What is the main reason ladies attend a women’s retreat? To be able to say, “I’m going to the ladies room,” instead of, “Let’s go potty.” To have a reason to buy new clothes…for themselves. To have wonderful fellowship—lots of great conversations (all simultaneously, of course). For lots of laughing and good crying.
All true reasons, but not the main reason. They go seeking the Lord. To hear His voice. To worship Him—uninterrupted.
Not me. I went to escape the whole ordeal of Chris’s mental illness (MI). He was well on his way to recovery and didn’t need me as much. It had been four months since his first psychotic episode. His medication helped him return to school. Chris appeared to be managing things well. Howie sent me on my way with his blessings.
The theme of the retreat was ‘Jesus is the Potter and We Are the Clay.’ Worship music helped me relax. MI was far from my mind. I basked in His love. His perfect peace refreshed my soul.
The speakers shared verses challenging us to yield to God’s molding. To let Him shape us into vessels worthy of service for Him. On the last day of the retreat one of the speakers held up a beautiful cup and saucer. Gold lining hinted at its extravagance.
“This cup and saucer are very special to me. Not because it’s an expensive piece of china. It’s valuable to me because of who gave it to me. A dear friend bought this for me. To thank me for journeying with her from insanity to sanity.”
“Journeying with her from insanity to sanity.”
Those words jolted me back to reality. My heavenly feeling was replaced with MI worries. A familiar empty feeling returned to the pit of my stomach. I forced myself to continue listening to the speaker. To resume my emotional vacation. To listen to God speak words I needed to hear.
The speaker presented the challenge: “Those of you who want to be servants of God, to be vessels chosen by the Master Potter, stand.”
Just about all 500 women in attendance rose instantly. Except me. I remained planted firmly in my seat.
Oh no…I know what this is all about. I’ve just been through the fire. Now I’ll be content to let the Lord just leave me on the shelf for a while.
Suddenly, I realized I was one of the few ladies still sitting.
How must this look? Many of the women know I’m the administrator. They’re probably wondering why Miss Christian School administrator isn’t willing to be God’s servant. Well, I don’t care. I’m not going to stand to be seen of men…I mean to be seen of women.
Then my thoughts began to wander. I reflected on how much I’d seen God work in our lives through Chris’s MI. Words from one of the workshops echoed in my mind.
“The deeper the pit, the brighter the light.” I’d experienced that first-hand. In my darkest hour, God’s light showed us the way. Reminded us of His presence. Surely, my trial had been bittersweet. I experienced the provision, protection, and comfort of God.
I went from ‘not me’ to ‘use me’ and stood confidently. With tears rolling down my face. Knowing the cost. Trusting in Him.
Father, I’m not standing by my own human courage. I’m standing on Your promises. Knowing that as You’ve been faithful before, You’ll be faithful again. So, I trust You to mold me and use me.
I returned home from the retreat ready to face whatever. Knowing I’d be okay no matter what happened because I’m a child of the King.
And so are you!
Sing along and tell the Master Potter, “Have Thine own way.”