nutshell, let's don't defer God's calling...Why not this year?
The message one of hope...Jesus Christ, our Hope.
I didn't correspond much with Tammy after the initial invitation as she is busy with her own family, teaching job and ministry to her parents as her parents stay with her and her father battles cancer at MD Anderson. She, of course, told me to feel free to ask her if I had any questions. I felt the Lord telling me to rely solely on Him. After Tammy's email I felt compelled to pray fiercely for her father but not to ask any questions about the retreat (like what the theme of the weekend would be).
When I arrived Friday night, the theme of the whole weekend was "Hope for My Now."
"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." 1 Thessalonians 5:24