I spent this weekend at an Encounter God retreat with my church. As I was talking with one of the other team members, I realized that it had been just over a year since I had gone to my first one as a participant. I've been reflecting on things that changed in my life since that time.
A year ago, when I walked into the room for the first session of that Encounter God retreat, I had no idea the journey I was beginning. And if someone had tried to tell me the changes that would be made in my life, I'm not sure I would have believed them. I probably would have laughed at the thought. Those were areas of my life where I was so used to how things were and they felt safe that way. I couldn't imagine anything else for my life.
The truth is that a year into this journey is only the beginning. The practices that I learned that weekend are still part of my everyday life - because as long as I'm on this earth I will have areas I struggle in. And places where I've been hurt that I need to allow God to heal. And truth I need to let God speak to me.
As I look back on this year, I seem amazing things God has done in my life as I have allowed Him to. Relationships restored and improved that I had all but given up on. People forgiven that I thought I would never be able to forgive. Wounds by other people healed that I was sure would never stop hurting. Freedom brought in areas where I didn't think it would ever be possible.
And those things are still happening. Even this past weekend as I was there to pray for others on this journey, God had work He wanted to do in my life. Truth He wanted to speak into lies I've believed for too long.
To be honest, that's one of the things I love about these weekends. No one of us can claim to be an expert in this who has nothing more to deal with. Whether someone walks in the door for the first time or for the tenth time, we still have areas where God is working in our lives. We still have areas we need to give to God. Because it's the journey that matters, not achieving some certain level or goal.
I can't imagine life the way I lived it before. I didn't realize the chains that were holding me down. Most of all, I didn't know there was an option for anything different. Now I can't imagine going back to what it was.