I attended a whole day cell retreat today.
And this, after attending my FIRST EVER cell meeting last Sunday.
The first half of the day went by very quickly – those gathered watched a video (Father of Lights), where there were a few things which stood out.
The couple, who responded to God’s calling, sold everything and went to China, where they eventually set up a home for unwanted and sick kids (the husband was a VP in a bank). The quivering of the witch doctor, who initially (and apparently) cursed a pastor to death, and who when confronted with light in the form of the evangelists, cowered in a corner.
The healing of a random stranger, who in turn helped the evangelist and the film crew get into the Dome of the Rock.
How great is God, and how He works in His Way.
So I thought – ok, these are works of miracles – there was healing, there was the conversion of a hardened mobster touched by the Spirit, a maharishi Indian guru who was in search of God who spread the gospel after the encounter with the evangelist.
I was inspired, to say the least. Things happen for His reasons. That is clear.
The video was followed by a short speech by one of my church’s pastors, who talked about how God is the Father, and not the Godfather, that our views of God as Father are influenced by how our own earthly fathers behave.
Which influences our decisions. Which forms you and I.
I was fatherless (my parents divorced in my teens). My biological father, while he loved me, was never there.
I miss him. But he can hardly remember me now.
I never really thought of God as being loving, gentle, forgiving. But even prior to this retreat, a few days before, I read Heaven is for Real, and that was when my eyes were suddenly opened to how simple it is to be loved, because Father is there. And what I was experiencing was an affirmation.
After a break, we were split into two groups – one group would have ministers who would prophesy by word and image, while the other group would undergo the River of Experience.
I was in the first group to go for the Prophecy and Prophetic Drawing session.
I went for the Prophecy by Word session first. I didn’t say anything. Except a prayer. And then the first lady said: I see you dancing and singing, in joy. But you are in pain now. The second said she saw a vision of me walking and walking and looking. Then I boarded a bus, and Jesus sat right next to me.
And both concurred I was in pain. I was. And I wept. So what was I to do?
I waited for the next ’round’ – Prophetic Drawing. The lady prayed. Looked at me. And said:”I saw this yesterday and this is for you.” She then handed a drawing over to me.
Part 1 was an illustration of a heart. It appeared fine on the outside but the inside was gray. Dying.
Part 2 showed the heart being restored, red, and healthy, and it was resting in Jesus’ hand.
The verse given to me? “Trust in the Lord. and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5.
I had prayed for conversion, for change in certain behaviours, confessed my sins. There is, according to the lady ministering to me, a part that is hidden from everybody, that I put on a front but do not show the side which REALLY needs affirmation, healing and love.
Maybe I should just ask Father to heal me. Whatever it is, rather than pinpoint what my mind tells me I am doing wrong.
I cried. And felt a HUGE relief/ release.
Then the group proceeded to the second part of the retreat – The River of Experience. In short, I was told to let my imagination run wild, that God speaks to people through us letting go, trusting in Him, reading into His visions given to us.
Instructions were given for participants to think about the throne of God – there is a river. We were asked – what do you see?
I saw darkness. I was drowning. It was cold. Then a red and white float/ buoy came towards me. I clung onto for life. Somehow, I pulled myself up and rested on the float. My legs dangled out of that float. I felt warm. The sun was out. Sitting on the float, I was carried along rapids, and I enjoyed the ride.
After a while there was a session where we learnt/learned about Lectio Divina: Divine Reading.
How one should Read, Reflect, Respond and Rest. We were to take a card with a bible verse on it and practise.
I actually FELL ASLEEP during the Rest bit. Looking back I have had trouble sleeping. AND I FELL ASLEEP.
I don’t know whether to feel ashamed, laugh or thank God.
We then shared all our experiences for the day. And there was the affirmation again.
I had sinned. I am forgiven. My gentle Father will heal me. I have to just trust Him.
And I will.