Tuesday, June 9, 2009

we listened together

Embrace, by Carol Aust

Last October I had an idea. I was looking for ways to connect deeply with God and with other women at church and thought, What if we had a retreat for women, specifically focused on contemplative prayer and listening to God? When I first pitched the idea to an elder at church her response, while encouraging and positive, was basically to say that she wasn't sure that the women in our congregation would come to something like that. I told her that I would do it by myself if that's how things played out, but that I would pray for others to join me.

Around that same time, another woman from my church (Marcy) began to suspect that God was calling her to lead a prayer retreat for women at church. She promptly told him, No way. He persisted, and she budged a little, saying OK maybe, but someone has to directly ask me to do this - I will not volunteer. In January, Linda (the elder I first talked to about my idea) approached Marcy and said, "Would you consider helping to lead a prayer retreat for women?" Marcy could only laugh. Her next bargain with God was along the lines of, OK I will call Haley about this, but she'll probably describe something totally different than I'm picturing and our visions will clash and then I'll be off the hook. She called me, and had to laugh again when I described the vision God had given me for the event. Now she had no excuses left and we both began to get excited as we realized that this could only be the work of the Holy Spirit.

Last Saturday more than 50 women from John Knox and the surrounding community gathered to listen to God. It was amazing. Marcy and I planned, prepped, and put together materials and activities for the day, with help from a wonderful committee (yay for being Presbyterian!). But the day was not amazing because of all that. The day was amazing because God spoke. God spoke, and we listened together. God spoke, and we responded together. God spoke, and we will never be the same.


Teresa said...

We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity. Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today.

-- A. W. Tozer

Haley Ballast said...

GREAT quote. i'll have to read myself some Tozer.