Friday evening around 5:45 pm February 8, 2019, hurrying to attend the Gather: Joy Women’s Retreat; Eden Prairie, Minnesota being held at the Church I attend weekly. Driving home from work the weather had began to turn extremely cold, wind blowing, bumper to bumper traffic, I just wanted to get out of traffic for about twenty minutes, enough time to change clothes and feed my cat Milo. What usually took about fifteen minutes to drive home from work, took me about forty five minutes that day.
Pulling into a parking stall of my apartment complex, before I could get out of my car, I notice my neighbor struggling to get the hood of his Jeep open, stepping out of my vehicle, I begin walking towards the door of the apartment building, I noticed he had a pair of jumper cables attached to another vehicle, I said hello, walking right past him, rushing to get into the building out of the cold. I entered into my apartment hallway putting the key into the door, home at last; twenty minutes tops, was my thought process as to in and out of my apartment, walking in the door, Immediately gathering my bag along with my Bible and note book, which I had placed side by side the night before, rushing to get back to my vehicle, I had left running with the spare key in my purse. Sitting down for five minutes to take a long and much needed breath, after I had fed Milo and changed out of my work attire, I decided to head out; back into the cold. Leaving my apartment, locking the door behind me, I headed down the stairwell.
As I begin walking out the door of the building my thoughts, Poor guy it’s cold out I wonder if he will ever get that car started. I really do not know my neighbors, we speak hello and goodbyes, that’s about the extent of our conversations. Walking to my car, my neighbor said to me “Excuse me neighbor, I live across from you, could you help me out with a jump, my wife is trying to get to work and the hood of my car will not open it’s too cold.” As I am walking towards my vehicle, intentionally; purposely not making eye contact. I stated no I’m sorry, I’m on my way to church, I’m running a little behind. I’m sure if you knock on one of our other neighbors doors they could possibly help you out. His words to me, “It wont take but a couple of seconds to start her vehicle.” I stated again, sorry I have to go.
Entering into my vehicle I had sat for a moment and thought to myself, You are living a Christian life, that wasn’t Christian like; the voice in my head said; girl you better help that man!! As I put my car in gear, pulling up next to both vehicles, popping my hood from the inside of my vehicle, stepping out of my car with my heel boots on to help this man. My neighbor was right, it took less than 5 minutes of my time to start the other vehicle. He thanked me and said “God bless you my sister; my family and I are Christians, we too attend church regularly. I could tell this man wasn’t from the United States, not that it mattered, he had a strong accent, I smiled and stated I’m sorry for not acting according to his word. I told him God Bless you as well sir.
Turning out of the apartment complex parking lot, on my way to the Retreat, looking over at the car clock 6:15 p.m. While driving, I thought about how selfish I had acted, trying to get out of helping my neighbor, lending a hand to someone in need. I was glad that I had helped my neighbor in the desperate time that he really needed help. This leads me to the Bible verse about loving thy neighbor, I’m going to start my story out with the verse the Lord has put on my heart about loving your neighbors as you love yourself. I put myself in that situation, Yes I would have wanted my neighbor helping me out if my car wouldn’t have started. I have to admit, I have been in situations like that in the past.
(37) “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (38) This is the first and great commandment. (39) And the second is like unto it, (40) Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”Matthew 22: 37 – 40 KJV
Arriving at the Retreat, excited about the nights service. I gathered my belongings from my car proceeded to enter into door #2. signing in, retrieving my name tag, stopping for a cup of coffee, waving at a couple of the ladies, I usually see during Sunday morning church service, I took my seat at the front of the Retreat as I usually did during church service. I have never been a back of the room person, I’m one that likes to be upfront where all the action is, taking notes.
Praise and Worship had begun, I immediately felt the Lord’s presence all around me, my heart felt warm as if I were being hugged, as I lifted my hands up high, thanking the Lord, allowing me to help my neighbor. Praying to God for forgiveness due to my ungodly actions in the beginning of the situation I had encountered. I begin to cry as if I had been a disobedient child in the beginning of the car situation. I could not believe I had begin asking God for forgiveness, I have never done that before, meaning not wanting to help someone, then to turn around and ask God to forgive me; yes in my past I had become a very selfish woman without a doubt, when it came to strangers asking for help. The Lord was working through me that night restoring me. My salvation and redemption means the world to me. I repented and moved on.
The first night, the Retreat started at 7:00 p.m. the Pastors wife begin speaking about two fellow sisters within the Retreat, that I had attended women’s Bible study group with in the past year, both ladies are recovering from cancer, I knew the first sister was getting over chemotherapy, the second sister who I had met also through a Bible study group as well as attending the teen moms volunteer group at the church.
To my surprise, I had noticed the second sister that night, at the beginning of the Retreat, thinking to myself, she had lost a little weight, I had no idea she too had been battling cancer, what sweet kind and loving ladies indeed, always helping out wherever they could with the young moms support group, as well as small leadership discussion groups. The women looked Phenomenal holding each others hands as to each others support system among themselves.
While the pastors wife spoke, I sat back asking God what had just happened to these ladies, sisters in Christ serving the Lord, married with children? Being I had not been involved within the same Bible studies the two ladies now attend, I attend a different study group within the church, I had to step back in order to step up, healing from my own story, this is why I have decided to call this blog a Different Story Same Glory, everyone has a story of some kind, however we all still come out with the same glory when we let go and let God. What I had seen within these two sisters in Christ. Tears rolled down my eyes when the Pastors wife had stated this. I noticed strength and determination portraying soft and gentle spirits within these ladies eyes only God could provide.
