Monday, July 03, 2006
In April of this year, my husband Michael and I were invited to each attend a weekend known as Tres Dias. Knowing little more than that it was a Christian retreat, we accepted the invitation from our neighbors Greg and Felicia.
To say that it was life transforming would be to minimize the impact that it had on both of us. I have been a born again Christian since 1974. The daughter of a Presbyterian minister, I had attended church all my life, but had never had a personal encounter with the creator of the universe. When I was 17 I turned my life over to the Lord and enjoyed fellowship in a little church called "The Church of the Risen Savior" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Over the course of the last 36 years, I have been all around the world, gotten married, become a mom, started a company.
Through it all, I have had ups and downs in my faith, but have always been blessed with a knowledge of His saving grace. I have consistently been guided by His hand in my personal life and our business, but did not truly understand the meaning of grace until attending Tres Dias.
The spiritual director of our weekend was Randy from Grace Church in Largo. He told a story about a man who heard his small daughter swearing while she was playing. She had obviously heard the words from someone else, perhaps from school. He sat her down and talked to her about using the Lord's name in vain. He gently told her that if he heard her swearing again, that he would spank her with the paddle 7 times. A few weeks later, he was in the garage working and she was around the side of the garage and he heard her swear. He proceeded to give her an incredible lesson - on that is now indelibly imprinted on my heart.
He told her that she deserved to be punished, as she had disobeyed him and dishonored God. To receive 7 spanks would be justice for what happened. Instead of spanking her, he sent her to her room to think about what she had done. He told her that that was mercy, as she didn't get what she deserved. Then, a little while later, he went in to her room, gave her a hug and told her that he was going to take her to get an ice cream cone. When they were at the ice cream parlor, he told her that this was a demonstration of the grace that God has when he deals with us, as He gives us what we don't deserve.
Throughout the Tres Dias weekend, we sang a song from Isaiah 62:4 that talked about receiving a new name and becoming a new creature in Him. Many of the women that attended came from a position of weakness (wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid) and needed strength. As a successful professional who owns my own business, I walked in feeling strong, but nevertheless, He had a plan for my life and a message for my heart. The song goes on to say:
I will change your name.
Your new name shall be
Confidence, Joyfulness, Overcoming One,
Faithfulness, Friend of God,
One Who Seeks My Face.
I already naturally enjoy confidence, joyfulness and a feeling of overcoming the challenges of life. I was raised to understand faithfulnees and being a friend through the message of unconditional love bestowed on me by my parents.
What I had not experienced, except in the early days of my walk back in the 70s, is turning my eyes toward Jesus every day as the foundation for what I will face and ultimately being known as one who seeks His face.
Now you know, as they say, the rest of the story. I am being transformed and long to be identified as One who seeks His face.
I am new to blogging, but look forward to what God has for me.