~One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it: "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me." The Lord replied: "My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."~
This poem pretty much says it all. The first time I heard it, it brought tears to my eyes. I used to have trouble in believing in God, trusting Him, and always doubting. Past events even pushed me into thinking about if there even is God. But I realized they were just the times where God was carrying me through them, because God never leaves you. Something I that took awhile for me to learn, is that God is always there. Through thick and thin, helping you along the way.
This weekend, I had gone on a retreat called "Discovery", and it means what it's called. You are 'discovering' yourself, and your relationship and hunger for Christ. And I'm not going to lie, it was totally and completely life changing. Before, I had doubts. And after three days, of less than 6 hours of sleep, everything about me concerning my faith was changed. I feel like a better person. And I understand the thirst that christains need to quench, but never really can. I felt like I was on a "God high", and the feeling is being carried on well into the week. If you've ever had the need to speak the Word, just bring others to the light of Christ, then you know how I feel.
This weekend did many things to me:
1. God is ultimately what I need
2. I have discovered more about myself than ever before
3. I made great friends, and I have been able to see Jesus in everyone
I feel totally and completely happy. If there was ever a time like that before, it must have been when I was very young. Like a great burden has been lifted from me, like after confessing my sins completely uplifted me. If I described how amazing and beautiful this weekend was, this blog would be too long for you to even want to read. So I wont, and I'll only give a "short" summary.
Walking into the room, I was a bit unnerved. It was more intense than I was expecting, but Liv, Tess, and I made friends quick. It was such a wonderful experience, going to sleep at 3 and waking up quite early to leave at 7:30. Just sitting by the lake, sunlight hitting the water and it being only source of warmth outside (which is bitterly cold by the lake at this time of year), was one of the best parts. It was a good place to appreciate everything that God has created, even if it was just a little bit of it. I fell in love with the place, and I pray I go back. Dicovery taught me to find Jesus in everyone, to see the good in people, and that one person can make a difference. I want to be the one that makes a difference to someone, if it's just teaching them something about God, or something life changing. Whatever it is, I want to be that person.
I think the most moving part of the entire retreat was on Saturday night, where a schoolmate and a new friend of ours did a skit. Our friend was being Jesus, and our schoolmate was acting as a normal girl would. Every time she would try to talk to him, something would get in the way. "So... let's talk about you and me..... oh, wait, do you wanna watch some television?!" Then, she realized it wasn't appropriate. Our friend, 'Jesus', sat there silently, staring at her intently. Then people started slamming on the door, telling her to come out and party with them. She was torn between the party and Jesus, and then chose the party. She pushed him back to the fireplace, hammered nails into his hands (not really, but you get the point), and then sat in a chair looking at him. Then she started crying, and after a song played, she looked at us and said "What are you looking at? You do this to Him every single day." It broke my heart.
I wish I could explain how different I feel. I feel like I could never be sad again, and I have without a doubt in my mind that God is there for me. I'm not the same as I was, I know that for sure. I find myself humming worship songs a lot now, and right when I got home I was over emotional. I didn't want to leave, I still want to go back. I walked outside around 8 o'clock, looked up at the moon and the stars, and burst out crying. I don't know why, maybe it was my new appreciation for everything that God has done for me, but I knew then that everything had changed.
My relationship is stronger, my doubts are gone, my prayers have been answered, and I know that no matter how bad it gets, God is going to carry each and every one of us until we're strong enough to walk along side Him again.
Until next time (: