Last week sixteen leaders gathered in Raleigh to help facilitate an intensive retreat taking participants through My Journey Continues. The week was the culmination of dreaming, praying and hoping on the part of the south east regional leaders. Hilda Stone was instrumental in putting the week together and her team in Raleigh did a beautiful job of caring for all of us.
As I sat in the various groups and listened to the stories I was awed by what some of those attending had lived through as children. I was again reminded that there is harm being done in families all around us every day, even at our churches. I was privileged to watch as men and women broke free of vows and agreements that had been holding them in tight spaces and as silence was broken and hearts were healed. At the end of our week there were several testimonies that included families standing together to speak about what God had done.
I never cease to be amazed by how God pursues His children. He is relentless and prodigal. Miracles do happen today and in this ministry we have the opportunity to participate in God's work in the hearts of those harmed by impact of abuse.
As we formed the groups the week prior to leaving for Raleigh we had the chance to reduce our leaders and only have six groups. It made good sense, and would have possibly saved a few dollars. However, we felt a strong urging to keep things open and keep our original plan for seven groups. A few hours before we were to begin our first session Mark encountered one of the participants in the lobby being dropped of by a family member. He smiled and asked if the family member would like to stay, offering that we still had room. A few minutes later he whispered in my ear, "is it alright if we add another participant?" Our last spot was filled. It was clear as the week unfolded that the urging we had felt to keep seven groups was from the Lord.
It is risky to live by faith, trusting God's nudges in your life. Hilda Stone trusted and nudge she had received, I trusted a nudge I received, and Mark trusted the nudge to offer that last slot. I am confident that leaders who came to to assist us also felt the nudge by God. This week will be a place to return to in my heart the next time I feel nudged by God.
Here are some photos from our time in North Carolina. Enjoy....
Untitled from Tracy Johnson on Vimeo.