Where do I begin? This weekend was amazing and full of God’s goodness, faithfulness, provision, protection, rest, peace and so much more. I had the privilege of leading worship for my church’s first ChickFest (Gateway Church’s Women’s Ministry & Gateway Outside ministries coming together to create a retreat in the midst of the season’s mayheim). Yes, the name sounds funny, but don’t let it fool you, we weren’t a bunch of newly hatched domestic chickens running around. Ha! That’s funny to picture.
For me, it was a rugged experience of competition, camaraderie, team work, authentic relationships, hardships covered in prayer, discovery of true self, discovery of true rest, worship, communion, and celebration. I would like to share one of the many highlights of my weekend.
It came on Saturday night. We were playing and singing outside in some cooler temperatures but the warmth of God’s presence, the four bonfires and the fellowship around each of those fires made our time together there really special for me. During the day I could tell that something amazing was going to happen that night because too much was trying to go wrong before that set. God’s Spirit alerted me to a spiritual battle that was occurring as we prepared to gather that evening. For example, our music mysteriously went missing for the hour that we were going to practice. It was under a radio in the room we had met in last, but none of us could find it for that hour. The music was returned to us, but we didn’t really have a chance to practice with it (but the music turned out beautifully as we relied on our Lord). Then I sensed that God wanted me to be bold in our time together by including a presentation of the gospel before we shared communion together. For those of you who don’t know what the gospel is, it’s the good news of Christ – His death on the cross and resurrection. So while I was jotting down my thoughts for communion and all, the father of lies was whispering..don’t share that, you know these girls don’t want to hear the gospel and have some sort of cheesy, churchy experience. Just lead them through communion and that’s enough. But with the strength of God Almighty, I listened to the voice of my Father and I did include the gospel in our last set.
So now for the blessing from that night’s gathering. Our electricity went out in our little cabin. I had accidentally overloaded our electrical circuits by blow drying my hair while having an overhead heater on at the same time. Thank you Lord for allowing that to happen, because then I had the chance to talk to Judith (our fearless leader of the event). While we were waiting for the owners to fix the lights, she told me that a girl had met our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the first time!!! I loved hearing that news!! I was rejoicing along with God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and all the angels!! All the trials and hiccups were worth it, and it thrills my heart to know that I now have a new sister in Christ!
So as I said, I’m only mentioning one of many highlights but there was also the blessing of doing music ministry with Josie Hughes and Cari Collins, the blessing of working with a great retreat team for the event, the blessing of driving down and back with Jos, the blessing of rooming with Cari and Jos, the blessing of meeting so many new friends from the Red Team: Still Fighters (Ex 14:14). And on and on and on. I saw the beauty of my God in this past weekend, and it’s my prayer that the reflection on my face is one like the Father’s for having spent time with Him and my sisters in Christ at El Shaddai Ranch on December 4-6, 2009.