The silent retreat was my first and won't be my last. It was a beautiful, quiet respite from NYC spending time to get to know my Lord a bit more.
On July 23, 2016, while WOW! gathered for our annual silent retreat in the States, 3 of our Hong Kong sisters went to Cheung Chau Island for a weekend retreat.
God blesses when we gather together for the purpose of drawing close to him. The blessing tripled when the three of us were together. God took care of every detail, from where to sit in the ferry; to the beautiful, clear night sky filled with stars; to catching the ferry at the last minute.
Delighting in Him
The first thing we did when we got to the island was eat, and the second was shop! In his presence, we really able to relax. One of us found a dress that fitted beautifully; another found a second hand quality guitar at a killer price! “Delight in Him, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Ps 37:4).
After worshiping corporately, we each found a place for some alone time with God.
Years ago, while still a new believer, I asked God, “Who am I?” After asking, I flipped open the Bible and happened to read Isaiah 41: 8, “You are my servant.” One could call it a coincidence, but I received it in my heart and mind as a calling from God.
At the time, I thought serving God meant serving full time at church. Even though I knew being faithful at work, at home, as a friend and as a citizen was equally important, I still felt unsettled, not pursuing a vocation in the church. Then so many other things happened. I moved, got married, became a mother, changed churches and faced new challenges at work. Often I found myself inadequate and even anxious.
So going on this retreat, one of the things I sought from God was a sense of assurance regarding where I am and some light as to where I am going. Guess what. The scheduled readings for the day of the retreat happened to be Isaiah 40-43! Hearing God speak consoled me.
Before, being a servant meant serving God and serving others, now I saw, a servant is, first of all, one who’s forgiven, who’s redeemed, who belongs to God, who’s helped and supported by Him (which melted away my feelings of inadequacy and anxiety), and who witnesses His goodness, righteousness and justice to nations. Before I focused on what I could do for Him, now I realized seeing what God is doing in my life and in this world is even more important.
My new awareness has restored my passion to wait on God and to draw close to God. Renewed in my sense of calling, Iam learning to identify God’s sanctifying hand at work in me. I want to spend alone time with Him; discovering God’s heart in my daily situations, at home, at work, with friends, in society; and obeying God and praying accordingly.
Love and thanks to the sisters in WOW! who prayed for our retreat across the ocean, until next year . . . ^_^
“She (Martha) had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” (Luke 10:39) An appropriate picture expressing the heart of our Silent Retreat. Each participant chose to devote a period of time abiding at the Lord’s feet. It was an opportunity to encounter God’s presence, and hear from Him in a special setting. The normal distractions of life were minimized, including conversation with others, so that each could listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
God promises to reward us when we earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). His one desire, above all else, is to have an intimate love relationship with His daughters and sons. As His children, He wants to speak to us, and we can hear His voice if we listen (John 10:3-4,16,27). With this in mind, each participant came, with various levels of expectation, to listen. Because our God is faithful, all experienced His touch in unique ways. As hearts and minds were quieted, His "voice" brought encouragement to all. For some it was receiving assurance of their identity in Him, for others reassurance of His unfailing love, His calling, direction, destiny, new hope and perspective relating to current challenges. A sample of words participants used to describe their time included: amazing, blessing, rest, peace, rewarding, surrendering, healing, powerful, playful, humorous, cherish, awakening, reconciliation, refresh, renew, and golden nugget.
Ending with Pastor Grace’s empowering call, God has called women to serve Him. It’s written everywhere in the Bible. He has been bending over backwards to raise up women. That’s what WOW! is all about.
Most participants were His daughters, three of us sons -- all seeking to take another step in our journey with Him. Our Heavenly Father is no respecter of persons. As He continues to build His Church in these last days, He is gently removing the barriers of religion which have kept His Esther’s and Deborah’s from their destinies.