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The Parting Of My Red Sea

My story of how I went to Ladies' Retreat really starts back in November. I originally had no interest, whatsoever, in going in years past, however...for some strange reason, this year was different. I paid the deposit, and moved on. As time went on, I was talking with God, and asking if I should go. I wanted to be sure that He was in it. He said "No." I understood it as that I should not attend this year. So, I cancelled, transferring my deposit to someone else who desired to go. It's a good thing I did too....or so I thought. For, soon after I cancelled, several things came up. Unfortunately, one being that my father -in - law announced that he was scheduled for surgery.

As time drew closer, I started to once again feel that burning desire to go. And...in full disclosure, a bit jealous of the other ladies too. However, seeing that I am not the person who likes to waiver back and forth in their decisions, I took it to the Lord in prayer. I told God that if He truly wanted me to go, that He was going to have to prepare a way. The Scripture He spoke over me was the story of the parting of the Red Sea. Where the Lord told Moses to lift his staff up towards the sky, and when Moses had obeyed, He, the Lord, parted the waters so that the Children of Israel could cross over to the other side. Away from Pharaoh and his army. I needed my Red Sea to be parted if my attending the Ladies' Retreat was truly His plan for me. (Exodus 14)

The week of the retreat, I had no plans to attend, however that all began to change in a flurry on Wednesday, 2 days before we were to leave. As you have already learned, I had told God that if I was to go, that He was going to have to prepare a way. BOY! Did He ever! For that Wednesday, I was on Facebook , and I noticed that Miss Sherri, our pastor's wife, had posted that there had been 3-4 cancellations, and that there was now room for others to go on short notice, if they desired. After mentioning this fact and discussing the possibility of my going with my sweet husband, we decided to just not worry about it, and went about our normal daily life. However, after speaking with our church receptionist, Windy, I was reminded that she really wanted me to go. So, I revisited the opportunity, sought guidance from a couple other close friends, and realized that my understanding of God saying "No, not this year.", may have been wrong because it just was not yet time. I had a few months. Thus, I looked into how my father - in - law was doing post surgery. That was just one of those things that could be a deal breaker for me. If he was not up to watching my arrows (children) until the hubby returned home from work, there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to go. For, no one else was available. Surprisingly, however, not only was my father - in - law better, and continuing to get better each day after surgery, but he was also up to helping with my offspring, AND in support of me getting me some time to myself. His exact words were: "Let's do it!" I remember just breaking down in tears from all the emotions I had been carrying. The Lord had prepared a way.

When we left on the 18nth of January, I was tired. I was broken. I had nothing else to give. My arrows attitudes and behavior were below par, and I was continuously having to play referee. I was no longer the Energizer Bunny. It was all I could do to hold it together. My batteries...were dead. I literally had no charge left. Looking back on it, I wonder if the behavior and attitudes I was dealing with from my children was just Satan's way of attacking me. Trying to distract from what was really taking place. A time of recharge and restoration for one extremely tired momma!

Come Friday night chapel, at Ladies' Retreat. The guest speaker, Dawsie, spoke on having a Mary Moment. We all had to make arrangements to be here that week. Just like Martha and Mary did in order to host Jesus at their home. However, when it came down to it, Mary took advantage of Jesus, forgoing her household duties, to sit at His feet, and draw nearer to Him. This upset Martha, Mary's sister. She asked Jesus to make Mary come help her, but Jesus rebuked Martha, and said that Mary had chosen the best and most important thing. To learn and grow closer to Him. (Luke 10) Dawsie then related this story of Mary and Martha to our lives. She encouraged us to not worry about life's issues, but focus on us and our personal relationship with Jesus because even though we may be knocked down, we were not going to be giving up. For, our spirits are being renewed on a daily basis. (2 Corinthians 4) For, just as Hagar was shown a well out in the desert after Abraham sent her and Ishmael away, Jesus has a well for us to draw from, too. (Genesis 16)

At the end of our first chapel time, Miss Kim, the director of the camp where the Retreat was taking place, had us do a touchstone activity. We we were to write our distractions and struggles down on a notecard, and then go lay them down on the stage like it was the foot of the cross, symbolizing that we were letting go, and turning them over to Christ. My fear was that of a question. " Would I truthfully be able to surrender and let God have them?" My prayer was that I would be able to do so. Looking back, I am happy to say that not one time during the Ladies' Retreat, did I worry about my distractions and struggles.

As far as classes go, one of the classes I took, was Marriage and Motherhood. The teacher, Amber Irving, operated under the assumptions that:

1) We were strong women who have surrendered to Jesus.

2) We seek the truth of God's word, and view it as the highest authority.

Amber's class covered truth and lies. Satan loves to put doubt in our heads. What did he do with Adam and Eve when it came to the fruit they were not suppose to eat...."Did God say....?" The deception there was that if Satan deceived Adam and Eve, he will most certainly deceive us, and the lie he got them to believe was that they were missing out on something better. (Genesis 3) He tells us the same lie every day. However, when it comes to marriage and motherhood, there is no better place to be than with my husband and children. Marriage does not exist to make me happy, but to glorify God, and sanctify me. We do not have to maintain control and always hold everything together, for we are not that powerful. We only have to trust the Lord to do what only He CAN do. As tough as it gets sometimes...I AM NOT missing out.

If you remember earlier on, I mentioned that in our first chapel time, our guest speaker, Dawsie, encouraged us to not worry about life's issues, or anyone else and their issues, but to focus on ourselves and our relationship with Jesus. I'd like to circle back with this "2x4". At the very end of Ladies' Retreat, Miss Kim spoke a profound statement by saying: "You need to focus on climbing your mountain. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Jesus does not ask you to climb anyone else's mountain, but your own." This hit home for me. See, I am the perfectionist type of person. I'm scared to screw up and make mistakes, and when I do, I am my own worst critic. I'll be forth coming. I'm hard on myself. EXTREMELY hard on myself. However, if I do not allow myself that grace to make those mistakes, I do not allow myself the opportunity to learn and grow. The same applies to the arrows that the Lord has blessed me and my husband with. After hearing Miss Kim's words, and building a more deep rooted relationship with a friend of mine, I learned that the main reasoning as to why I have been so exhausted is because of one HUGE mistake. This perfectionist of a person has been trying to do it all. She has been trying to climb not just her own mountain, but her childrens' mountains, as well. And, maybe, just maybe...at times...her husband's too? Truth is....my children need to be allowed rein so they CAN make mistakes. Otherwise, they will never learn and grow from those times that they do screw up.

So...My Dear Arrows,

I am no longer going to be climbing your mountains. I've got my own mountain to climb. That does not mean that I am not there to love, guide, advise, and support you in both the happy and hard times, but it does mean that whatever foolish or wise decisions you make...they are on you. The choice is always yours. There will be consequences and rewards for both types, but no matter what, always learn, grow, and mature from every decision. I want you to have NO FEAR about messing up. For this is how we learn. This is the Lord's way of sanctifying us each and every day.

Climb Your Mountain!​