The Retreat get’s very interesting. Before I go on, I just want to thank our Heavenly Father, allowing me to reside in the presence of many anointing women at the Retreat that weekend. Completely letting go of my past, I learned this; by standing on the word daily, it is of importance within your walk with God. No matter what you are going through, if God can take you to it, he will pull you through it. I’ve written this quote in the past. It’s something that I live by on a daily basis. I tell others I’m still a work in progress we all are, it was truly when I let go at 100 % one day and truly gave myself to God, I begin to feel him doing a work in me, The Lord knows I needed plenty of his work!!
That night, the speaker touched on trials and tribulations which is the area, I had struggled with in my past, such as trusting God whole heartily, putting your strength and trust in him, setting your mind on him not of this Earth, which most of us have done that weren’t truly aware of God. The Lord is our rock. Never knowing how to pray the right prayer in regards to protection, not knowing the right prayer to pray over my now adult children. Praying to the Lord asking for his shield in regards to myself as well others with the coat of his armor, is what I took from her sermon. The speakers last statement made a valid point, “Put your trust in God, get to know him. “You can not trust someone you do not know.” This verse caught my attention. I love the book of Psalms, it’s full of great teachings.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”Psalm 28 : 7
Getting close to 9:00 pm the first nights Retreat had come to an end, after discussing the next days itinerary which would consist of Biblical workshops, the ladies luncheon at noon. Saturday morning February 9, 2019 the Retreat would start at 9:00 a.m. ending at 4:00 p.m. the social gathering would be starting after tonight’s service. The Coffee shop gathering would entail within the church.
After the service, the ladies headed to the upstairs Coffee shop that had been nicely orchestrated, very inviting, cheerful, colorful. I hung out for a while, converting among the crowd of ladies, enjoying the snacks and coffee provided by the Retreat. I had decided to head home. While driving back home, I began thinking about everything I had endured throughout my life to get me to this point of redemption, I thanked the Lord, hit the Gospel music station button on my car stereo, proceeding home.
Saturday morning arriving at the Retreat on time, service started at 9:00 am. Listening once more to the first speaker touching on what had just happened to me the night before as to my selfish actions, setting my eye on the Lord. I seriously thought she had been speaking directly to me. Obedience to Gods works. Perfect timing right! Taking matters into your own hands, becoming of a new creation acting in a new creation way. I’m going to post this scripture she referenced to being that this is exactly how we as Christians should be living, after reading this scripture goosebumps arose on my arms.
Made Alive in Christ
(2) “As for you were dead in your transgressions and sins. in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following it’s desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – It is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Ephesians 2 : 10 NIV
Before we broke into our group workshops to listen to the other speakers whose names were on the itinerary, this one particular woman approached me as we broke out for a quick ten minute break, stating to me “I noticed you crying a bit last night” as to say, what’s your story. I looked at her and begin to open up a bit, keep in mind, I had never met her before, as she approaches me she began adjusting a microphone headset, clueless as to whom I had been converting with, this well put together suburban like woman had a smile as bright as the sun on her face, my thoughts were what had this individual had to talk about. My judgement of her was very deceiving as to my thoughts. I learned the true meaning of the saying Never judge a book by it’s cover, pick it up and read it first.
I was in for a big surprise in regards to this woman that seemed to have it all, what I mean by seeming to have it all, it didn’t appear that she had ever gone through a hardship in her life, well put together, business like, I began to put the name together with my first workshop leaders name, I had come to realize I had just been speaking to the group leader that I was getting ready to listen to as she told her story within her workshop.
I had informed her about my loss, my last words to her as she stepped on the stage were, if she had ever lost anyone so dear and close to her heart? She hugged me, informing me she was about to begin the workshop, stating she would talk to me after the the workshop.
Starting out with a prayer, this woman started out by stating her life’s accomplishments, her great upbringing, being raised within a great family background. A group fitness instructor, married with two sons, jumping right into how she over came her husbands alcohol addiction, with the help of Christ Jesus and prayer, stating how she had almost lost everything, tears immediately gathering into her eyes, nose running, she continued to tell her story, she’s been married for 20 years to the same man, explaining how she stood by her husband as he overcame his addiction, that was just the beginning of her story it gets darker, the speaker had mentioned she was a stay at home mother, being that she home schooled her sons, gave her an opportunity to babysit one of her dear friends infant daughter, one particular day she had laid the infant down for a nap, entering back into the room to check on the child, a couple of hours later, finding the infant girl lifeless.
Having to call the child’s parents to advise them that the child whom they had left in her care wasn’t breathing, explaining to the police what had happened, with no excuse, she definitely had to find an understanding as to the storms that were placed in her life. Different Story Same Glory. The parents of the child had forgiving hearts, making sure she understood they did not blame her as to their infant daughters death, the speaker introduced the word Sovereignty connecting the word to trials in life, I had to look up the meaning, being I’m not used to seeing the word.
What I had gotten out of the meaning is that God having authority over a situational circumstance, all things being out of our hands, not our will but his will, he was in control when the infant passed away as well as my son.
God is in control of all things, He may choose to let certain events happen according to natural laws, past, present and future, nothing happens out of his knowledge and control. All things are either caused by him or allowed by him for his own purpose through his perfect will and timing.
In conclusion; to my Different Story Same Glory post, what I had learned from the Retreat was that this story seemed to have stuck out, more than the other stories I had heard, we all have different stories, most have been through tough times in life, none better than the other, some darker than others, all having significance because they reflect the Father & Author of existence to our life, however if we stay obedient to his word, we are all sure to have the same glories through prayer and worship. #savedbyhisgrace72
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”Revelation 4 : 11