I had the privilege of going away, up to the beautiful mountains, for our church’s women’s retreat early November. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to go, but through the prayers of faithful saints and by God’s grace, I was able to attend. I’m so
thankful that I did!! I will treasure that time for as long as I can remember. It was one of the most special and significant events in my life. And yes, there was SNOW!!!!
As I shared early this year with you all, the word God gave me for 2014 was “hope”, but to be quite honest, 2014 has been a very difficult year for me emotionally and spiritually, and I had not felt very hopeful. I’d been looking for it, searching for that hope, but as November approached, I wondered where the “hope” I was supposed to have found was. With just two months left in the year, I wondered if I would even find this “hope” before the year was over … I began to think perhaps it wouldn’t happen.
The theme for retreat was “Shine”, which, more specifically, related to our identity in Christ. God anointed each of the speakers and the message that each one had to share. It was a truly transforming time and God moved in mighty ways in the hearts of the ladies there.
During our very first night’s session, God spoke very clearly to me as I searched my heart in response to what had been shared. He told me that I was to leave the “old woman” behind and not take her home with me. It was one of those crystal clear moments between me and the Lord and the moment He spoke to my heart, my heart was pierced through, because I knew exactly what He was talking about.
You may remember THIS POST where I shared about “The Other Woman”. As much as I had grown in the Lord and found some freedom from the oppression of living in her shadow, I was still comparing myself to how I used to be, still wishing I was better, that I was different. I wasn’t content with how I was. Throughout the year, I’ve struggled with giving up the ideal that I had in my mind for myself. I hadn’t completely let go of the “old woman” and I knew it.
So when God said that I had to leave her up there on that mountain and not take her back home with me, I knew I had some serious business to do with Him, because this decision was so wrapped around my emotions and feelings. I began praying for the strength and grace to say “goodbye” to her, because part of that was hard. I felt like by saying “goodbye” to her, I was losing part of myself.
The next day, during our free time in the afternoon, I spent that hour at a picnic bench by a pond, praying and journaling. I wrote a farewell letter to the “old woman” and officially said “goodbye” and ended our relationship. I took pictures of that spot, wanting to remember where I left her and the fact that I did. I like to say that I left her at the bottom of the pond.
The freedom that came with completely letting her go has been incredible! The burden that was keeping me down is gone. My heart was filled with HOPE as I came away more aware of who I was in Christ, how God saw me, how He was using all my circumstances to create the woman He wants me to be. There is joy in surrender. There is freedom in letting go and fully embracing God’s will for my life, whatever it looks like. In my letter, I told the “old woman” to not come looking for me, because I didn’t want to be her anymore. I want to be who God wants me to be. That is the most important identity I need to focus on. Any other identity is settling for less than God’s best and I’m not willing to settle for less anymore.