Okay, time for the third and final instalment. I had hoped to wrap this up quicker but life is just busy these days....you know...just living! Nothing big, nothing exciting, just the everyday and that's great! But I had promised that I would complete this and record it so that I remember all that happened during that wonderful, adventurous, convicting, uplifting weekend!
So part three is where I tell you that had I had been avoiding a serious reprimand from God but where in, He found me - deep in the Muskoka woods!
He tricked me! He did!!
You see, for some time now...I have been....let's just say...less then faithful with my daily devotions. It was funny because in the cold dark months at the beginning of the year, I would rise faithfully at 6:00am to have my time with the Lord before the kids woke and my day was off and running. In these cold, COLD, dark mornings I was ever so faithful...and then as the days got lighter earlier and increasingly warmer, my faithful wakings became fewer and father and farther apart.
Anyways, so for some time now...a few months really...I might as well be honest....I have practically had no devotional time. Terrible, I know - you don't have to rub it in...He did a good enough job of that! I will clarify and say, it wasn't as if I walked away form Him, it was just that I was letting life get in the way. I was doing more of what I wanted then necessarily what I needed!
Even so, I was very excited to sign up for the conference - even though I felt I should probably get more faithful with my time spent with Him. I mean, if I was going to a woman's conference about Woman of Grace, I probably at least should be...more spiritual...right??
But again...the days slipped by and before I knew it the conference was a week away and my devotional life had not changed. Well, the truth was, what it was! I knew in many ways, He understood, that He was being patient with me and soon enough He'd get my attention - as He so often has when I wander like this.
So the title of the conference was, "Finding a Peace Filled Pace in a Hurry Up World". I thought, "Okay, this doesn't' really apply to me. I don't necessarily fit the 'hurry up world' mold. I mean we don't have a cell phone or even cable. My husband only works four days a week and I'm a stay-at-home mom. But I'm sure I'll glean something form this!"
I figured I was safe. Safe from God calling me on my lack of devotions and that I would come back refreshed and jump into my devotions as if I had never left them.
And then the first night in Muskoka came.
Our speaker for the weekend was Kathy Butryn. A lovely woman who was an excellent speaker!! I had never head of her before this weekend but I will never forget her now!
So anyways - that first night came, with it's first session, with it's three and a half pages of note taking and it was only the warm up. It was also the moment where I knew He had found me!
I was in trouble, there was no way I was leaving this weekend unscathed! For you see - the title that I had come under, the idea of what the conference was all about....well it was not the true message it seemed, for this weekend. No, Kathy seem to have another title, one she mentioned many times, one that hit me and my dear BFF hard - the title the weekend came to be under was;
Returning Our Hearts to Him
And so, I knew He was calling me up on all that my heart was lacking and He wasn't going to let me off easy! I knew that the originally title was just a trick, a ploy, to lure me to the Muskokas and for Him to reach me and call me back.
I listened, and wrote like mad, as she talked about the Peace Stealers in our lives. Things such as the problem of wanting it all, of the 'hurry up' sickness that plagues many of us, about wanting it all to be about me. She told us the solutions to help rid of us these Peace Stealers was to, trust in God, to seek Him first and to remember that He loves me!
Kathy reminded us (me!) that returning required a humble heart and that returning would restore fellowship - that ever important, necessary and beautiful, fellowship.
"Peace is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Jesus Christ."
Stacey and I knew we were in trouble. We both had felt Him calling us and we both knew that the next session was going to hit home! We knew it so strongly, that instead of packing a few kleenex in our pockets, we just brought the whole box! Oh and we needed it!
I'm going to tell you all here that it was this second session that was why God called her and I to Muskoka. It was the time spent that Saturday morning that He pulled our hearts back to Him, in the most beautiful and painful way!
The rest of the weekend was full of very good information. Convicting and encouraging but I'm just going to talk to you about the Saturday morning from here on. We did glean lots from the other two session but it was this morning session that humbled me so and brought my wandering heart home!
So it started well. She had these five things to do to help in achieving a productive quite time with Him. She told us (reminded us) about how spending time with God and having our hearts filled up with Him is the only way to peace!
She used the word S.P.A.C.E - to help us remember five key points to include while pursuing our time with Him.
And friends, it wasn't ground breaking stuff, it wasn't amazing spiritual insight I have never heard before - but it was exactly what I needed to hear, right when I needed to hear it. As she talked, I kept having that prodding in my Spirit. That nudge of Him, softening my heart, opening my eyes and calling me back. As she talked it was if the entire room of people melted away and I sat there with her talking directly to me. Each word and each point was a sharp poke in my spiritual side saying, "You know this! You knew I would find you! You know this is what you need!"
That's when the power went out.
A few minutes later they were up and running on generators and Kathy was back in action. She continued to drive home the importance of returning our hearts to Him, restoring our fellowship with Him and how we need Christ's presence, each and every day!
Maybe you are wondering why we needed the Kleenex box. Well, by this point my heart was melted. He was talking to me. He was reminding me of all that He had done, does and will do for me. He loved me and He was all I ever needed. At this point we had broke into the box, dabbing our eyes and trying to salvage our make-up.
And that's when she played the following clip. Originally there was suppose to be a video with it but due to the power being out, only audio was available. And both Stacey and I agreed - that the lack of video was a God send - because there was nothing to distract us from the powerful words that came. I found the clip and I want you each to listen to it, really listen! I have included the video but only because (it's easer for me to do) and because then you won't miss a word of it! For some of you, this isn't new and for others this maybe the first time you have heard this piece.
But for each of you - I want you to really take in the message. To try to grasp all that is being said. That the One being described is your saviour, your friend, your King!
Turn it up, grab some kleenex and listen intently.
And friends, you can see why my heart ached after that, why both Stacey and I did the ugly cry with hundreds of women around us, not caring one ounce and why we were so glad to have that entire box of kleenex with us!
As those words sunk in and my heart became complete mush for Him, I was both renewed and drained! It was like falling in love all over again with Jesus. I was completely and overwhelmingly humbled by the Christ, by my King, my Saviour. And I took hold of that moment, that moment of complete disgrace in my sinful state and also utter joy in the hope and wonder of my Lord!
And so as we left Muskoka, both feeling a change within. We knew that this weekend hard brought us back to the place we both wanted to be, at the feet of Jesus. We left there completely humbled at our sin filled lives but with a renewed passion and desire to serve our God better. We were re-awaken to the power of Christ in us, His cleansing, His grace and His love!
Our weekend in Muskoka was much more then we could have ever anticipated! More fun, more food, more friends, more tears, more joy, more coffee, more awaking, more cold, more loving, more worship, more growth, more renewal and mostly more of Him!
I don't think we will soon forget the weekend that God found us in the Muskokas!