Wow, what an amazing weekend. It was wonderful to spend last night and today with some wonderful women at our women’s retreat at CCW (Christian Church in the Wildwood)
Terri Wimmer was the guest speaker, and we are privileged to have her right here as a member at CCW. She helped us realize how important, relational and powerful we truly are as women.
Starting with the Garden of Eden, she helped us realize that before the fall, we as human beings, created in the likeness of God Himself was in harmony with everything. We were in harmony with God, We were in harmony with each other, we were in harmony with ourselves & we were in harmony with nature. What a beautiful place that must have been. Always in the presence of a loving God, receiving gifts, walking and talking with Him daily, providing a hedge of protection, having no sense of hurt, pain, shame or fear.
She also helped us realize that God created women to be relational “to the core”, just as God is. This threatened satan. He knew how powerful God created woman to be, and he knew that woman would bear offspring of the “image of God”, and he didn’t want that. So he decided to go to her and tell her that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would not die, they would have their eyes open and would be wise and see things as God. (This made me realize what protection we had under the wings of our heavenly Father, but by having the knowledge of good and evil, caused us to see things on the other side of the Garden we would never have seen had we obeyed.) Well, Eve, as so many of us women do today, wanted that knowledge, wanted to know more, see it all, and ask why should I just follow God’s word, I need to know it all first, rather than letting God lead and we just trust and obey Him. As Terri stated, we need to realize that satan always confuses reality, makes evil seem good, and brings doubt about God’s character.
Because of disobeying the one rule God had, He, being a just God, had to keep His word, and so came the consequences. First the curse caused us to no longer be in harmony. We were no longer in harmony with God, with each other, with ourselves,or with nature.
Terri helped us to consider how they might have felt after the fall. Probably dissapointed in themselves for being disobedient and disappointing God. They immediately realized they were naked (they now had this knowledge of good and evil, that God was protecting them from prior to the fall), and immediately they felt ashamed. They were possibly afraid, because now they were no longer inside the hedge of protection, and probably had fears of the unknown. This really helped me realize, that times when I don’t understand God’s direction, and I feel like I want to know the whole reason why before I obey, do I really? Before the fall, they obeyed, and He provided and protected. They had no knowledge to even have a sense of fear, anxiety or worry. But after the fall, now that they had the knowledge of good and evil, it brought forth so much fear, anxiety and shame, rather than just living life with peace, joy, and trust.
I was thinking how wonderful the Garden of Eden would have been, why did Adam and Eve have to mess it up? But then I think, if they didn’t, someone else would have, it might have been me. And then I questioned God, “Why did you give us the ability to choose?” But, in thinking about it, I understand His reasoning, because everything He made besides man, which was made in His image, have no choice. They do exactly what he created them to do. But as a creator, who is relational “to the core”, He wanted to make something that would love Him back, because they wanted to, not because He made them to. When I thought about this, it just made me so thankful, that even though He’s a just God and there were consequences to disobeying, He loved us so much that He made another way for us to get back into a relationship with Him through the blood of His one and only son Jesus Christ. And because of this, we can get back into the hedge of protection, “fear not” for He is with us, “Be still” and know He is God, and knowing this, causes me to be more willing to get up each day and surrender my life to Him, thankful for His love, and knowing that even if I don’t totally understand why He asks something of me, I know it’s for my best and I will trust and obey. I’ve gained so much from this retreat, but the one lesson sticking out in my mind is that as much as I love to learn and gain knowledge, I have learned from this lesson to not question God, to not desire the complete knowledge of good and evil, but to read His word, trust in His guidance, and obey Him knowing He’s an all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving God who truly wants what’s best for me.
Terri made two trees. One was the Tree of Life, and the other was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. She had band aids there, for us to place our hurts and things we battle and asked us to place them on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil to surrender them to God. Then she asked us to write scriptures on post it notes that help and encourage us, and to place them on the Tree of Life. My hurts and battles I surrendered today was codependency, perfectionism, control, fear & anxiety. The scriptures I posted on the Tree of Life were:
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Phillipians 4:4-6 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I hope by sharing my hurts and battles, and my scriptures of strength, you are blessed. This can be very healing to surrender, and very invigorating to claim God’s promises. So I encourage you, if you’re reading this, to just stop right where you are, get some band aids and write your hurts and battles down and surrender them to God. Then write down scriptures that help and encourage you and take them with you, place them on your bathroom mirror to see each morning, in your car as you travel, in your purse so you can hold onto them as you go throughout your day.
I want to thank everyone who worked so hard before, during and after this retreat to make it happen. You all did a wonderful job, and I pray God’s blessings upon your service and willingness to make all of this happen. I pray God’s blessings upon each woman who took the time to attend this retreat, and hope they were filled with wonderful worship, great times of tears and laughter and building stronger relationships with one another. And to each of you who will read this, that you will feel God’s love and presence, because He is a relational God “to the core” and desires a personal relationship with each one of us. He is an AWESOME God! God bless!