Before, during, and after the retreat, God drew closer to me.
God physically healed my heart! He also demonstrated His love for me in several personal ways. The theme of My City Church’s recent City Girl women’s retreat was “Come Close.” The focus was on moving closer to God and deepening your relationship with Him.
Because God Knows me
While packing for the trip, God nudged me to take a t-shirt that is blue with “Always Be True” in gradient pastel colors. It’s not one of my softest shirts, and I went back and forth to the closet three times before packing it. I had a similar issue with a sweatshirt. I planned to bring my warmest, but I sensed I should bring my beige one. I debated whether to bring my warmest sweatpants, but they are worn out in several places, so I decided not to.
At the retreat, the church had sweatpants for sale with the theme message on them. They are a light purple color, have packets, and are super soft; plus, I could roll them to make them short enough for me to wear. So I purchased warm sweatpants, which I needed—particularly with how cold it was during the retreat—and was able to support the church at the same time.
The next day, I got dressed and discovered the shirt I didn’t want to bring matches my new sweatpants. The sweatshirt also matches better than the one I planned to take. The discovery warmed my heart. God knows I like my clothes to match. He loves me like that.
Because God Wants Me Close
My heart was physically weak. It could not pump all the blood out when it needed to, and it could not keep the valves tight enough, so blood would leak out when it wasn’t supposed to. The first night of the retreat the worship music was booming, like it typically is during church services. And like during regular church services, I had to move far back to protect my heart. The loud, joyous music during worship felt like an anvil beating against my entire heart, threatening to tear it apart.
So at a retreat themed, “Come Close,” during worship I had to separate myself from the other women and move farther back than the sound team. I hated it.
The next morning on Friday, November 4th, 2022, I put my bag on a chair in the last row farthest from the speakers. When I returned to the seat after breakfast, a woman I had met earlier that week told me she felt called to pray for everyone in the back row, but especially the person in my chair. She began to prophesy, including words about being on the frontline even though I was sitting in the back. She also made a comment about not being afraid to be seen. I shared with her that I was not afraid to be seen, rather, my physical heart cannot withstand the pounding music.
Throughout the course of the conversation, we talked about my writing. I am working on my first novel and taking steps to get it published. She prayed over my writing and prophesied about it being a sword and using it as an evangelistic tool to showcase a relationship with God.
Then she put her hand over my heart and prayed for it. The music started as she was praying, and I immediately became anxious with the urgency to move back. But then I realized my heart felt okay, and I did not feel like I was going to pass out. She made a statement about my heart coming into alignment, and I felt my heart shift in my chest. My heart felt different. My chest felt different. It was no longer painful. My heart did not feel like it was being pulled apart by the loud music.
I was able to stay with the group. The bass beat went throughout my whole body instead of being concentrated on my heart. I remember thinking, “Oh, this is how people can be so close to the music.”
Throughout the day my heart continued to feel held together and positioned correctly. I could feel the pounding music, but it no longer had a negative effect on me. Whereas before I was excluded because my heart couldn’t take it, now I was enabled to literally “come close.”
I had a broken heart. The timing of the retreat and this physical healing of my heart came the week after the 1 year anniversary of my divorce.
About 24 hours after God physically healed my heart, I volunteered to be on stage and share what He had done for me. As I was up there, I saw the humor in the situation about the “afraid to be seen” comment. I’ve been on large stages with hundreds to thousands of people watching. This was a small stage with probably less than 100 people in the room. No big deal. However, making my writing widely available to be seen (and critiqued) takes a lot of courage that I am still working on building.
Because God is a Gift-Giver
I like to travel and get souvenirs. Though I went to the gift shop at the Lied Lodge, I decided not to purchase anything. I had a few photos and some items related to the retreat. As I was about to leave my hotel room for the last time and all my luggage was on the cart, I sensed God tell me to look under the bed at a particular location, which happened to be on the side where I had slept. I knew I hadn’t dropped anything that would fit under there, but at His urging I lifted the dust ruffle.
There, in the exact space I revealed, was a pencil that looked and felt like a stick and had purple lead. I like purple. A souvenir to remind me of the beautiful woodwork at the lodge and God again validating and encouraging me in my writing.
God wants us close, and He’ll demonstrate His love in ways unique to us to draw us nearer. Similarly, we can express in our own unique manner our love for God and our desire to move closer to Him.
Healthy relationships are reciprocal and continuous. Big things can happen occasionally, but it is more the daily signs of love that keep a relationship growing. My deepening relationship with God is not based on my physical healing, but rather the daily ways He shows me He loves me. This touch of physically healing my heart is one way God has proven His love for me. Guiding me to pack matching clothes and giving me a unique pencil are two others. I sometimes get the opportunity to do big things for God, but it is the daily choices I make that honor Him and show Him I love Him that sustain our relationship.
How can you love God personally today?
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