"You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."
2 Cor. 3:3
This describes what we saw last weekend to a tee!! I saw the living God written all over the tablets of human hearts like never before this weekend!
And my title to the post pretty much sums up what that looks like. Hearts alive!!! Some of you have read my husband's account of last weekend. Nothing short of amazing! Amazing! And I was given the unique honor and privelege of experiencing something this weekend alongside him that will be in my heart forever. Many are reluctant about this retreat we attended last weekend. And understandably so. And I know it is only in God's will or timing that those of you praying about it will go or not.
I even was going in scared out of my mind...and very skeptical. But left with a beautiful gift that will remain forever. My heart was set free in ways I didn't know it needed. True that my strong discerners were still on all weekend. And it took me two days to really just soak in what God had for me. But in the end, I knew how to love who God made me to be just the way He's wanted me to all my life. Do you know how freeing it is to love you just the way you are? I finally was able to come into agreement with God about how He sees me as His beloved, chosen daughter.
Backing up a bit, what I can say is that this program is not perfect. No program is. Heck, churches aren't perfect. We all know that. But the sole purpose of their mission is to show people what's in their heart that needs to come out, help them remove it...then get it filled it back up with unconditional love and grace that they have been lacking all their life, and ultimately set their hearts on fire. Later on they teach us how to live that out and find our purpose here on earth. And thru the love that was given out, I can't doubt for a second that what I saw last weekend has God's hands all over it, even in it's imperfections. Where love is, God is. And it is not Discovery that gave me and these people I now dearly love a second chance on having a free heart. It is only God who can do that. He is just using this place as a tool to do so. And I have been finding scripture after scripture to back up what I saw this weekend.
Also, you find out thru testimonies from the leaders at the end of the weekend that a lot of the people leading and assisting are Christians and believers in Christ and that sharing Him with others is their mission in life.
I can also say with confidence that they openly let God in where there is room for him. But many people aren't ready to receive Him just yet. And they don't just pound Him in where people can't receive it. And I respect that.
I have also come to the conclusion that many people who came to get "help" came because they really have been scared away from the church or from God...and are looking for help wherever they can find it. This organization is really about meeting people where they are at. And sometimes the don't want to hear about God. And having God in the advertisement would have been a hindrance for some to come who really needed to be there. Yet I love that God is not limited by the reason people are there. They usually come out with a different result than what they thought they would...and may find God again because of it.
Personally, my experience was not quite as emotionally heavy with sobbing tears as my husband's when they helped me tug out all the things in my heart that needed to go. But it rings true that the experience is very different for everyone. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty to be tugged at and pulled out of my heart. I cried a lot throughout the weekend but at different moments. I learned I had a lot of anger, feelings of low self-worth, guilt, and my experience in the process of removing it was a very difficult one but in the end it was all worth the pain. It's like in childbirth. The pain hurts but once you have that new life, you forget about that pain. But I can say that I think I got just as much if not more out seeing others walk in freedom as I did in my own. Words just can't describe how amazing that was. My heart was overflowing like never before. It was beautiful!
And lastly, I learned for myself that for a long time, my receiver has been broken. I was taking in all the bad that has been said to me through the years...and pushing away all the good that others have tried to fill my heart with...because I didn't feel they were true...nor have I loved me for who God made me to be. I've always felt like I didn't measure up to this standard I had given myself. And because of that, I haven't been able to freely give out unconditionally love with reckless abandon the way I have always wanted to. I can't give what I don't receive. If my heart is empty, there is nothing to give out. I just didn't know how to get to the point of having love flow freely in and out of me. And now I can say with confidence that my receiver is whole and well...so hopefully the outflow will reveal that!! I will stumble and old habits will try to creep in but there is a new identity that I can cling to and believe about myself that I couldn't before. And there is power in that because of Christ living in me!!
I think anyone can benefit from an experience like this. But I also know that Discovery is not the only way. God can use any tool to reveal Himself.
There is a gift in your heart though that God wants to give you and it will inevitably be a beautiful empowering thing for a lifetime!
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24