As you may already know, I am an Intercultural Studies major which is part of the Ministry program here at MNU. This weekend I had the opportunity to go with my Intro to Ministry class on a retreat not too far from campus. Although we weren’t there long, the experience was transforming and it really opened my eyes.
First, this place was awesome. They had a beautiful sanctuary, rooms like a hotel, and it was incredibly peaceful. The first main event we did was about half an hour of silent time where each student went off on their own to a place to be alone with God. My favorite place to go for Jesus time is outside. I love the outdoors. The breeze to me represents the Holy Spirit. And it was sure present during my personal time alone with God. I’m not going to lie, I bawled like a baby. I’m really thankful for that time I had because I felt God wrap His arms around me. By the time I had to leave, I felt relief and at peace with everything.
Next, we transitioned into some light-hearted, fun games like speed dating (awkward but hilarious) and the “clump” game. Weird, I know, but it was like, so much fun! The object of it was to see how many people are interested in the same things. For example, the professor calls out, “If you prefer dogs, clump to the left, if you like cats, clump to the right, if you just don’t care, stand in the middle and look pretty.” We all got to know each other pretty quickly and had tons of fun with it.
On a more serious note, one of our professors had us make little booklets of our lives. We were to choose four main events leading up to present day and draw a picture that symbolizes the event. The point of the exercise was to share our story with a group. The key theme in each of our stories was that God always has a plan. Though we may not realize it at the time, His timing is never off. That’s when our ability to trust Him is tested. I was inspired by the strength I saw in the people around me. I hope I can be as strong as them someday.
Wrapping up the retreat today, we partook in a life-altering experience after our mini chapel service. We wrote our burdens, our pain, names of people who have wronged us, or experiences we’ve bottled up for so long down on a blank sheet of paper and we crumpled it up into a ball as hard as we could and threw it in the trash. I let go of my past, the pain, and I asked for forgiveness and also forgave myself. This was my favorite activity because for once in a long time, I let it all go. I returned to campus with a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and now I feel like a new woman!
We all know the song “Oceans” by Hillsong. And if not, here are some of the lyrics…
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Oceans || Hillsong UNITED
This song has been running through my mind today and it’s always a nice reminder that when you struggle, whenever you feel down, whenever you just want to cry, God’s got you. He’s always had you. Trust in Him with all of you and He will provide. His timing is never off, even if we may not understand it.
I love you guys and hope you have a splendid week ahead!