Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Journey

I had a memory show up in my Facebook feed today that reminded me that today is three years since I was heading home from my first Encounter God retreat. I was struck by the lyrics to the song that was in that post.

Free (by Jeremy Camp)
And I am free
And I am free
My sin was wrapped around me
Trying to drown me
You have set me free
And I am free
And I am free
The chains that held me tightly
Are finally lifting
You took this weight from me
Now I’m free


That was the first song that came on when I started my car to drive home from the weekend. It seemed so fitting a song then, and as I listened to it again today, it seemed even more fitting now. That first weekend was the beginning of experiencing this in my life. But, it wasn’t the end of it.


I tried to count how many times I’ve been to an Encounter God since that first time three years ago. I think it’s been nine times at this point. And every time I go, God has something planned for me – no matter what my role in the weekend has been.


Thinking back to the first time I went, I had no idea the journey I was stepping into that weekend. I couldn’t have imagined the change God would bring in my life with that weekend, and everything since then.


Probably one the biggest things God taught me that first weekend that has changed things so much since, is about trusting people. I went into that weekend carrying some big hurts from church people and had decided I wouldn’t trust church people anymore.


I very quickly discovered that wasn’t going to be possible at an Encounter God. If I was going to engage in what was happening, then I was going to have choose to trust the other two ladies I was in a group with.  Choosing to do that and how those two ladies responded was the beginning of healing those hurts from church people and changed the way I build relationships with people to this day.


But, that was only the beginning of what God wanted to do. In the three years since, God has freed me from the power of sin I thought I would always struggle with as I confessed it for the first time and broke the power it had in my life. He has freed me from patterns of worry, anxiety, and fear that limited my life in more ways than I was aware of.


Probably the biggest thing is the difference in my relationship with God. I’ve been a Christian since I was a kid. I grew up in a Christian family. I did have a personal relationship with God. But, I didn’t know the depth that it could grow to.


As I’ve walked on this journey, it’s become about more than just a few weekends a year. It’s become a part of my everyday life. An intimate relationship with God that I had no idea was possible.

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